At the time of writing, an exhibition called Subject: Hello is currently underway at the Technical Museum in Stockholm. It is described as a object-dense and interactive exhibition where you connect the present with history and the future and where you show how people have used technology to communicate over the past 200 years.
Here the visitor is guided through a network between telegraphs, the earliest predecessor of the mobile phone, and systems for cars that can drive themselves. The exhibition is based on the four fundamental ways we communicate today; calls, sharing, SMS and Facetime, and interactive installations illustrate how technology has helped change the way we live and how we relate to others. However, modern technology has not only changed the way we communicate with the outside world. It has also changed the way we consume entertainment and play games. In this post, we take a closer look at how modern technology has transformed the world of poker.
Poker as a career
Skilled poker players who play professionally have existed as far back as the 60s. An example is the legend Stuey “The Kid” Ungar, who is considered one of the world’s best poker players of all time and who won his first poker World Championship in 1980 as a 26-year-old. In those days, you often had to travel to different places to participate in events and tournaments. Nowadays, we are used to professional poker players operating both in land-based facilities and in online digital environments. Without technological innovations, the opportunities for professional poker players to develop, play and make a living at poker would have been much more limited from a geographical and practical point of view. Nowadays, it is quite possible to abandon a more conventional career to play poker full-time without having to travel. An example of someone who has done just this is the Team PokerStars member Ramón Colillas who left a career as a soccer player and coach to pursue poker as a profession and now specializes in Hold’em tournaments both live and online.
Wide range on digital platforms
The world of poker has historically been imbued with a certain mystery and exclusivity. This then large-scale poker play almost exclusively took place in lavish casino facilities in lavish destinations around the world such as Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Add to that the fact that the casino world has not infrequently been used as a backdrop in major Hollywood films such as Ocean’s Eleven and James Bond, and it becomes clear that the poker world has to some extent closed itself off as exclusive and impenetrable to the common man. Modern technology has gradually made the internet a matter of course and devices like the tablet, smartphone and laptop have become commonplace for the common man. The gaming industry has in turn adapted judiciously to the latter and devised digital platforms that offer an identical and/or similar offering to that of a land-based facility. This has meant that the opportunities to learn to play poker and to participate in games have increased significantly.
Streaming on Twitch
Modern technology has not only made it easier for those interested in playing poker. It is also completely possible and easily accessible to watch others play for fun through streaming sites such as Twitch. Twitch is, in short, a website for live video streaming with a focus on computer games. This includes games from consoles, mobile and board games, and poker tournaments. Skilled poker players occasionally publish material here in the form of vlogs and tutorials, and if you’re lucky, you can take part in their live comments in connection with tournaments or chat live. Streaming services have made it easier for fans to engage with the world of poker and keep up with the latest news. On YouTube there is also a lot of material for those who are curious about poker. A simple search for “poker” on the platform shows results such as international tournaments and videos where, among other things, they talk about the “Five most brutal mistakes you can make in poker”. There are also videos here that are completely dedicated to beginners who want to learn how to play poker from scratch.