I never thought I would say this, but is the popularity of Texas Hold’em Poker in jeopardy? Your immediate reaction is to think this as foolish, but you must remember a king cannot sit on a throne forever, and Texas Hold’em has had a reign that would make many a monarch jealous.
Having read What’s the ‘Deal’ with Card Games around the World? it does make for some stark reading if you are in to your Google Trends data. Currently, Texas Hold’em scores 35/100 but projections in popularity five years from now sees its allure almost halve with casino poker games and other poker variants eclipsing it. When looking at current data and to the future, it shows that Stud, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker and Omaha in terms of search interest are all more popular than Texas Hold’em.
Now why is this? It is no secret that online casinos have seen unrivalled exponential growth since their inception, so seeing trends for the like of casino poker games like Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud should not come as too much of a shock, but it does raise some interesting questions.
Are we heading into a phase where new poker players are more likely to head to live dealer games rather than that of a poker cash game table or poker tournament? In an age of reduced attention spans and many of us after quick and constant dopamine hits, will we see poker move away from the traditional felt and into the gaming pit? Many of us relish at the thought of putting some serious volume at the poker table but will those feelings be shared by a majority of those in the future. Well if Google Trends were the be all and end all then you would have to agree that the way we play poker is very likely to change.
Casinos will also be salivating at their proverbial lips, as we all know that poker cash games and poker tournaments aren’t big money makers when compared to these live dealer games. Especially with poker being heavily impacted by the pandemic, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see casinos all over the world start reducing the number of traditional poker tables in their poker rooms in favour of these table games. Heck, this has already started in some US casinos!
The Hollywood Effect
In recent years, there’s been many a discussion about how poker is portrayed in in Hollywood blockbusters, most notably the infamous hand in Casino Royale where James Bond makes a straight flush. This scene has been dissected to death by poker enthusiasts and has made quite the enjoyable and light-hearted content, but it is interesting to see the trends data of Texas Hold’em’s popularity when poker is involved in a particular movie.
The arts have always been important when contributing to trends, as seen with Casino Royale, after its release in terms of search interest, the film had increased poker’s profile and popularity, much with the same with films like Lucky You, Deal and All In.
It is interesting to note that all the films I’ve just named were all released prior to 2010 and all of them scored highly in terms of trends. However, when you look at more recent poker-related films such as Mississippi Grind (a seriously underrated movie) and Molly’s Game, they had nowhere near the same influence that films prior to 2010 had. Why is that? Truthfully, I have no idea. Has poker lost its charm when in movies now and does the Hollywood effect even exist anymore?
I hope you forgive me that this article raises more questions than it answers, but blame yourselves for this… after all, you are the ones doing the Google searches!
I kid, of course, and I completely acknowledge that just using Google Trends as a metric doesn’t give definitive answers, but it does allow us to see current and predicted behaviours.
Do I think that this means that in five years that series like the World Series of Poker won’t exist? Of course not, but I think it could be fair to argue that we are changing the way we play poker. It looks like we’re moving from the poker room and into the gaming pit.