online; poker; market; gambling; data; habits


Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Gaming Law

Document Type

Original Research Article


The recent events of the “Black Friday” – the biggest online poker networks in the USA were shut down – demonstrated the necessity to make decisions about the regulation of online poker. But although online poker is a gold mine of data, until now nobody knows where the players and their money come from. It seems that the knowledge about the online poker market has not been able to keep up with the speed of its evolution in the past years. This paper is the first to shed light on this matter. We use data of 4,591,298 poker identities from the Online Poker Database of the University of Hamburg (OPD-UHH) collected over a six months period from 09/2009 to 03/2010. We find that the worldwide 6 million players paid 3.61 billion US$ rake to the operators in 2010. USA is still by far the biggest market with 1,429,943 active players and 973.3 million US$ net revenues in 2010. With regard to the number of internet users in a country, Hungary is the biggest relative market: One out of 50 Hungarians with internet access plays online poker for real money. The two main drivers of the relative market size in a country are GDP per capita and culture. Using the data from the OPD-UHH, future research will be able to break down the market also on a regional level within countries and to examine inter and intra country differences in the playing habits of online poker players.