If there’s one positive that’s come out of this global health pandemic, it’s the increase in interest shown for online poker. Google Trends reveals some telling data about the growth of the game over the past few months, and it shows many poker players are now shifting their focus to playing cards on the internet.
The data also indicates that, while online poker’s popularity is higher than before COVID-19, interest has declined a bit since many card rooms around the world began reopening in late May and early June. In Las Vegas, for example, where poker is more prevalent than anywhere in the world, 14 of the 31 poker rooms have reopened since June 4.
With the partial return of live poker, the need for online poker has slightly declined. But there are still millions of people around the world, especially in the US, who prefer live poker but still aren’t comfortable going to a casino. And that won’t change any time soon. Thus, why internet gambling is more popular now than five months ago.
What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a guide website owners use to find out what is trending. They use this information to determine what type of online businesses are profitable and see what people are searching for on Google, the world’s largest internet search engine.
Google Trends doesn’t reveal total number of searches for a keyword or key-phrase. Instead, it shows a graph of how popular a certain key-phrase is in relation to when the search term was at its most popular point. The scale runs from 0-100, with 100 being the peak of popularity and 0 being so low that there isn’t enough data available. If the scale is at 50, that means the search term is 50% as popular as it was during the peak.
What does Google Trends tell us about online poker’s current popularity?
Google Trends tracks data back to January 2004, which is right about when online poker started becoming popular, just after Chris Moneymaker won the most important Main Event in WSOP history. In March 2005, Google Trends indicates the search term “online poker” hit its peak and hasn’t since been topped.
From March 2005 until January 2010, interest in online poker remained high and then began a slow decline. In April 2011, when the Black Friday scandal hit, the popularity for the game, as the graph indicates, took a nosedive before flattening out in April 2016.
And then, due to COVID-19, the graph spiked back up in March 2020 and then again even further in May 2020, where it reached a score of 47, or 47% of its March 2005 peak.
How does the May 2020 rise compare to interest in online poker since Black Friday? From October 2013 until March 2020, interest was at 20% of its peak or lower every month. So, that means Google saw more than a 200% spike in searches for “online poker” in May 2020.
Poker isn’t quite back to its pre-Black Friday popularity. But, as Google Trends proves, the game is back on the rise and the interest in online poker is far greater than it was before COVID-19 struck.