In the first few years of the 21st century there was an enormous growth of interest in poker. At first this was inspired by the success of televised face to face poker games and publicity for large tournaments, but it soon became clear that poker was also ideally suited to online play. A necessary enabler was the creation around 2000 of effective online payment systems through which gains and losses could be settled.
Many operators took the opportunity to set up online poker rooms. As these rooms grew in size and number and competed to attract players, many of them set up affiliate schemes, paying a commission to entrepreneurs who introduced new players. This encouraged large numbers of webmasters to create affiliate websites, which advertised poker rooms or provided comparative reviews. Many of these grew into substantial poker portals, which in addition to online poker room information provided other material of interest to players, such as strategy tips, news and discussion forums.
At the height of the online poker boom in 2006, profits were easy to come by and some affiliate websites such as the Swedish based PokerListings.com grew into large international companies. There were huge numbers of smaller affiliate websites, and even a secondary market: while affiliate sites advised players on choosing a poker room, other sites advised webmasters on how to become a profitable poker affiliate.
However, the changes in US legislation from 2006 onwards caused many online poker rooms to withdraw from the US market and some to fold altogether. Also, as the online poker industry has matured, the pool of potential new players has become smaller and the opportunity to earn commissions by introducing them to the online game has correspondingly reduced. In response to this new environment, poker portals have had to scale down their operations and improve their services in order to survive.
Since poker portals earn commission from the poker rooms they promote, naturally the question arises of whether their recommendations can be trusted. Players may also wonder whether they would get a better deal by going directly to a poker room rather than through a portal to which the poker room was paying commission. These are essentially the same issues as for any service bought through an agent or broker, such as hotel booking or insurance. Poker rooms generally do not undercut their own affiliates, so you will normally get at least as good a deal through a portal that you could get by going directly to a poker room. Meanwhile. the quality of affiliate sites varies greatly. Some simply advertise the rooms that pay them the best commissions, while others make an honest attempt to earn their commission by giving useful comparative information. Many also try to help their readers by providing other useful poker information and resources. It is entirely up to the reader to judge what to believe.
At the end of 2010, rather late in the day, we began expanding its offering to poker players. As a card game rules encyclopedia, our first development was to publish a fairly comprehensive set of poker rules, together with detailed pages on betting procedure and hand ranking. These aimed to cover not just the best known forms of poker such as Texas Hold'em, and not only those played in tournaments and online games. We also tried to include lesser known variants including those played mainly in home poker games where, especially in North America, it is still common to play dealer's choice games in which each deal is played by different rules. To support this we created a rather extensive directory of poker variants and their rules.
In 2015, we experimented with publishing detailed reviews of major poker rooms, but these did not generate enough interest to justify the effort of keeping them up to date.