Randy Blumer: Founder of the First Real Money Poker Site

3 years ago
Founder of the First Real Money Poker Site
04 Jan

Joey Ingram's final podcast of 2016 is a must listen for anyone with an interest in the history of online poker. Randy Blumer, who is largely credited as the pioneer of online poker, fielded questions from ChicagoJoey, as well as asking a few of his own about PLO strategy.

Blumer, a Canada native, launched Planet Poker for real money on January 1, 1998, setting the stage for other poker sites to follow. In the 19 years since the first real money online poker hand was dealt, countless numbers of players, both professional and recreational, have enjoyed poker from the comfort of their homes.

Growing Pains

The entrepreneur and visionary spoke at great length about the difficulties encountered as first to arrive on the online poker scene. Perhaps the most humorous side to Blumer's incredible story is the fact that in order to deposit in the early days, players had to mail in a personal check.

Can you imagine waiting for your check to clear before sitting down to play poker? Excelling at poker requires patience, of course, but writing a check and sending it off via snail mail and then painstakingly waiting until the cash is deposited into your online account seems unbearable to those of us accustomed to just a few keyboard taps in order to begin playing. But online poker had to begin somewhere, and thanks to Blumer, it did.


Blumer was introduced to poker in the 6th grade, developing a love for the game that remains to this day. He obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta, followed by a stint in the Canadian Navy.

After early retirement from the service, Blumer launched Planet Poker as a free-to-play site in 1997 before the real money rollout in '98. In addition to deposit and software issues, other problems included hackers, with one Russian cybercriminal taking the site for $50,000.

As a real money site, Planet Poker called it quits following passage of the UIGEA in 2006. Its player base was 85% U.S. and it didn't seem prudent to continue when coupled with the fact that Paradise Poker had a better product.

Blumer resides in Las Vegas when he's not in his native land or roaming the countryside on his motorcycle. He can often be found at the low stakes cash game tables in Vegas casinos and hopes to perhaps move up in stakes this year. Anybody who has ever made money by playing online poker or through other means made available by the industry owes a tip of the hat to the 58-year-old Canadian.

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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more


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