It’s almost that time again for another WSOP Season so how about a little current poker industry news summary of this year past. What’s up Poker Industry 2017?
While there has not been that much buzz from a personal poker playing front for me besides playing a ridiculous amount of Spin n’ Go’s and Beat the Clock on PokerStars, and watching Kevin Hart liven up the ever-so-serious live scene, from where I stand it does not appear to have changed much. And from my last sentence, my only real connect with the online poker world is PokerStars by brand, and the others being involved in many local groups on Facebook including Card Players. The pro players and regular grinders I keep in touch with all seem quite stagnant in their progress with one single common feel amongst them which is along the lines of ‘meh…it’s poker’. The excitement on the ground seems to have died down, and new casual players seem to come in with less enthusiasm of fun for the game of poker and a higher skill entry level player.
So in related news, what are the key highlights in the global poker industry as of May 2017 backwards…
- Party Poker hints at a much needed new VIP program in March 2017. “We will be announcing our plans for a new loyalty program in the next few weeks and will provide a confirmed date for the launch of the new scheme.” a partypoker representative posted publicly. The operator last refreshed its loyalty program two years ago, reducing the points requirement for reaching each tier. In 2013, the company ended its top VIP tier, Palladium Elite, and capped rewards at 30%. In that time, the company has been using its missions system extensively to encourage player loyalty in large promotions. Party Poker sitting at fifth in cash game traffic among dot-com operators today and down over 15% year-on-year.
- A general industry trend towards achievements and personalization instead of straight VIP tiers and cash rewards.
- Unibet launched with an achievements-only VIP program in 2014 and 888 switched to something similar last year.
- An interesting loyalty program comment… “Despite the amazing growth … the promotions could be done in a way that encourages a different style of play”
New innovations in Poker games/variants
- Newest & innovative Global Poker has created a new business model of virtual currency gaming combined with real cash prizes, allowing the company to operate in the U.S., Canada and many other countries worldwide.Global poker could signal a major change in the industry as GlobalPoker.com isn’t characterized as gambling. The company’s sweepstakes model operates in partnership with Facebook and PayPal and is 100% legit. Get your account started today and you automatically get $2 free $weeps Cash and 10,000 gold coins. So whether you’re in the states or not, you can assuage your worries, play some poker and cash out with PayPal.
- “Beat the Clock Tournaments” by PokerStars. The game kicks when 48 players are registered with a stopwatch set at five minutes with some sound effects. Blinds start off at 200/400 with an ante of 80 and increase every minute with the final level being 500/1,000 with a 200 ante. Not only is it fast paced due to the quick increasing of blinds and five-minute duration, but also due to the game being held in Zoom Poker format at four-max tables. Players surviving the five minutes each share a portion of the prize pool based on their chip counts.
PokerStars Power Up in technical testing. (kind of like a mixture between poker and Hearthstone) PokerStars Power Up is a combination of traditional No Limit Hold’em, injected with power cards that give players the ability to influence how hands play out and change gameplay in a variety of ways.
Some of the power injected cards players can play:
- Receive a copy of the last power played this hand
- Destroy a targeted board card dealt this street
- Prevent powers on this street
- Choose the deck’s next card from three options
- View the deck’s top card for the rest of the hand
- Redraw selected hole cards
- View the top two cards in the deck; choose whether to discard them
- Draw a third hole card, then discard one
- Force all opponents to expose one hole card
Bubble Rush Tournaments which are hyper-turbo games that go until the bubble is reached before slowing down when the bigger prizes are on the line. Play starts off fast until players reach the money and slows down for the remainder of play.
Players kick off tournaments with 10,000 chips and blinds increasing every three minutes in a hyper-turbo format. Once the tournament’s bubble breaks with the remaining players cashing, blind levels increase to “regular” times before increasing even further as the tournament becomes deeper.
To help promote the launch of Bubble Rush, PokerStars introduced Bubble Rush Challenges. Players that opt into the challenge will receive a ticket to the $7,500 Re-Entry Bubble Rush Freeroll the following day. The challenge allows players to be awarded up to five tickets for the following day’s freeroll by cashing in multiple Bubble Rush tournaments.
- PokerStars is the world’s largest online poker operator, representing approximately 50% of cash game traffic in the dot-com market, dominating online poker tournaments, and operating large online poker rooms in the segregated markets of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and New Jersey.
Regulated US Markets
WSOP: WSOP Winners List
- 888 is once again the official WSOP online poker partner and the only authorized provider of online satellites in the dot-com market for World Series of Poker events.
- Last year the operator sent a total of 148 players to the Main Event, representing more than 2% of all who entered. Two of them reached the final table.
- Winamax is the exclusive WSOP partner in France, and the operator is running satellites for both the Main and the Monster Stack events.
- Party is aiming to send 100 players to play the Main Event with a recently announced satellite schedule awarding $12,000 packages. (Vegas players will wear a patch and encourages attendance to a party organized in Vegas. Aria is the “official Las Vegas Poker Party hotel.”)
- None of these poker sites are noted to allow USA players outside of regulated markets – Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware.
NJ Online Gambling Revenue Projected To Reach New Heights In 2017, No Thanks To Poker
Eilers projects that NJ online gambling will grow by an additional $33.2 million in 2017, representing a year-on-year increase of 17 percent.
That projection is certainly not out-of-bounds, and may even tend toward the conservative side given the recent trajectory of the market:
- In 2016, the industry grossed $196.7 million in revenue. That marked an annual growth margin of 32.1 percent.
- Momentum appears to be on the industry’s side. Last year’s y-o-y growth rate toppled that from the year prior, when revenue only climbed by 21.1 percent.
- In the fourth quarter 2016, the industry averaged 33.1 percent growth, exceeding the total growth rate for 2016 by a full percent.
- The Golden Nugget set a new revenue record for a single-license holder last month, generating $4,790,418.
All this, despite the addition of just two new operators in 2016 — PokerStars and Play SugarHouse — both of which have yet to capture more than a smallish segment of the online casino market. PokerStars did make waves on the online poker front, occupying a 32.9 percent share in 2016 despite only being in operation since mid-March. But as Eilers points out, this came primarily “at the direct expense of Borgata / Party and WSOP / 888.”
Of the $33.2 million increase expected, Eilers sees more than 100 percent of that figure coming by way of online casino growth (+$34.8 million / +20 percent). Which means that online poker revenue is projected to decline.
“PokerStars has had a meaningful, but not transformative, impact on the NJ online poker market, which rose 11% year-over-year. Further, the impact heavily concentrated in the months immediately following launch and appears to be fading (to say it another way, the positive impact of PokerStars is no longer overcoming the natural decline of the market at large).”
On the poker industry horizon… some things to look out for:
- California iPoker – The Ball is in PokerStars’ Court. Don’t hold your breathe.
- New York and Michigan after Pennsylvania.
- Run It Once online poker site – Phil Galfond (His desire to offer a player-friendly, low-rake online poker site reminiscent of old-school PokerStars is moving forward.)
- Live Events – Live Poker Tourney Scene to grow beyond EPT, WPT & WSOP with reduced Main Event buyins, more festival stops.
- Live poker was once controlled by two or three brands but has now diversified, with players starting to feel like they have more influence in the future of the game.
- Player centric optimizations in tourney structures & payouts.
Article SRC: PokerNews.com, PokerFuse.com, OnlinePokerReport.com, Poker Industry Pro.com, Luckyladygames.com, Calvin Ayre, PokerStars.com, Party Poker.com