Newly appointed Head of GGNetwork Jean-Christophe Antoine is a veteran of the online poker industry with a decade of experience working at some of Europe’s largest online gambling companies.
Joining Betclic-Everest in 2008 in customer service, Antoine quickly worked his way through the ranks, first to workforce manager and then appointed Poker Operations Manager in May 2011.
In 2013, he made the move over to iPoker France, taking on the Head of Poker role; in 2016, he headed to Betsson, first as Poker Product Manager, then progressing to Head of Network Games where he also oversaw the company’s bingo and lottery products.
As of February 2019, Antoine has taken on another huge professional challenge—steering one of the industry’s fastest-growing online poker networks, GGNetwork.
Considering its size, GGN may have flown under the radar of many. Yet from its launch just five years ago, it has grown to one of the largest online poker networks in the world, its cash game traffic of similar levels to Winamax, partypoker and 888, and its tournament series are among the largest on the online poker calendar.
From the outside, it has appeared that the network, at least initially, had a focus on the Asian markets. However, in the last couple of years it has sought to grow beyond these roots: It now has network skins licensed in the UK and in Latvia, and GGN poker rooms have worked with European-focused mega-affiliates to expand its player base.
The network has also made a name for itself in rapid software development. Over the last year alone, it has debuted Chinese Rush, launched an integrated HUD and experimented with a Cash Drops innovation.
This comes atop an already highly developed platform that includes an integrated staking platform, built-in “all in insurance,” social integration with “hand moments” video sharing, and many other unique features.
Since taking on the role three months ago, Antoine has already overseen a landmark series for the network. Blade Series, which ran in April, guaranteed a rather staggering $11.5 million across a schedule of high-buyin tournaments. The network’s second ever online tournament series, this put the network on the map of many, putting it toe-to-toe with some of Europe’s largest online poker networks.
With barely time to catch its breath, the network is now back with the second edition of Good Game Series. Smartly slotted in to coincide with PokerStars’ SCOOP and partypoker’s KO Series, the head-turning $10 million-guaranteed series is more than three times the size of its debut even last year.
The series kicked off on Sunday and runs until May 26. While he oversees this execution, Antoine took the time to answer PRO’s questions about the direction of the network, its software development strategy, and plans for market expansion.
Given that the game of Short Deck originated in Asia and your network is mainly focused on the Asian region, but so far your network doesn’t offer Short Deck/Six Plus Hold’em. Do you have any plans to add this variant to your game offerings in the near future?
I will start with a rectification, we are not Asia-focused, we’re just not European-centric. I would actually say we are World-focused. We have a wide array of partners all around the world and our goal is to continue our expansion with them while welcoming new ones. GGNetwork is the world’s largest poker network today and we’re putting a lot of effort into making the beautiful game of Poker fun again, so we are indeed watchful of what happens in the poker live scene, especially the popularity of Short Deck/Six Plus Hold’em.
We’ve been observing how it’s been faring for the past couple of months and we are happy to wait a bit before releasing it. We want to make sure our version avoids pitfalls and comes with extra perks. We will probably launch it sometime in 2019.