The year 2019 saw a lot of big stories from live, major product developments online, an upheaval of operator’s ambassador programs, and new regulated launches. Many of these were well telegraphed, just as PRO predicted a year ago. Many others were unexpected.
Short Deck proliferated in 2019, online tournament series flourished, WSOP online bracelet events saw huge turnouts, operators continued the trend of developing new games and features, and lower-variance payouts for lottery-based Sit & Go’s became industry standard.
The shake-up of online poker room’s sponsored pros continued throughout 2019 with PokerStars losing nearly a dozen of its ambassadors—some of which joined its competitors, including Daniel Negreanu who moved to GGPoker.
Indeed, the Asia-focused online poker network grabbed headlines throughout the year. It became the third-largest online poker room globally, outclassing big poker operators such as partypoker, Winamax and 888poker. At the other end of the spectrum, MPN announced the closure of its poker network.
There were new market launches as well: 888poker became the second online poker room to go live in Portugal and subsequently connected its player pool with Spain. In late 2019, Pennsylvania went live, with PokerStars becoming the first and only operator to launch in the US state.
With 2019 in the books, it’s now time to take a look at the potential developments that could happen this year.