Poker Industry PRO

Winamax Enters Global Top Three as it Pulls Ahead in Southern European Market (January 2020)

Top line: “In the face of increased competition, and despite an uneven playing field, French-based online poker room Winamax is currently ranked third globally in terms of cash game traffic, the latest figures reveal.”

Key takeaways:

  • It has solidified its position as the clear leader in the segregated Southern European online poker market, despite still not operating in Portugal.
  • Globally, it is neck-and-neck with growing online poker network GGPoker for the coveted third-place position in the rankings.
  • Over the last two years, cash game traffic has grown 30% whilst both PokerStars Europe and the dot-com market have declined.
  • Today, it represents 43% of the Southern European market, up from 40% a year ago and 28% in Q1 2018.

Read the article »


Sunday Overlays: Majors at PokerStars, Partypoker and GGPoker All Miss Guarantees (February 2020)

Top line: “Last weekend, the turnout for Sunday major tournaments across the industry took a hit, causing overlays across three of the world’s largest online poker rooms. PokerStars’ iconic Sunday Million, partypoker’s Million, and GGPoker’s newly-launched GG Masters all fell short.”

Key takeaways:

  • GG Masters and Partypoker Million overlay once again.
  • More surprisingly, the PokerStars Sunday Million also suffered a rare miss.
  • The tournaments coincided with the NFL Super Bowl, but also ongoing tournament series.

Read the article »


PokerStars Will Give Away Even More Platinum Passes to PSPC Barcelona than Inaugural Event (February 2020)

Top line: “PokerStars has launched Platinum Madness, a new three-week promotion that will give away dozens of packages, dubbed Platinum Passes, to its upcoming PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) to be held in Barcelona, Spain in August.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars has confirmed that over 320 Platinum Passes will be given away by the time the event starts in August.
  • When the original PSPC was announced, the fact that over 300 would be given away was a cornerstone of the promotion.
  • The event was a great success for the operator, becoming the largest $25,000 event in history.
  • Until now, PokerStars has shied away from talking about total added value to PSPC Barcelona.

Read the article »


In Face of Wider Business Pressures, Growth at Kindred’s Unibet Poker Continues Unabated (February 2020)

Top line: “Online poker revenue at Swedish online gambling giant Kindred Group continued its impressive double-digit growth in Q4 2019, hitting £5.8 million—up 18.4% year-over-year.”

Key takeaways:

  • It is the highest quarter on record for the operator, and the ninth consecutive quarter of annual growth.
  • Both its casino and sports divisions dipped in Q4 2019, down 2.1% and 11.4% respectively.
  • Poker growth observed throughout 2019 unfalteringly extended into the last quarter of the year.

Read the article »


GGPoker Readies Spin and Gold, a Feature-Packed Lottery Sit and Go (February 2020)

Top line: “GGPoker will debut its jackpot-style sit and go game, Spin and Gold, across its network on Friday, the company has announced.”

Key takeaways:

  • The game speed changes based on the multiplier.
  • It has payouts for second-place finishers from the 10x multiplier onwards.
  • At higher multipliers, payouts are much flatter.
  • The operator also plans to run a permanent additional rewards system to the game, dubbed Spin & Gold Challenge.
  • There is also a 2x insurance option, an even-money bet that the tournament will have a 2x multiplier.

Read the article »


“How PokerStars Catches People Trying To Cheat”: Online Poker Giant Joins Game Integrity Conversation (March 2020)

Top line: “A new Game Integrity landing page has appeared on PokerStars’ website to communicate how it is keeping its player pool safe from bots and cheaters.”

Key takeaways:

  • A new Game Integrity landing page communicates how it is keeping its player pool safe from bots and cheaters.
  • “We believe in a level playing field and vigorously police our poker games using a variety of cutting-edge techniques.”
  • Last year, Morgan Stanley downgraded igaming operators because “superhuman artificial intelligence will disrupt online poker.”

Read the article »


GVC Reports More Poker Growth in 2019—But it is Slowing Down (March 2020)

Top line: “Gaming giant GVC reported that net gaming revenue in online poker grew 8% in 2019, the fourth year in a row of growth at the resurgent online poker room.”

Key takeaways:

  • GVC reported that net gaming revenue in online poker grew 8% in 2019.
  • Annual revenue is more than double what it was at its lowest point in 2015-2016.
  • “Partypoker NGR was 8% [in constant currency] ahead of last year, slowing in the second half due to a tough prior year.”

Read the article »


Grand Tour: PokerStars Unveils Ambitious New Fast-Paced Tournament Format (April 2020)

Top line: “Online poker giant PokerStars has revealed a major new poker game, Grand Tour, that combines various elements of popular contemporary formats—shorthanded tables, fast paced games, random prizes, progressive bounties—and bundles it into a single cohesive package with a slick cycling theme.”

Key takeaways:

  • Grand Tour combines various elements of popular contemporary games and bundles it into a single cohesive package.
  • Shorthanded tables, fast paced games, random prizes, progressive bounties, and Steps-esque progression all feature.
  • It is expected to launch for real money later on Thursday and come to the EU and UK clients by the end of the week.
  • When a sprint is won, the player can immediately jump into the next stage or save that entry for later.
  • The game is heavily inspired by the most famous of the cycling Grand Tours, the Tour de France.

Read the article »


Partypoker Ups the Aggression with Kevin Hart Ad Campaign, “Defection” Promotion (May 2020)

Top line: “Partypoker is awarding over $2 million in cash prizes this month in one of its most audacious promotions yet to attract players to its platform over the increasingly aggressive competition.”

Key takeaways:

  • “The Defection Party” includes four separate promotions.
  • The largest chunk of the $2 million is through its leaderboards, which it has extended into June.
  • The campaigns are an attempt to both chip away at the market lead of PokerStars and fend off the challenge from GGPoker.

Read the article »


Nine Rooms Migrate to iPoker as Veteran Online Poker Network MPN Closes its Doors (May 2020)

Top line: “The majority of online poker skins on MPN have completed their migration over to Playtech’s iPoker network, transitioning their players onto the new platform smoothly. Microgaming’s poker network MPN, after 17 years in the business, has shut for good.”

Key takeaways:

  • The majority of online poker skins on MPN have completed their migration over to Playtech’s iPoker network.
  • By all accounts, both the closure and all the transitions went smoothly.
  • “Thank you for joining us on this epic journey, and for your support all these years.”
  • The Betsson brands, Paf and Coolbet add a focus on Scandinavian markets.
  • Red Star Poker also adds a significant footprint in Eastern Europe.
  • The only MPN émigré not to land at iPoker is Olybet, which went live on GGPoker weeks ago.

Read the article »


Online Poker’s Great Success Story: How GGPoker Has Grown Threefold in a Year (June 2020)

Top line: “Online poker network GGPoker has seen its cash game traffic grow by a factor of three over the last year. And while markets worldwide are seeing interest wane after a two-month coronavirus-fueled online poker mini-boom, GG has just hit a new all-time high.”

Key takeaways:

  • Online poker network GGPoker has seen its cash game traffic grow by a factor of three over the last year.
  • The industry has seen traffic plateau in April and fall in May, but GGPoker’s growth continues unabated.
  • Today, there are more players on GGPoker’s cash game tables than there are on partypoker and 888 combined.
  • The network went on a tear of signing up big-name ambassadors.
  • Two of the three largest online poker tournaments of 2020 have been held on GGPoker.
  • If GGPoker can repeat its factor-of-three growth, it will be toe-to-toe with PokerStars.

Read the article »


Partypoker Debuts Real Names in MILLION as Weekend Shakeup Continues (June 2020)

Top line: “Partypoker has announced an overhaul to their major weekly tournament, the partypoker MILLION. Changes include a slimmed down Day 1 schedule, a move of the final day from Sunday to a Monday, and the reintroduction of Micro and Mini MILLION tournaments.”

Key takeaways:

  • Changes include a slimmed down schedule, the final day moves from a Sunday to a Monday and real names will be mandatory.
  • The return of the Micro and Mini MILLION will guarantee $10,000 and $100,000 respectively.
  • The MILLION tournament returned to the regular schedule at the end of 2019 after a thirteen-year hiatus.

Read the article »


Run it Once Boosts Traffic Once Again with Leaderboard Promotion (June 2020)

Top line: “Independent online poker operator Run it Once (RIO) has succeeded in drawing traffic back to its site with a new promotion, “leadRboards,” giving away €25,000 in cash prizes over the course of two weeks.”

Key takeaways:

  • Operator giving away cash prizes across seven separate leaderboards.
  • The promotion runs for two weeks: €10,000 in the first week, €15,000 is earmarked the second.
  • Its seven-day moving average of concurrent cash game players leapt from 50 seats on Friday, June 12 to well over 100 today.
  • It has provided a much-needed boost to traffic for the operator that has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last few months.

Read the article »


GGPoker Extends “Olive Branch” to Banned Players, Tries to Clarify Stance on Pros (August 2020)

Top line: “GGPoker has opened a two-week window for banned players to apply for account reinstatement, and has outlined what it defines as “good,” “regular” and “bad” pros, as the debate around the network’s hardline policy on banning players continues to swirl.”

Key takeaways:

  • The network published a statement late last week seen as an effort to clarify its stance on professional players at its tables.
  • The operator has a Security & Ecology Agreement which lays out “a strict zero-tolerance policy” to behavior deemed predatory.
  • GGPoker withholds the right to ban a player seen as crossing these lines.
  • “GGPoker is focused on making poker fun and accessible for as many players as possible.”
  • “We have only banned players who have violated our Terms of Service agreement by cheating, bumhunting, colluding, or acting in a way we deem to be predatory.”

Read the article »


“Deprived of Proper Levels of Investment”: Flutter Signals New Direction for PokerStars (August 2020)

Top line: “Flutter Entertainment, in presenting its first financial results since completing its acquisition of The Stars Group, laid out a bold new direction of increased focused and investment at PokerStars.”

Key takeaways:

  • Daily actives have mostly—but not entirely—returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  • In a wide-ranging presentation that discussed a myriad topics, the PokerStars plans generated the most Q&A.
  • “We’re in a more fortunate position that we can invest behind all the opportunities we see.”
  • The group announced that it planned to invest £50 million in the second half of 2020.
  • “There is an important balance that has to be struck in developing the business for the long-term.”
  • “The online poker market is competitive, and we’re going to have to invest in our product and customer experience.”

Read the article »


Seven Weeks, 240,000 Entries, $148 million in Prize Money: The GG WSOP 2020 is Finally in the Books (September 2020)

Top line: “54 tournaments, almost a quarter of a million entries and prize money just shy of $148 million: After more than seven weeks of action, at long last the World Series of Poker Online 2020, hosted on GGPoker, is over.”

Key takeaways:

  • The highlights of the week were two big guaranteed tournaments, the MILLION$ and Super MILLION$.
  • The prize money is not the highest ever for an online series—that record is still retained by PokerStars’ SCOOP.
  • With $7.4 million in rake generated from the 54 bracelet events alone, is hard to see it as anything but a resounding success.

Read the article »


PokerBros’ Mobile App Returns to US Apple App Store After “Misunderstanding” (September 2020)

Top line: “PokerBros, a popular social app that allows users to set up and administer private poker clubs, has been reinstated in Apple’s App Store in the United States following a temporary removal last month.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerBros, a popular “play money” social poker app, has been reinstated to the Apple Store in the US.
  • The operator clarified that the app was taken down by the American tech giant due to a misjudgment by Apple.

Read the article »


Unibet Launches Overhauled Poker Software with Client Redesign, Portrait on Mobile, Revamped Tournament Lobby (September 2020)

Top line: “Kindred Group’s independent online poker room Unibet Poker has launched version 3 of its client, overhauling the experience across desktop, mobile and web.”

Key takeaways:

  • Almost all aspects of the poker experience, whether it be on mobile, desktop or web, has been updated.
  • With the lobby and tables now fully responsive, it improves the experience across various platforms.
  • The navigation has been revamped, switching from the old left-hand-side banners for games to a more traditional tabbed system.
  • This is particularly noticeable in the MTT lobby, which has enjoyed special attention.

Read the article »


How Online Poker Operators are Preparing for Germany’s “Transitional Tolerance” Policy (October 2020)

Top line: “An eleventh-hour policy document on online gambling in Germany, which defines how some existing online slots and poker will be tolerated from unlicensed operators ahead of a new regulatory system set to come into effect next year, has resulted in a mad scramble among poker sites to get their…”

Key takeaways:

  • The so-called “toleration” policy allows a subset of online gambling to continue for the next nine months.
  • Federal states agreed to a policy on September 10, but it was not until September 30 that guidelines were made public.
  • For most online poker operators interested in licensing, it means launching a separate “dot-de” client.
  • There is no suggestion in the current rules that operators must segregate German players from the rest of the player pool.
  • There are four specific rules to poker, and all four are rather curious.

Read the article »


Within a Span of Year, MPL Poker Has Grown to Become India’s Largest Poker Platform (November 2020)

Top line: “India’s Mobile Premier League (MPL), a real money mobile gaming platform, has gained immense popularity over the last two years, with its real money online poker room apparently the largest in the Indian market.”

Key takeaways:

  • MPL Poker has quietly grown to become the country’s largest poker room.
  • It boasts by far the biggest cash game traffic of any operator in the Indian market.
  • Platform boasts 60 million gaming accounts.
  • It averages 1500 to 2000 concurrent players during peak hours.
  • This puts the room in the top five online poker networks worldwide.

Read the article »


Exclusive: Testing Run it Once Poker’s SNG Select (November 2020)

Top line: “Run it Once Poker trialed its new sit and go product, Sit and Go Select, for real money in a private beta test on Monday.”

Key takeaways:

  • At 6pm on Monday, following a quick server restart to fix technical issues, players were invited to try two new game.
  • The experience was slick, games played smoothly, and execution in many places was flawless.
  • The advantage of SNG Select is that Run it Once can offer both formats without splitting the player pool.
  • The concessions necessary to offer both formats with a single player pool may not work.

Read the article »


888 Deploys New Look Lobby as Poker 8 Rollout Continues (November 2020)

Top line: “888poker is pushing out a desktop client update with a revamped online poker lobby, another step in the operator’s ongoing project to overhaul all aspects of its poker product, known as Poker 8.”

Key takeaways:

  • The new client is known to have been deployed in the UK and Germany and may already be available globally.
  • Where the previous layout felt dated and cramped, the new design is cleaner and feels more modern.
  • The biggest change is the tournament lobby itself, which has been completely overhauled.
  • “The full roll-out is planned before the end of the year, so basically all of our core markets in Europe will get the new Poker 8.”

Read the article »


As GVC Signals Regulated Markets Strategy, Partypoker Launches Dedicated Russian Poker Client (November 2020)

Top line: “Global gaming giant GVC Holdings plc has announced its intention to focus entirely on regulated markets, with an ambitious plan to exit all markets that are not nationally regulated within three years.”

Key takeaways:

  • By the end of this year, 99% of revenue will be generated from customers in regulated and “regulating” markets.
  • 100% of revenue will come from nationally regulated markets by 2023.
  • Poland and Norway are thought to be two of the larger markets that partypoker and other GVC brands will exit next month.
  • However, there appears to be no immediate plan to withdraw from Russia.
  • Partypoker Sochi is licensed in Malta and ostensibly offers ways for players to qualify for sanctioned live poker tournaments.
  • The client also gives Russian players access to the operator’s full online poker network.
  • Practically all live poker events have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet Russia is the industry’s exception.
  • GVC’s renaming to Entain will follow shareholder approval; the first market withdrawals are expected in early December.

Read the article »


When Lottery Sit and Gos Came to Bingo: Inside HexaBingo by Relax Gaming and Unibet (November 2020)

Top line: “The lottery sit and go (LSNG) has been one of the most important innovations in online poker in the last decade. First introduced by Winamax in 2013, by 2015 it had spread to most major operators. By 2018, even smaller independent poker operators had added the format.”

Key takeaways:

  • The lottery sit and go (LSNG) has been one of the most important innovations in online poker in the last decade.
  • The bingo edition takes everything successful from poker’s LSNG and applies it to 27-ball, single-line bingo.
  • “Innovation is present in every highly competitive market and often comes about as a solution to one or a number of issues.”
  • “We identified that a lottery Sit and Go would, in theory, address some of bingo’s biggest challenges.”
  • “For bingo players, the possibility to win anything significant from a game with only three players in it is completely revolutionary.”

Read the article »


Reporting on the WSOP 2020 Main Event During a Pandemic: A First-Hand Account (December 2020)

Top line: “This past Tuesday, December 15, the international leg of the 2020 WSOP $10,000 Championship Main Event concluded at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czechia.”

Key takeaways:

  • As per the rules, those who did not want to travel or would test positive for COVID-19 would be disqualified.
  • Changing travel restrictions made predicting if attendance were possible or desirable difficult for everyone.
  • Living “next door” to the venue with only one train ride required, I became the prime candidate to report on the final table.
  • Upon arrival, I underwent an antigen test, which the casino paid for, and two doctors were at the venue to administer it.
  • All the staff were wearing either face masks or a plastic face shield to cover the mouth and nose.
  • Since the Czech Republic is considered a high-risk country right now, I have to complete a mandatory ten-day home quarantine.

Read the article »