Author: admin

A 2013 to-do list for the poker industry

  At the start of the year – feeling more enthusiastic about online poker’s future than I had in a long time – I decided to welcome 2013 with an… uhh… inspiring message.  I tweeted: “Dear poker world. 2013 is a make-or-break year. Lots to do. Let’s get cracking.” Lame. I know. It didn’t take long for Chris @OPReport Grove to reply: “It would help if you gave us a to-do list.” Backed into a corner I promised to do just that. But I haven’t. I wrote and wrote and didn’t like the way I framed what I wrote. So I binned what I had and tried desperately to not hate myself for failing on a promise. Maybe everyone would forget I promised what I promised. Unfortunately some people apparently like to trawl through old tweets and well… apparently one of them is Viktor @viktornordling Nordling. Because he found the tweets yesterday and decided to ask me where the list was. Busted. This is is an attempt to save face while not losing important momentum with other content I have queued up. Consider it a summary. Note: I’ve kept changing the headline from “online poker industry” to “poker industry” because the range of topics span outside the realm of digital poker. Hopefully it suffices to say that I am in in the digital games business and regard everything from...

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Design for Ten – how to prosper in a limited liquidity poker market

With the chances of online poker being regulated on a federal level anytime soon in the US slowly slipping away, concerns associated with operating an online poker room in a market where player liquidity may be scarce have resurfaced with renewed strength. The fact that this fear likely fuels the seemingly increased desire amongst state regulators to form compacts (a regulated scenario I prefer for several previously stated reasons) is obviously great. But it also places a wet cloth on market expectations; it kills excitement for the game and risks turning poker into an even more fringe concern and/or opportunity for big corporations, lobbyists, policy makers and politicians. And that is obviously not so great. While limited liquidity concerns in the US market are warranted to a degree – I generally back the conclusions drawn by Chris Grove in this speculative but relevant review of state-by-state liquidity – I have not spoken out against this player liquidity fearmongery for several years just to stop now. In the past I have focused my opposition by trying to uncover and explain some of the mechanics of poker liquidity and the economy of standard rake based poker rooms that negate the risks often associated with operating in a limited liquidity market. One example is the idea that one has to spread a really wide range of games in order to cater to...

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The money is in the story Fool!

Note 2015:  Since this post has re-surfaced lately I’ve made minor clarifying edits here and there. Language is still not up to par. Hopefully the quality of the  arguments  makes up for it.  Surprise! The online poker industry is in bad shape if you’re not Pokerstars. This stunning news was delivered two days ago by Jeff @RivalSchoolX Hwang in a piece called “Sorry, Mr. Online Poker. Nobody Cares About You” on The Motley Fool. PPA’s Rich Muny called it “thought provoking” on twitter. It has caused quite a stir. Why I wonder as I search for the world’s biggest bullhorn and a more powerful amplifier. Don’t get me wrong. Jeff Hwang’s piece is competent. It’s well researched and mostly on point. Definitely a must read. But its main message is one that can’t stun anyone who claims to keep an ear to this industry’s tracks. And, more importantly, it follows a long tradition of misguided analysis of why the industry is suffering. Jeff mentions a number of the most frequently cited reasons for poker’s structural decline – like fragmented regulated markets and excessive (?) taxation – before honing in on one possible cause that many of the industry’s pundits nowadays recognize as the real culprit. “There’s another aspect of online poker that is often overlooked in these types of discussions, and that is an increasing skill gap problem.” I have three goals...

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One Drop too many?

Man, I haven’t been this glued to a poker production since the last year’s Main Event final table broadcast. And I’ve been glued to it even before today’s hole-card revealing stuff. The One Drop tournament is simply too captivating to miss. Yet a lot of the criticism I have been voicing leading up to the event is still valid. I’ve taken a reasonable amount of flak for what I’ve said, but also received support from behind the scenes. Touchy subject, apparently. With the event nearing its crescendo, I felt it was time to move the discussion from twitter to my blog. To clear some stuff up. And to store it forever so I might have to eat it all down the road. My criticism of the one million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament has never really centered around the players. I get that people are intrigued by it. I get that some play it solely for the the “dead” money represented by less experienced business men. For the charity? Not so much. I get that the idea of putting up a million of your own money is not appealing to any of the poker pros even if they have a million lying around. Only the businessmen are likely to have a bank account that justifies ponying up  the seven figure amount themselves. I get why the staking and...

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Why HUDs are hidden from the masses

*** NOTE – THIS IS AN OLD POST THAT HAS BEEN UPDATED/EXTENDED WITH ADDITIONAL CONTENT *** An old discussion flared back to life on twitter yesterday after I asked @pokertracker to inform me when they have full HUD coverage of @pokerstars Zoom Poker so I can stop playing it. This is a stab at @Pokerstars – not @Pokertracker but the inevitable discussion with HUD defenders ensued. In this case with @JoeTall and @Pokertracker associate @_Tizzle. As often is the case, people defend the existence of HUDs while I oppose not their existence – but how sites cloud their use. So the discussion doesn’t really go anywhere. Hence I want to make the following clarification: I am not an opponent of features and functionality that utilizes game data and the strategic complexities of poker to offer players a potentially more engaging play experience. I am probably an above-average proponent of such things. Heck,[intlink id=”1274″ type=”post”] I’ve even argued for the use of bots under certain conditions.[/intlink] My beef is with the poker sites and their inadequate handling of the fact that such tools exist as third party applications. And the reason I feel so strongly about it is because I understand the root reason of why the act as they do. The problem isn’t that sites to a varying degree (but not varying enough imho but that is a different...

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