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Author: Kim Lund

Mobile second. Why online poker providers need to stop obsessing about mobile

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to comment on the state of mobile poker for a piece published in the latest issue of Mobile Intelligence. I highly recommend reading it. It’s packed with insightful comments from people with far more influence and power than me and paints a comprehensive picture of the current mobile poker landscape. In my answers to the great questions asked I pointed out that I think the industry would benefit from a holistic debate about mobile’s place in poker’s future. It’s ultimately a different discussion so none of that (for good reason) made it into the article. Good thing I have this blog :-D While I am first in line hailing any company willing to innovate in the poker space I do feel that the industry, in somewhat typical fashion, has rashly pivoted from a position of under-estimating the potential of mobile to a position of over-estimating that potential. Everyone is targeting mobile now. And I think ”mobile first” strategies are a mistake. Here’s why.   IS POKER NATURALLY FIT FOR MOBILE? Some types of games are entirely device and/or platform dependent. Triple A 3D games are still technically limited (yeah, I know) to high-end consoles. Some games rely on social networks’ sharing mechanics and payment services to function. Others (like Piano Tiles for example) are based on touch mechanics that don’t really translate...

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The biggest opportunity in poker that everyone missed?

I think it was roughly nine months ago that I sat in my office and felt the shackles that have bound me to this industry since I went solo in 2010 finally break. The reason behind this moment of liberation was a couple of announcements from different online poker rooms that confirmed to me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the industry as a whole had come to adopt the recreational point of view that I and others have been pitching forever. I haven’t actively consulted on basic player ecology matters for years, but I still write about it off and on. My pride has not allowed me to consider quitting poker before the views I held so dear ( and that were dismissed and high-horsed for years) would be established. Now they are. Pretty much every site has introduced measures to steer their poker businesses into more causal play friendly waters. But no one has ever put the pedal to the medal. They have, in poker speak, never fully committed to the pot. The incremental steps mentality is the primary reason why I have not played a more active role in forging new experiences for the established sites. I have been in discussions many times but I’ve never been comfortable with that approach. I got to be part of trying it before 2010 and that didn’t turn out well. The changes...

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Premature calls for DFS regulation

When I began covering Daily Fantasy Sports two months ago, I effectively joined a choir criticizing key decisions made by and operational principles adopted by the two major providers of DFS, DraftKings and FanDuel. In the light of the ongoing media storm that both those companies now face, it may come as a surprise that I will spend a couple of hundred word arguing against the need for DFS regulation. Or at least against the need to rush regulation. Not because I’m principally against the idea of regulation, but because the chain of events that lead to where we are could and should have been avoided without regulation. And had regulation been in place, I doubt it would have done that much good. Also, regulation tend to favor market incumbents. How is that fair given that they are the ones guilty of possibly forcing regulation? Lastly it has to be noted that I am naturally contrarian. I always find it interesting and constructive to explore unpopular opinions. I perceive FanDuel and DraftKings (the latter more than the former) as reckless companies keen on taking shortcuts in an industry that regardless of whether it is technically labelled as a gambling or not should stick to baby steps. Watching the nukes drop after one incident too many gave the skeptics what they needed to broadside the entire DFS industry on front...

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Beyond the skill gap – Making big edges work

How do have the cake and eat it too? That is a question all people involved with player-vs-player skill games that feature a wagering element (such as online poker and daily fantasy sports) have to ask themselves. The more skill the more appealing the game is to competitively inclined hardcore players. The less skill the more accommodating it is to players who predominately play recreationally and don’t want to or can do the upmost to maximize their chances of winning. It’s fine balancing act made even more complex by factors like the need to stay within certain boundaries in order to avoid (or abide by) regulation. In recent weeks DFS has come under fire in the US both for sharing so many characteristics with luck-based (from a regulatory perspective) and illegal sports betting and, at the same time, for offering too big an edge to a small minority of predatory players.This is an ugly little pincer trap. Veer to the left and you smash into the anti-gambling lobby. Veer to the right and you risk ruining the fundamentals of your business as disillusioned depositing players depart. The way out? Don’t worry so much about how big the edge in your game might be. Worry about how it is served, presented and felt. In the past I have argued that concerns over a growing skill gap in online poker are...

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Is it possible to compete with DraftKings and FanDuel?

This is of the most competently argued and insightful articles about the current state of Daily Fantasy Sports industry that I have ever read. It was written by Chicago Ventures Senior Associate and long-time Daily Fantasy Sports investor Ezra Galston – someone who clearly knows this space far better than I do. That’s why it’s with humble ambitions that I, for the sake of getting a better grasp of the vertical myself, will spend a couple of hundred words disagreeing with him. I have never met Ezra, but after getting wind of the fact that I’ve expressed frustration over some of the arguments brought forth in his article, he asked me to elaborate. In short, Ezra argues that DFS has already been won because: ”….nearly every entrepreneur I’ve spoken to in the space gravely underestimates the liquidity advantage of existing incumbents. In betting markets, liquidity is simply everything. Much like traditional marketplaces, where suppliers need to see real economic returns to justify becoming power users, betting markets are a VIP driven business where the sharks need to be able to earn a living to drive volume on the platform.” Liquidity is king. All hail the king. The reasons I disagree with his conclusion are: 1. I do not believe ”power users” drive DFS businesses longterm 2. Online poker and DFS are richer experiences than betting. The advantages of game liquidity is...

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