Time to enter the online poker game
Online poker has experienced a boom since the start of the coronavirus outbreak as people with time on their hands search for entertainment during a time of social distancing.
Recent poker figures indicate a global five-year high with more than 45,000 average concurrent players towards the end of March – an incredible 50% rise on the previous month according to a GameIntel study. Figures from Italy indicated an initial surge following the country going into lockdown. Some 5,000 players were logged into tables at one time on the first Tuesday of the curfew, which is around double the regular traffic level.
In contrast, that beast of the gambling world, sports betting, has endured a miserable time with all the world’s major events having been cancelled or postponed.
Additional revenue stream
While many gambling operators offer a full range of verticals, it’s been a disastrous period for those who rely solely on betting. As the global poker figures indicate, many of those who love the thrill of a wager are clearly still looking to play, it’s just that they cannot put their money on their favourite sports.
The addition of poker for those solely invested in betting would offer a much-needed additional revenue stream in this time of uncertainty for sport, according to Serge Mukhanov, CEO of Connective Games, a leading online poker and casino platform provider.
“During this pandemic, poker has proved to be more resistant to alterations in behaviour because, of course, there are no restrictions impacting the online world,” Serge said.
“If one compares poker and betting we see that the audience is similar in psychological and strategical features. In poker, just like in sports betting, you need to skilfully manage your play, with good, informed decisions making a positive result more likely. Both generate excitement and offer the capability of earning money without leaving home.
“In addition, these types of gambling are available to a wide range of people on any device.”
Of course, a poker newbie may baulk at the prospect of taking on behemoth operators that have been established for decades and may have registered more than a million players. However, with their own members looking for wagering and entertainment opportunities and a good product, Mukhanov says there is no reason for them to shy away from a challenge that could save their business in these tough times.
He believes the key to success is an aggressive advertising strategy to attract new registrations and ensure existing players know about the poker offering. To retain customers on a long-term basis they must offer a stable working site and online support which can resolve problems within minutes.
Choosing a partner
The choice of platform provider is key, with operators needing to know that they can trust their partner’s technology and access a portfolio of high-quality games if they are to make a quick impact in this new field.
With most play taking place via handheld devices it’s essential that the supplier can offer a high-quality mobile client. For this reason Connective Games has put a major focus on its mobile product and its success is highlighted by it being named Mobile Product of Year at the 2020 International Gaming Awards and Poker Software Supplier of the Year at the 2019 EGR B2B Awards.
“The operator needs to be assured about the supplier they use,” said Mukhanov, whose company was founded more than a decade ago and works with five of the world’s most popular poker rooms. “Winning major awards is key evidence that the supplier provides a good product and service.
“Don’t settle for empty words. The software provider should be able to confirm their words and achievements, for example, by demonstrating their back office and show real-life examples of implementing their platform in different markets.
Clearly, if a supplier works with successful brands it is indicative that they are performing well in terms of helping the site attract and retain players.”
Suppliers should offer 24/7 support to solve issues related to technical processes, and their product should include a wide range of marketing tools.
Mukhanov added: “They should also consider the flexibility of the supplier’s platform, for example to what extent is customisation available to ensure the site is right for their audience and fits in with their existing product.”
As the gambling industry reacts to the post-Covid-19 world, Serge Mukhanov is positive about the role poker can play.