I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of online poker. While the US State regulation is a disaster at the moment, there are some real reasons to be optimistic for the rest of the world. Poker has turned the corner from sites full of break-even grinders living off of their rakeback deals. We are heading for different kind of online poker world, one which is dominated by recreational players and mobile devices.
Let me explain.
Tablets and smartphones do not support multi-tabling. Their very nature would make this uncomfortable.
Even if the HUD tools manufacturers came up with a version for your iPhone, and the sites supported this – playing 12 tabling sessions on your iPhone is just not going to happen.
We are going back to the days when people watched their opponents (you know, physically, with your own eyes!) instead of relying on stats. We are returning to the days when people played one or two tables at a time. Instead of 100 winners playing 12 tables each, and 100 recreational players averaging 2, the balance is coming back the other way.
(Sure, there will still be mutli-tablers including the hordes of *ahem* lower GDP country parasites 12 tabling the $2 or $5 games creating a barrier for those new to the game learning and moving up. Its rational for them, equilibrium and all that stuff - I get that!)
What we will see as more players shift to mobile is a relative increase in the recreational players to grinders.
This will mean that new recreational types have a better chance of putting together a few winning sessions, learning the game and catching the poker bug.
The problem with grinders was that they were killing off their own golden geese. By identifying new players and fish quickly via stats and targeting them – people were put off from returning to the tables. Poker could only sustain itself while there were more and more new countries joining the games… and, well, we have started to run out of new countries.
I’m more positive about poker now than I have been for many years.
The sites have realized that they need to focus on the recreational crowd, more new players are coming in, and more one-table players using mobiles is making the games looser. At the same time the price of tablets and smartphones is coming down considerably.
There are millions of people out there who do not want to sit in front of a computer all day ‘grinding’ poker games who can now afford entry level smartphones or tablets. I’ll correct that, there are 10’s of millions, if not 100’s of millions worldwide in this category.
These players will not be getting access to poker for the first time. What they will have is access to the games as an entertainment pastime for the first time.
To sit at a computer playing you really had to make a conscious decision that this was something you wanted to do. Checking out a game on your phone or tablet after seeing a TV advert or televised tournament will be easy. If the poker operators can create the environment where these people are not targeted and have a great time, then a brand new poker economy could grow.
There will always be a place for serious players.
I’m very happy that the poker world seems to have woken up to the fact that it is not possible to create an entire poker economy from just grinders.
I’ll put it in writing now. I believe that 2015 will bring us a new boom in recreational online poker games – and that it will be powered by mobile devices.
GL at the tables, Mark
PS: You can find the games with the biggest ratio of recreational players to grinders (as in the most profitable sites) via my Fish-o-Meter widget.
Submitted by Planet Mark on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:49