Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Online Poker… The Week That Was

What a week for online poker! Well, I said in the SNG Planet Facebook Page that I would wait until a little of the dust settled before posting on the subject of Full Tilt… Well, there is still a ton of uncertainty – figured I’d share my forward and backward looking thoughts today.This might be a little jumbled up while I get all my thoughts and perspectives down – you have been warned!!

Money, ugh. From a personal perspective this has most probably cost me a lot of money, a tidy sum already owed and a nice regular monthly income stream too. Of course, there has been doubt about my commissions since Black Friday – thinking about it I was showing definite symptoms of what psychologists call ‘confirmation bias’ here – giving more weight to the ‘good’ news and so on. If some or all of this money arrives I will treat it as a welcome bonus, my current expectation is that it will not. I’m more hopeful for my player balance, though this was tiny in comparison. If the brand survives in current format then I guess my income stream will come back within a few months…

Told You So, Ugh. Got to get this off of my chest! The sheer amount of people who ‘told us so’ has amazed me. On my satire blog I likened anyone who ‘told us so’ since Black Friday to someone at a summer barbeque who waits until after big black clouds roll in, then tell is it is going to rain… before proudly telling us they ‘told us so’ when it does… If you told us so before mid-April then I tip my hat to you, and no, I do not count complaining about the 60-day rule etc as a fair warning!

Future Scenarios With the talk of European Investors, Ivey Dropping his law suit, a new class action suit and statements byAlderney, FTP and Khanawake all in the mix I expect we will find out what is happening during next week. As far as I can tell the current unknown is whether Full Tilt will be sold as a going concern / brand – or whether the technology will be sold off separately. Full Tilt would have been a huge cash-flow positive ‘cash cow’ if managed correctly and I believe it can be again... I also believe that most players will come back, probably within a few months. Sure, there is a ‘will never play there again crowd’, however this is a sub-set of the forum posting / active player community types – and 80% of players will never even read a poker forum, let alone post in one, those guys are a minority within a minority. For the cash-cow to continue in its current format, all player balances will need to be returned. The alternative, with the technology and patents sold off separately - would not necessarily see the balances returned, though this could allow one of the big Vegas brands to get a huge headstart on their rivals when regulation does come… Let us hope that legal and financial hurdles are able to be jumped and allow the brand to function as a whole. I’m still suffering confirmation bias, giving more weight to commentators who suggest a rosy future and less weight to those who suggest doom… So this excludes me from making a prediction of my own for the moment at least! We will find out soon enough!

The Industry In General. I share the opinion of ‘Ramchip’ and the excellent Gambling Cash Cow Blog that there is a bright future for the online poker industry. Here are just a few ‘reasons to be cheerful’ - The US will eventually regulate, and there is a huge pool of ‘regular Joes’ who have not played since 2006 (or ever) who will come into the game when they do. - Expansion continues throughout the globe, anyone noticed how many Russian, Greek and Brazilian players are at the tables now compared to just a couple of years ago? - Regulated EU Markets… Sure there are issues with high tax in France, however with regulation comes investment in advertising, and more recreational players. - More people are turning 18 every day! - Poker is fun – there are more people ‘discovering’ this game via Zygna, via TV and via printed media all the time… with (my estimate) the ‘half-life’ of a poker player at 6 months a huge number of new players are finding their way to the tables all the time, even in ‘mature’ markets. - Some sites are increasing their CPA rates for affiliates and bonus offers for players at the moment, there is healthy competition for the players out there, which can only benefit everyone. One concern for me is that Pokerstars is getting too big, relative to the other sites, for a healthy industry… think this merits a post of its own at some point.

Final Thoughts Certainly a bleak week within a bleak few months, everything is crossed that I see my money and you see yours – my plan is to move back to England in the near future and this cash would allow me to get set up there really smoothly and fast (more on this plan in another post too!). I’m 'calling the bottom' here for online poker as a whole, and expect that in 6 to 12 months we will look back with relief that the inevitable shake-out has come and gone, and we will all be looking forward to a profitable future.

Gl at the tables, Mark

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