Just like all other sectors of the gambling industry, poker has been affected significantly by the coronavirus pandemic. To get more information on this subject first-hand, the LoginCasino team talked to Vadim Soloveychik, Acting Director of partypoker, one of the most visited poker rooms, according to various poker news and reports.
What was the biggest challenge that partypoker faced during the lockdown?
The challenges we faced during the first lockdown were shared across the industry. It was a very unique time and we were all forced to adapt to the changes the world was going through. In our case, we had to develop our customer retention strategy to account for all the new players we saw coming to partypoker as a result of people being at home much more often, while also offering events that would replicate live experiences as much as possible.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have offered events including the Irish Open Online, the WPT Online Series, the WPT World Online Championships (WPT WOC), the Caribbean Poker Party Online, the World Championship of Amateur Poker, and WPT Montreal Online all on partypoker, among other online events that would usually be live.
The experience of playing live events cannot be replaced, but by leveling the playing field and offering players with all bankrolls the chance to enter the biggest events through low buy-in satellites, we have made all players feel welcome to play. We have also still awarded similar physical prizes to what we see in live events. An example of this was in the WPT WOC, where the Main Event winner had their name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup trophy and they received a replica version.
What about the number of sign-ups? Did it increase during the lockdown? If yes, what steps did you take to acquire new customers?
Our acquisition numbers have remained strong throughout the pandemic. We have continued to release new products, promotions, and tournaments to cater to poker players around the world across digital and social channels, which have resonated with them. We continue to listen to players and ensure we deliver what they are asking for and ensuring we are the best online poker operator available for players everywhere.
Experts say that people who have started to play poker only because of staying at home due to the pandemic are a new type of player, which differs from already-registered users. Is it true? Do these players need a unique and exclusive approach to make them stay on the poker platform?
We see all kinds of new players signing up at partypoker and the pandemic has definitely accelerated the volume of new players signing up, but I don’t think we can categorize all of these players into one specific type. The poker offering has changed naturally, mainly in the form of live poker events being held online due to restrictions, so our approach has had to develop without necessarily taking a new and unique approach to any new players we have acquired, while still making sure we cater for the needs of all players.
What strategies does partypoker apply to survive in the highly-competitive poker market? What metrics do you use to analyze the effectiveness of marketing tools?
Our approach throughout the pandemic has remained largely the same as it was before the pandemic; to level the playing field and make poker an accessible and inclusive game for all players. We even recently launched our MyGame Whiz tool, which helps players become accustomed to the game by providing bespoke tutoring for new players who may be unfamiliar with how online poker works. That ties in with our ethos of helping anyone play the game and having a fair chance of being successful.
In terms of metrics to assess performance, we track the reach of all our marketing campaigns, and while it is difficult to ascertain the impact this has on bottom-line figures, we make sure we take key learnings from each of them for future campaigns.
Do you consider poker streaming, for example, on Twitch as a promotion channel? Do streaming services have an opportunity to become the best advertising platforms for poker rooms in the nearest future?
We are very aware of the fact that poker players who live stream on Twitch have generated a large following and can promote the game to new audiences. Our Twitch channel, partypokerTV, currently has more than 57,000 followers, and we live stream the final tables of all our biggest events. We have our own roster of Twitch streamers representing partypoker, who combined have more than 287,000 followers on Twitch.
It’s still too early to say if these will become the biggest advertising platforms in the future because we never know if any new kinds of marketing platforms will emerge. However, it is very important to be aware of the growth of such platforms, and we’re pleased with the development of our Twitch team so far.
What can you say about crypto poker? Does it have a chance to become widespread and popular among players?
While there has been a lot of discussion about crypto in recent years, I would say we are some way off from crypto becoming much more widespread, but it is of course something that we will continue to monitor. Poker players are often open to the idea of new technologies, so it is something that can still develop in the coming years, but I would still see it as very much a niche market at this point.
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