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Looking After Number One

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Jan 01, 2010

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In many ways, the poker industry has shown great resilience when it comes to the affect the economy has had on it. Numbers are hanging in there, and records continue to be broken — take a look at this year’s International Poker Open or European Poker Tour London for instance. Stephen Hawkins once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” It therefore could be said that many poker companies have shown great intelligence of late.

An encouraging prospect is that, in many ways, the focus seems to have shifted from the game and the figures to the most important element of all — the players. It appears the everyday player is now being catered to more so than ever, with sites focusing on value, enjoyment, convenience, and quality rather than quantity. In looking after the player’s bottom line, these companies are realising they can increase theirs too.

With Crisis Comes Opportunity
Take for instance, the IPO, which is featured in this issue. For a small price, Boylepoker gave its players the chance to sit alongside well-known pros and compete for a healthy prize pool, while getting the feel of what it’s like to play in a major tournament with nationalities from all over the world. People turned out in droves for this opportunity, and in turn it became the largest poker tournament ever held outside of the U.S.

Elsewhere, Ultimate Bet has launched a new series of live poker tournaments in Germany and the Czech Republic, offering various affordable buy-ins and monthly €10,000 guaranteed events. These kinds of tournaments create almost a middle ground; a place where low-mid level players can aspire to more easily, a slice of the big game for a toned down price.

Another site bringing live poker to the people is PokerStars. Its new UK and Ireland Poker Tour means many players can do away with travel expenses, and buy-in directly or qualify for an upcoming event not too far from home. Players on higher rungs of the poker ladder will also find great value in tournaments like these, meaning the poker community as a whole will be brought closer together. This can only do more good than harm.

Looking Forward
The final table of the World Series of Poker main event had a representative from every section of the poker world — from big names both online and live to the “people’s representative”, Darvin Moon. PokerStars qualifier Joe Cada took it down in the end, even though much money was placed on the back of its most famous finalist Phil Ivey, to win. Perhaps, this time next year, these new tours will have brought out a fresh breed of winners; previously dormant time bombs who got their chance to wreak havoc on the felt amidst all the doom and gloom. The Ivey’s of the future.

Finally, I take great pleasure in wishing all our loyal readers happy holidays and the best of wishes for the new year. May your pockets be heavy and your hearts be light in 2010. See you on the circuit!

Brendan Murray is on holiday and will return next month. Spade Suit