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All Change at the Top

by Brendan Murray |  Published: Mar 01, 2011


In the wake of bwin and Party Gaming announcing their merger Ladbrokes confirmed it is in talks to buy
This consolidation at the top end of online poker has been mooted for some time, not least in this column, and it seems to be coming to pass as once mighty and innovative organisations struggle to compete in a vastly more competitive landscape than when they dominated the scene a few years ago.
Whether this will be a good thing for players will remain to be seen. Competition will be diminished in the sector but the savings to be made from merged operations, should they be reinvested into the site, can go some way to improving service, software, and promotions.
As revenues have fallen at all the top Euro-facing sites, so investment in basic infrastructure, marketing, and quality staff has dropped in tandem and an ever-decreasing spiral of mediocrity is in danger of becoming all-pervasive.
It was not in this spirit that online poker was developed or boomed but it is this spirit that is bringing it down and sites must do all in their power to halt the decline across the industry with honest endeavour and innovative thinking.
A dash of personality wouldn’t go amiss either and I can guaranteed Card Player will support these operators and their efforts with brio.
Without change and progression what do we have to write and talk about, much less contribute to?
Media Relations
Another area this column has touched on before is the all too obvious lack of expertise and experience in media matters across the poker industry.
Sometimes your humble bureau chief doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Recently I was asked to delete a story I wrote for a year ago because the company had decided not to pursue a particular course of action it had press released back then. So if the United Nations says it is going to solve world hunger, and the London Times reports this story, and a year later the UN contacts the London Times in private and asks “would you mind deleting that story please, we’ve had a change of strategy” the London times should oblige? The mind boggles.
Elsewhere in the last couple of months a well-known company couldn’t supply a photo of a famous player who had won one of its major tournaments (and worse still made us feel like idiots for asking with a very abrupt reply declining the request despite this being standard industry practice) thus missing out on both print and online coverage for their brand.
Attempts to engage social media have been laughable in some quarters and non-existent in others, while some senior decision-makers tasked with supporting the media appear never to have visited said media sites (you mean you really don’t know where to find that story on your company one of the world’s highest profile poker media sites?).
Not everyone should be tarred with the same brush however. Occasionally your despairing bureau chief comes across an individual or organisation which knows what it’s about, has realistic expectations, and can get the job done with a minimum of drama and fuss.
I’d like to say “you know who you are” but I suspect far too many media types in poker will pat themselves on the back undeservedly. ♠