Marketing cryptocurrency to poker players

Marketing cryptocurrency to poker players

Ryan Gittleson

Ryan Gittleson

Earlier this week I interviewed Ryan Gittleson of Virtue Poker about the Ethereum based poker room they are developing, for PokerStrategy.com. During the interview I naturally asked a few questions about the marketing and industry side of things that I felt was less interesting to the PokerStrategy.com audience but very interesting to my own small fledgling poker B2B audience, so here it is. There is some crossover between the interviews and I suggest you check out the PokerStrategy.com piece first to learn about the interesting ways in which Virtue Poker plans to solve shuffling, money management and dispute resolution. You can also see their very interesting White Paper which covers all of that and more. This wasn’t originally planned as an interview for my blog, it just fit here better, so I may follow up in the future with more questions specifically targeted for poker affiliates, media etc. 

Barry Carter: Most people trust RNGs these days, are you solving a problem that doesn’t need fixing?

Ryan Gittleson: I did a lot of market research over the last few years to see what our ultimate selling proposition was. The most important thing to players was first quality of games but the overarching theme of not having to trust and operator with your money and shuffling the cards. The core value proposition of the smart contract means we can’t touch your money. There is a long pathway to gaining people’s trust, we are a new startup, so how can we gain people’s trust? This solution not only addresses concerns people have previously had, it allows us to gain a lot of trust and build our brand quickly.

BC: While impressive and reassuring, I fear that your USPs might actually scare casual players off by drawing attention to some of the worst scandals poker has faced.

RG: The first question is how we communicate these value propositions to a broad audience. I have a marketing background and content marketing is a great way to help people understand what problems we are looking to address. Part of our value proposition is positioning ourselves as different to what has existed in the past. Even though PokerStars is a trusted brand, people still remember them getting shut down by the DOJ.

The second question is how do we get recreational players on the site? That’s the audience that needs incentives to get them depositing. We are looking to create a series of freerolls and satellites and our first and most loyal players can compete to win tokens. Also, it still blows my mind that rakeback for 15 years was based on volume, incentivising high volume play. We are using rakeback to support losing players, and will limit multi tabling. [Read more…]

Poker Media 2.0

Poker Media 2.0

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-13-52-58There has never been a better time for the poker media, unfortunately for those of us who have worked in the poker media for a long time, we don’t factor in as much as we used to. Poker media is on a high right now because it is the best players in the world producing some of the best content (on exciting new platforms like YouTube, Twitch and PokerGO).

People like Doug Polk, Joe Ingram, Andrew Neeme, Daniel Negreanu, Parker Talbot and Jason Somerville are all putting out podcasts, videos and Twitch streams which regularly attract the biggest audiences in poker. It is true that what separates poker media from other media industries is that we are all players of the game so we understand it better than a sports journalist understands football, but right now many of the absolute top players are actually competing with the traditional poker media.

It stands to reason that somebody like Doug Polk, who has crushed the game for some time, is going to have some great insights when he produces a video. He knows what it’s like to win a seven-figure prize in a tournament, so there will be things had can comment on when he creates content on that subject which somebody like myself can only speculate about when I write about a tournament winner. Even better for poker is the fact that somebody like Doug is not entirely (or at least, immediately) motivated by money because he gets it from elsewhere, so there is no need to appease affiliates or choose to create content purely because it’s proven to convert. [Read more…]

Paying to watch live poker – interview with Sam Simmons of PokerGO

Paying to watch live poker – interview with Sam Simmons of PokerGO

18814895_1951394665096074_2230729106650346336_o[2]This year was possibly a landmark moment in live tournament broadcasting, because for the first time the WSOP live stream became a premium service, as PokerGO launched what is being referred to as ‘the Netflix of poker’. I caught up with PokerGo VP of Content Sam Simmons to learn more about how the first WSOP using this new model worked out.

Barry Carter: You launched with such a big opening event – the Super High Roller Bowl – was the expectation that 90% of the customers would be there from the start in this respect, so you would know very early if PokerGO was a viable business or not?

Sam Simmons: We certainly looked to make an immediate splash with Super High Roller Bowl, but the PokerGO model is designed to year-round, premium poker content rather than just a few major events. The great thing about an SVOD service with live events, replays, and original programming is that the product compounds and grows on itself over time. As we stream more events and roll out additional programming, the value proposition of the service becomes more robust for the same price which we expect to yield steady, incremental audience growth over time. [Read more…]

Poker marketing ethics with Michael Josem

Poker marketing ethics with Michael Josem

michael-josem-art-customer-service-passion-providing-value2I’ve worked in poker for ten years and it is only recently that I have started thinking about whether we, as an industry, consider the ethics of marketing the game seriously. While I am ultimately a Libertarian where these things are concerned and believe consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they want, that doesn’t mean I am at times uneasy when we underplay the gambling side of the game or indeed overestimate the skill element. I recently saw my poker industry Twitter chum Michael Josem discuss this in a very interesting interview with Lee Davy and it compelled me to want to discuss this myself. 

Michael Josem has worked in game security and public relations for PokerStars, and was previously one of the lead figures in exposing the UB/Absolute Poker scandals. He now works as the Innovation & Promotions Manager at 138.com. You can learn more about Michael at his website

I should point out that I normally go into these interviews with a firm idea of what I think on a subject but in this case I really used Michael as a sounding board to try and figure out my own views on ethics and poker marketing. I’m still unsure where I stand on many of the things we discuss, but I thank him wholeheartedly for helping me mull a lot of this over.  [Read more…]

How to spot what’s trending early in poker

How to spot what’s trending early in poker

Most people are tech savvy these days and there are few ‘secrets’ in poker, or any other industry. We all know about the trending feature on Twitter, we all have news sites we check daily and most of us know the zeitgeist of the day.

how to twitterWhich in a way makes it even more important to be first through the door when a new trend appears. Jaime Staples and Jason Somerville managed to get sponsorship from PokerStars because of their early adoption of Twitch. Likewise Doug Polk has become a megastar, and Joe Ingram has become a cult star, because of their early embrace of YouTube, which everyone is now trying to get in on. Few people even bother trying to enter the live reporting game these days, because PokerNews established themselves as the place to go for that very early. I think the books I cowrote with Jared Tendler were successful because Jared is a genius at what he does, but we benefited from having very little competition in the ‘mental game’ space at the time, but there is a lot more now. There are exceptions all the time, of course, but getting in early is always a benefit.

I’m no expert on spotting the next big innovation in poker, in fact I am usually the guy writing about the thing I never predicted, but I do have a few tricks for finding out what is trending or what big stories are breaking in poker that anyone, poker media or operator alike, can benefit from: [Read more…]