Why ‘clicks’ are the stupidest metric for a poker business

Why ‘clicks’ are the stupidest metric for a poker business

downloadWhether you are an operator, media site or anything in-between, the one metric that should mean nothing to you in the poker industry is ‘clicks’. This is not to be confused with traffic, which is very important, but rather traffic for traffic’s sake.

I see so many people make this error, of overvaluing raw traffic and thus doing anything to bring that metric up without thinking about the type of traffic or the method for getting it. In the last few months I have seen a peer justify some sloppy content practices to ‘get the clicks’ and I myself was accused of clickbait for a headline (which ironically was a headline which literally described the whole story and didn’t even need clicking on). Last year an operator offered me some work (which I didn’t take) to specifically get clicks to a specific landing page they had created, without any idea when asked of whom they wanted to visit the page.

The last example should exemplify the wider problem with clicks as a goal. There is no impetus to create anything worthwhile, the click itself becomes the goal and thus could easily be gamed. We actually see this in poker (and other eSports) on Twitch where people use ‘view bots’ to fabricate real page views, to drive up ad revenue. You only have to look at the the shitty state of affairs in mainstream online journalism to see that many websites do not care if you make it to the end of the article, once the click happens the transaction is over and ideally you click onto the next story. This is why there is no shame with misleading headlines and why journalism these days is so outrage focussed. [Read more…]

Joey Ingram and quick poker books

Joey Ingram and quick poker books

516M9GnZZOLThis week Youtube poker star Joey Ingram wrote a 40,000 word poker book in five days as part of a prop bet. As an aside, this is a bet I should have made myself because I am a productive writer and, as my wife will confirm, my greatest strength is getting things over with quickly. The most impressive aspect of Ingram’s bet was he managed to get some contributions from several elite players in those five days, because with the greatest respect, trying to get professional poker players to commit to a deadline is a lofty goal in and of itself.

Given that he already has a substantial following on 2+2, YouTube and Twitter, plus the attention the prop bet generated, I think it will work out a very profitable five days for him. He has already earned $2,000 from the prop bet which already puts him in the higher echelons of royalties paid to a poker author and great for five days work by most peoples’ standards. From speaking with many poker authors over the years, 10,000 lifetime copies sold seems like a notable success with poker books, with 20,000 being outstanding and only a few very special titles getting 100,000+ in sales. [Read more…]

The rise of poker Vlogs

The rise of poker Vlogs

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-13-52-58Last year I wrote a series of articles about how I thought Twitch was going to change the poker industry, and I think for the most part I was right, though probably I didn’t comprehend how saturated it would become. Recently I have started to notice the next big trend in poker and that is the YouTube Vlog. In a short space of time we have seen professional poker players documenting their lives on YouTube much in the way that online stars like PewDiePie, Casey Neistat and Phillip De Franco do.

Poker tends to be behind the times with trends like this, but in this particular instance I think the game being allowed on Twitch really opened the door for the YouTube Vlog.

Triple Crown winner Jake Cody has launched a Vlog and it looks like it will be pretty popular. Doug Polk is currently the king of poker Youtube with a really good channel that seems to be pitched really well to serious and less so serious players alike, with a real gamer style to it. Joe Ingram has an interview podcast which is very revealing and feels like the Joe Rogan Podcast. We are also seeing organic YouTube poker stars emerge like TheTrooper97 and Andrew Neeme who quickly appear to have amassed a big following from nowhere (much in the way Jaime Staples did on Twitch). [Read more…]

Working remotely

Working remotely

business-926221_1280Poker really is a global industry and one which I believe was ahead of the curve when it comes to the subject of remote working. I have been fortunate enough to work for PokerNews and PokerStrategy, both of whom from a very early stage had some excellent systems in place for people from all over the world to work together virtually. I also have cowritten two books (with a new one in the works) with Jared Tendler almost exclusively via Skype as there is an Atlantic Ocean between us.

Working remotely has its benefits and limitations. I have been lucky enough to work with some great people who have taught me a lot about remote working, some advice of which I’ll share today: [Read more…]

Will people pay to watch live poker?

Will people pay to watch live poker?

This is a cross-post from my PokerStrategy.com column about the Global Poker Index’s new plans to turn poker into a paid spectator sport:

This week the Global Poker Index announced their ambitious plans for the Global Poker League next year. In an attempt to turn live poker into a genuine spectator sport, they plan to showcase 14 weeks of team events, some of which are played in a sealed off cube where hole cards are shown to a live audience in real time. The players will be standing, there will be a shot clock and the cards will be digital.

Most interesting of all, some of these events are scheduled to take place in large venues. The players will be paid a wage rather than buy into the event.They will be paid by revenues made from sponsorships, tickets sold to the events and merchandise.

Poker has lots of parallels with sport, especially the televised form. However, until now, nobody has tried to grow the game selling tickets to watch it live, as happens in traditional sports. The business model of all live poker events involve getting the viewers to somewhere down the line play in those events, or at the linked online poker room.

Is poker really the sort of game that people would pay to watch live? [Read more…]