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…]

Tweeting the WSOP with Kevin ‘KevMath’ Mathers

Tweeting the WSOP with Kevin ‘KevMath’ Mathers

kevmathIf you want to know what is going on in the world of #PokerTwitter you can curate a Twitter list of all the movers and shakers in the industry, or you can just follow @KevMath. Kevin ‘KevMath’ Mathers is a one man Twitter aggregator and has just announced he will be handling the official @WSOP Twitter account for the World Series of Poker for the 2nd year in a row. I caught up with most familiar name in poker social media:

BC: Congratulations on once again being the man behind the @WSOP Twitter account. Given how many questions you field on a daily basis, this is more of a customer service role than a marketing one right?

KM: It is kinda a customer service role. I’ve been doing this on my own Twitter account for years, people would ask me questions all the time when I worked for Bluff, so it wasn’t like I was doing anything additional. People were saying you “should be getting paid for this Kevin” so I sent a DM to Twitter to Jack Effel asking if he would consider hiring me to run the WSOP Twitter account, and we worked out a deal. Seth Palansky was running the Twitter account previously and ran into a few situations where he wasn’t using the account for customer service reasons. I figured people respected me on Twitter so I offered to help me out and they went with it. [Read more…]

Live reporting the WSOP with Matthew Parvis

Live reporting the WSOP with Matthew Parvis

Matt ParvisThis month PokerNews were announced as the official live updates partner of the World Series of Poker after a two year hiatus. I used to work for PokerNews but since leaving them have for the most part been out of the live updates game, it’s something I simultaneously miss and never want to do again because it’s very exciting and very hard work. I was really interested to learn about how the live updates industry has changed since I left PokerNews, most notably because I feel that the ubiquity of live streams may have proved a disruptive force, so I caught up with my old boss Matthew Parvis to learn more.

BC: Congratulations on PokerNews deservedly becoming the official WSOP live updates partner. What made the WSOP come back to you guys after trying to handle it themselves in-house?

MP: We maintained a conversation over the past two years. When the WSOP shifted from being just a live event to also an online operator, it changed the commercial dynamic around what we as PokerNews could and couldn’t do. It made it more difficult for us to find sponsors to sponsor coverage for a competing operator.

Clearly there are benefits to PokerNews in terms of traffic, but there are benefits to the WSOP in terms of taking the strain off them managing the teams both on the grounds, and behind the scenes making sure the user experience is top notch. That’s something we talked to the WSOP about, after having done it I saw the pains and hurdles you have to jump through. We put our heads together and think it will be a win-win for everybody in poker. [Read more…]