View the summit’s full agenda here.
As panel moderator, I had the honor of surveying four very active members of both the PocketFives community forums, and of the Garden State’s online poker scene in general: Andrew Balok, Blake Havekes, Jack King and Dennis Lopez.
Listed below are my five key takeaways from the panel. Taken together, these highlights should provide greater clarity into what problems need to be addressed before market growth can be achieved.
It was the general consensus of the players that the forthcoming entry of Paypal and PokerStars into the market will help to increase liquidity via strengthened awareness.
Some key points of the discussion surrounding PayPal:
.. and some concerning PokerStars:
Reintroducing two of the biggest pre-Black Friday companies into the mix could hail a significant upturn for online poker in 2015.
The participants concurred that the industry’s cross-promotional efforts are severely lacking, and offered valuable suggestions on how they could be improved:
Case in point: Not a single one of the panel’s very active online players had their My Borgata Rewards or Total Rewards card rank matched to their online loyalty tier.
Based on their comments, I’m under the impression that they either didn’t know a tier match is available, or tried to upgrade, only to be told that the parameters were more rigid than they were initially led to believe.
As per the panelists, the industry’s mobile online poker offerings have been met with widespread apathy. Some explanations:
Conversely, due to the pick-up-and-play and virtually thoughtless nature of casino games, the panelists appeared somewhat inclined to fire up a mobile casino app when either running errands or participating in other mundane activities.
But being the bankroll savvy players that they are, they generally refrain from playing casino games for significant sums or extended periods of time.
Allow me to preface by saying that both the panel and I agreed that geolocation is much improved since last winter.
To what extent is difficult to quantify, but improved nonetheless.
Customer service, however, is not.
And, especially given Ultimate Poker’s departure from the market, the panelists agreed that their willingness to engage a CS rep is at an all-time low.
A few highlights:
As a result, the panelists now refrain from contacting customer service altogether, reasoning that the aggravation isn’t worth the off-chance that their issues will be suitably resolved.
According to data gathered from PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout, 7-day cash game averages across all NJ-based iPoker sites currently sits at just over 300. During peak hours, a total of 750-800 players can be expected to be found playing cash online.
While that may sound reasonably impressive, since January player liquidity has stumbled nearly 50%.
To put matters into perspective, consider that:
… the state’s poker ecology was twice as healthy than it is today.
How long can we use the half-baked excuse that the lack of market growth can be directly attributed to New Jersey’s population size?
It was the general belief that the market can double or even triple in size, but not without increased awareness, improved communication between player and operator, and liquidity-focused incentives.
Otherwise, the industry runs the risk of continuing to cede players faster than it can acquire them.