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Late last month, PokerScout began tracking IDNPoker, a Manila-based network that exclusively serves Asian market countries.
Its debut ranking: number three, and it has since climbed ahead of 888 Poker into the number two slot.
Information regarding IDNPoker and its provider IDNPlay is somewhat sparse.
What information we have ascertained was gathered from PokerScout’s twice-weekly analysis publication, the Scouting Report.
Namely, IDNPoker is not a new network. According to the Scouting Report it’s been on the scene for more than a half-decade:
“The Manila-based network launched [six] years ago in Indonesia and was popular right from the start, according to IDNPlay CEO Daniel Alexis. IDN recently expanded into China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, with China in particular showing impressive growth.”
The Scouting Report also indicates that the network consists of “several hundred” member sites, of which the largest appears to be ShenPoker.com.
A partial listing of network skins can be found here.
From what we could gather, the game selection on IDNPoker is extensive, spanning both industry staples and games popular in Asian markets.
In addition to traditional and “fast” No Limit Hold’em games, the site offers Capsa Susun, which is a variant of Chinese Poker. Two domino games, Q-Kick and Ceme, are also available.
According to the Scouting Report, collectively, these non-hold’em variants “draw traffic comparable to but not quite on the level of the network’s Texas Hold’em traffic.” That’s saying something, considering that PokerScout shows the network averaging 3,400 poker players.
The interface, although somewhat antiquated, is no worse for the wear than 888 Poker, or nearly any other site that doesn’t brandish the PokerStars logo.
Other features include:
One particularly interesting feature of note: IDNPoker supports Live Dealer Poker, although it appears this format has yet to catch on.
Per the Scouting Report:
“IDN also offers the option to play poker with a live dealer via webcam, although the liquidity in those games is minimal.”
The inclusion of IDNPoker on PokerScout arguably represents the biggest shakeup to the cash game rankings in recent years.
Granted, PokerStars still holds a nearly four-to-one lead over IDNPoker. But IDN is soundly defeating 888 Poker, which had held the number two position for the greater part of four years.
Furthermore, IDNPoker’s cash game traffic is currently equal to the traffic counts of the fourth through sixth place sites/networks (Winamax, Ignition, and Party Poker) combined.
That being said, IDN’s traffic figures should come coupled with an asterisk, in that game stakes prevalence is heavily weighted toward the lower end, more so than it is on Western sites. As per the Scouting Report:
“A majority of the network’s liquidity is in the “small” and “smallest” stakes, ranging from 50/100 to 500/1000 IDR (approximately $0.004/$0.008 to $0.04/$0.08).”
In other words a fair segment of the community is playing at stakes that are smaller than the tiniest micros currently spread ($0.01/$0.02) in Western countries. PokerScout suggests that this has something to do with the site’s top market, Indonesia, having “a per capita GDP under 4,000 USD.”
However, active stakes do run as high as 50k/100k IDR (approximately $4/$8), with even higher stakes offered — up to roughly $16/$32.
It would appear so.
From the Scouting Report:
“IDNPlay appears to be very intent on keeping player-run bots off the network. In addition to the standard Captcha-style authentication, another level of bot-defeating verification is required simply to log in.”
The sign-up process is also quite the chore. In addition to their email, phone and full name, players are required to enter their full banking information, and a captcha.
Users that do not supply banking information from an eligible bank (Asian banks only) cannot download the client. Therefore, VPNing in to the site from a Western country appears at the very least, difficult.
The site has also received RNG Certification from BMM Compliance Singapore Pte Ltd for its hold’em games.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that if there is to be another online poker boom, its origins will be in Asia.
The now public numbers from IDNPoker should only serve to inspire Western-serving operators, namely PokerStars, to double down on their efforts.
We’ve witnessed glimpses of Stars’ willingness to incorporate Asian markets as part of its growth strategy already:
That said, anecdotical evidence suggests that PokerStars only generates a sprinkling of its industry-leading traffic from China and Japan.
Suffice it to say, there is still much work to be done before Western sites capture the billions of Asian-market residents.