partypoker is being passed through to the back and the player pool is shrinking
The outlook looks bad for partypoker and the PartyGaming Network. Their own expectations might be very high, but reality shows a different picture. The number of players has been falling for months and, as a consequence, so has the currency of the big name, with partypoker increasingly taking a back seat. According to the latest information from pokersckout.com (as of May 31, 2021), there is now a 7-day average of just 800 cash game players. 888Poker and the iPoker Network have now overtaken the former giant, and the Winning Poker Network (WPN) is likely to do the same within the next couple of weeks, too. It also seems to be only a matter of time before Unibet is placed higher in this numbers pecking order than the oldest poker room in the world.
In 2017/2018 the major goal was to be the main rival of Pokerstars, but in 2021 Party is not even one of the top providers in the market. That cannot by any measure be considered a successful outcome for such a big name poker room, especially when we consider that not only Bwin is now part of the PartyGaming network, but also Ladbrokes and Coral. All very big names, and with lofty ambitions.
A big name alone is not enough for success
Party certainly hasn’t failed due to their name and reputation. So why is it going so badly? The product itself is very good and is particularly popular with professionals and more serious players, which brings us straight to the first point. Obviously, it is important that such players are happy, but there is a lack of balance between these and casual online poker fans. There is a fantastic rakeback programme, everything is transparent and there is nothing to complain about here. The software has also been revised and improved continually in recent years. But what’s the point of this if the tables are not full, and if 90% of them are regulars? Ultimately, the number of players is what proves to be decisive.
partypoker has the wrong strategy
A serious problem, and one of the main reasons for the drastic decline in the number of players, is the strategic orientation in terms of the global market. It was only in December 2020 that Entain announced that 99% of future activity would be in regulated markets, and that it would withdraw from all grey markets. Numerous countries have been excluded, and others will follow. The countries that have officially regulated online poker are manageable, and you harm only yourself if, in contrast to the competition, you withdraw from all countries where online poker is a grey area.
The way players from Germany are being deal with is questionable at best. New registrations from these players have been accepted since October 15, 2020, but no longer through affiliates – partypoker is the only provider on the market that has such a strategy. Other online poker rooms have either withdrawn completely from the German market or are still active there, and of course they still accept new registrations via affiliates. The surprising thing here is that the new German gaming law, which is due to come into force on July 1st, 2021, does not contain anything that prohibits new registrations via affiliates. Affiliates are a crucial factor in increasing a poker room’s player numbers, so this course of action is difficult to understand.
Prospects for the future
Frankly, the future does not look at all promising. Most of the competition is now better positioned, so it seems that a major rethink is urgently required, and that it will take a great deal of work and patience to steer the ship back to the right direction. The potential and the product are there, as are both the draw afforded by reputation and the trust of the players. What is decisive, however, is what happens in the background, and the strategic direction taken in the future.
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