Partypoker has serious intentions to enter the new EU shared liquidity market by launching in Portugal, re-launching in Italy and make different changes at their poker product in France and Spain. For players in Spain and France, a competitor to PokerStars can´t come soon enough.
Last month, the leader PokerStars became the fist online poker operator who took advantage of the new shared liquidity agreement between Spain, France, Italy and Portugal so far. Only the spanish and french regulators had got their act together in time ans thats why for the moment the shared player pool initially consisted of just French and Spanish players.
It did not really take a long time and the shared liquidity player pool was swamped with players from around the world.
French and Spanish Players Unhappy
A lot of french and spanish tax paying players are very unhappy with the situation, with the amount of money being taken out of the shared liquidity pool by non-tax paying players.
The amount of money being taken out of the shared liquidity pool has also confirmed fears expressed in Italy last year, that a pan-European market would see a one-way flow of money from weaker poker playing nations to stronger poker-playing nations.
Lack of Competition
It is a fact that PokerStars is the only operator in the pan European market. Because of this PokerStars has the possibility to charge more rake and pay lower rewards and rakeback. While this may not necessarily be true, if players feel this way, it may result in them abandoning the shared liquidity market and returning to more beatable offshore sites.
Everybody expected that the french poker site Winamax could be the biggest competitor for PokerStars. Until now they have only the liquidity license for France and not yet to operate in Spain, Italy or Portugal. The online poker site 888Poker has licenses to operate in Spain and Italy and it seems they want to focus mainly on the Italian market at present with no apparent movement towards France or Portugal.
Party Poker as solution and new competitor?
If we look at the regulated online poker market in Europe, it appears that PartyPoker is the last hope to become a serious competitor to PokerStars. However, according to a post on the 2+2 forum, the site is planning to make some real actions in the near future.
The post, written by Party Poker rep Collette Stewart, answers a question about whether the site intends to unify its French and Spanish platforms by stating “it will happen in the coming months” and will include also the countries Italy and Portugal. And now comes the important news for a lot of players, because in a later post, Stewart implies that a pan-European Party Poker platform will be limited to only residents of the four countries and not to players from the rest of the world.
Party Poker might just have a winning strategy on their hands, one that would be very much appreciate by players for whom a competitor to PokerStars can´t come soon enough.
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