Partypoker’s expectations are high, but the reality tells another story
Partypoker’s ambitions are unbelievably high, but development during the last two years is disappointing. The goal was to gradually close the gap with industry leader, PokerStars, but in fact the difference between the two has grown. Meanwhile, GGPoker is now the closest rival to PokerStars and, according to pokerscout.com, currently has almost five times as many cash game players as partypoker.
PokerStars currently has a 7-day average of 8,000 players, GGPoker has 5,400 and partypoker trails considerably with just 1,150 players. Even the iPoker network has now overtaken them in terms of Cash game players, with 1,250 at their tables. 888Poker and WPN come next, but it would not be a surprise to see these also overtake Party.
One could have expected the PartyGaming Network to evolve. With Bwin there is a very big name on which to capitalise, while the respected Ladbrokes and CoralPoker have also joined the fold. All big reputations with an incredible amount of potential.
What is the reason for partypoker’s lack of success?
One of the main contributory factors to the problems at partypoker is the strategic direction of Entain, the parent company. At the end of 2020 it was decided that the company would withdraw from almost all unregulated markets, opting to be almost exclusively involved with with regulated markets in the future. In Europe, for example, it hit Poland and Norway, where residents have not been eligible to play since mid-December. Consequently, this decision had a noticeable effect on player numbers.
The impact on German players is also negative. Due to the upcoming gaming law change in Germany, new registrations from players who come through an affiliate have not been accepted since October 15, and all promotions/rake races for German players have been removed. The German online gambling market is one of the most robust in the world, so these latest developments will clearly negatively influence traffic at partypoker.
To make matters worse, for months there have been various problems and delays in the background that hitherto had not existed. Furthermore, the rule shortening certain (3-year-plus) affiliate deals with players hasn’t helped, either, the result being to limit what can be offered, thus reducing motivation and causing many players to switch to another poker room. The importance of affiliates has been greatly underestimated – a mistake similar to those seen at 888 and PokerStars.
Fortunately for partypoker, they have a very good and transparent product
Partypoker actually has a very good product and is very player-oriented, which is well received by the community. The software has been improved several times and there is a fantastic rakeback programme as well as interesting promotions and rake races.
The provider effectively has everything typical players need except, unfortunately, enough traffic at all limits. Those who play only at the lower stakes won’t notice this problem, but as the stakes increase, so the active player pool decreases, and at the higher limits in particular the numbers are very limited, depending on the time. To compound the problem, when you do find action you could be surrounded by professional players. This is a result of having an offer for players that is more geared towards professionals than poker hobbyists.
While the potential for partypoker is huge, thanks to Entain’s current strategy there are doubts that much will happen over the course of the next few months. Indeed, an urgent rethink regarding certain key aspects might be in order to avoid the number of players dwindling even further.