Will GGPoker be Number 1 again in 2022, or will PokerStars return to the top spot?
2021 was a resounding success for GGPoker – they made the impossible come true by replacing Pokerstars at the top of the global pile. After many years at the top, Stars finally saw their dominance challenged and even overturned, but are they already regaining control of the position they enjoyed for so long?
A lot has changed since GGPoker made their mark. The daily rake races have seen reductions of 60%, PVI deductions are increasing, which in turn has a negative impact on players and affiliates. Players are justifiably confused – and sufficiently concerned – to ask us where this path might lead GGPoker in 2202. This question is not an easy one for us to answer, either, because we simply do not know; we’re not privy to GG’s plan.
It’s no secret that GGPoker’s focus is more on casual rather than professional players – this has always been the case, and will not change. Even if the hardened pros are, of course, always welcome, life will certainly not be made easier for them. So if you want to play there, you have to accept things as they are, even if they are anything but transparent and optimal.
It’s easy to see how Pokerstars could regain their place at the top
Even if GGPoker is becoming increasingly popular, there are still numerous countries where GG is yet to become established as a major name in the online poker industry. Indeed, it will take some time before they enjoy the same level of awareness and status as Pokerstars. It’s true that we can level questions at Stars about a number of key decisions in the past, especially during the last three or four years, and that there have been consequences that were detrimental to the poker community. However, when it comes to transparency and security, there was never anything troubling with Pokerstars. Moreover, a positive rethink seems to have taken place regarding various aspects, one such leading to their actively approaching the big affiliates and finally refraining from the 0% rakeback policy, instead offering up to 65% rakeback. It has to be mentioned that this is real, genuine rakeback – the $1 rake remains $1 rake, and there is no PVI (as there is with the GGNetwork).
When it comes to Germany, GG has done itself a disservice and made the worst decision of any online poker room in the case of dealing with the new 5% tax. Also, as the only provider, they have decided not to respect existing deals for players before July 1st, 2022, and no longer pay the affiliates any commission. These two facts have contributed enormously in reducing traffic from Germany so drastically to the point it’s as good as dead which, in one of the strongest markets in the world, is disastrous.
Although GGPoker is a fantastic poker room, with unique, forward-thinking software and 24/7 full tables, many players are currently being drawn to other poker rooms once again, simply because they are dissatisfied with the continuous deterioration, especially with regard to the PVI issue.
A forecast for 2022…
Much will depend on whether there are further negative changes, specifically in relation to the more ambitious players (e.g. those recreational players who are starting to take the game more seriously) and professionals, and also on cooperation with the big affiliates. From YPD’s perspective, we can only hope that GG will recognize the difference between bad and good affiliates. In order to keep the number of players high, and to continue to be supplied with enough new players – especially from certain countries – the big affiliates are of great importance. Pure rakeback affiliates will certainly have a hard time, as they actually only serve winning players, and are very unhealthy for the overall ecology of the network.
Dealing with professional players will also be crucial. Everyone should know by now that the players who spend hours at the tables day after day are the reason why tables are always full and that there is always action. In addition, it is precisely these players who earn the big rake and who generate business. It follows, then, that there’s a balance to be found at which it’s not too easy for ‘sharks’ but, in order not to alienate such serious players, not too difficult for them, either.
A little more transparency, and possibly a lower limit for the PVI of a minimum of 0.5-0.6 (which is also available in the iPoker network) might be a good start that will satisfy many players. It would be easier to come to terms with the system if there were at least clear guidelines and it was reasonably transparent. Only iPoker has a similar system (called SBR), and this is much more understandable and better than GG’s version. All other online poker rooms evaluate in a normal way, and a player’s rake is 100% for the VIP system, rakeback/cashback or for the affiliates.
Meanwhile, GG will certainly host various WSOP tournament series again, which is guaranteed to attract attention. It is also to be expected at some point that new variants will be conjured up; when it comes to surprises and innovations, there is no poker room that comes close to GGPoker. The same applies to the poker software and user-friendly functions, with GG clearly ahead of the competition. There will certainly be further improvements to the software that will be positively received by the community.
It is a given that only GGPoker will be involved in a fight for the top spot with Pokerstars. They’re considerably ahead of their rivals. It is not insignificant that Pokerstars pulled out of a number of countries in 2021, whereas GGPoker remained active, which is an advantage. The Asian market in particular is a trump card for GG, and a big plus in their claim for the crown. Indeed it is fair to say that without this advantage in the form of additional traffic they wouldn’t be competing so robustly with Pokerstars, whose level of awareness, especially in Europe, is definitely superior at the moment. The goal for GG must therefore be to improve on this front in 2022, and with it to become more universally known and, in turn, an established name in keeping with that of a global leader.