The opportunity for affiliates in marketing around live poker tournaments

I WAS RECENTLY re-reading a piece of editorial concerning live poker that I’d written for this magazine’s sister publication, iGaming Business, and I must admit that I may have made a slight misrepresentation in declaring “Online poker players dream about taking on poker pros, at a real poker game, at a real poker table in a casino”. I must apologise to all the poker players out there and will use this platform to rectify my statement: most poker players actually see themselves as pros, or at least experienced players and they will take to live action as ducks to water, to play other pros. Of course, I am being flippant but, many a true word...

Live value

One of my online clients recently tasked me with the organisation of a live poker tournament, to increase... you guessed it, their online presence. Part of the marketing strategy concerns ‘involving’ affiliates in the promotion of the live poker tournament as much as the online satellites. Hence, after a few meetings with the pillars of this industry (that’s you guys, the affiliates), I realised two things. Firstly, the number of live poker tournaments makes it affordable for the average Joe to play a few tournaments per year without the need to fly off to Vegas every time. Secondly, every poker player that makes a placement (the size and prestige of it is largely irrelevant, what matters is to be in-the-money) thinks of himself/herself as a pro. Once that has been achieved, they are hooked to the game and the ‘fame’ that comes with it. Live poker becomes a hobby and in some cases a part-time job.

We now find an interesting phenomenon around this new generation of semi-pros - an entourage of friends, affiliates, coaches, etc, all whole-heartedly supporting their guy’s poker career and defending and debating the performance as if it were their own. Therefore, when it comes to the online side of things, bad beats are no longer bad beats, but rather something conjured from above, anomalies worth a public enquiry or the involvement of scientists from the CERN laboratory (there is only so much particle acceleration you can do), or perhaps even the whispered rumour that the software is just not right leading to the assertion that “this would never happen on a live table”. I have heard this statement hundreds of times and, although it totally ignores the different pace of both games (which makes it very unlikely to recreate an online situation in an offline game), it does, without any shadow of a doubt, add more value to live poker and clearly demonstrates where it stands in the public eye.
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