What We Want to See in 2015
So, 2014 has been and gone, and what a year it was! Following on from our comprehensive review of the year that was, we now start to look ahead: to think about the things we’d like to see from the world of mobile poker – and the wider poker community – throughout 2015. We’ve come up with five different points that we’d like the big sites to consider, as we think that they’d benefit the poker community hugely, but you probably have other ideas to add to the discussion! If so, please leave a comment and have your say on the way the industry should develop!
So, without any further ado, let’s get started on the Droid Poker 2015 wish list, beginning with something we’ve talked about for a while…
1. More Variety for Mobile Players
If you head to a mobile poker site, there is one type of poker you are almost guaranteed to find dominating the table listings: Texas Hold ‘Em – and for good reason. Texas Hold ‘Em is without doubt the most popular form of poker out there, and the game that most people want to play. But the issue is this: after a while, you fancy a change; the chance to excel in a different area; a new poker playing challenge. So what do you do? Unfortunately, not much if you happen to play at many sites offering just Texas Hold ‘Em to their players.
So, we’d like to see the main sites offering different styles of poker to their players. Sure, adding Omaha or Razz might not be a massive money-spinner, but it will bring mobile poker more in line with its online alternative. Tony G has started the process rolling by launching TonyBet, which is the only mobile site offering players the chance to play Open Face Chinese Poker, but it needs other sites to follow suit. At the moment, only PokerStars offers much variety and, as you’ll see further down, other sites need to start challenging their dominance.
2. Bring Back American Players
The question of Americans playing poker using online devices – whether they are laptops or mobiles – is one that dominated the news columns of many poker sites in 2014. The reasons why they can’t play are long and, quite frankly, quite tedious, so we aren’t going to go into them here. What we will say is this though: poker is huge in the USA, and losing American players is something that massively affected the world of online poker. Various states in the US are now trying to reintroduce online gambling, but the process is going far too slowly, in our opinion.
In all fairness, the different poker companies can’t be blamed for this, as they are trying as hard as they can to bring American players back to the market – even if only due to the financial implications it would have. So, this aspect of our wish list is directed towards all of the policymakers and politicians in the USA (surely Obama visits Droid Poker?). Please hurry up and drop your outdated and politically fuelled law and let your citizens enjoy the game of poker online once again!
3. Pressure on PokerStars
There comes a point in most industries where one player simply gets too big, and that is starting to happen in the poker industry. PokerStars is now massive and dominates the poker scene, boasting more players per day than the rest of the top 10 sites combined. While we can’t fault them for this – surely they are doing many things right if so many people play there – it is a worry. This is because they can now seemingly do as they please, without the risk of damaging themselves too badly. You will perhaps cite the downturn in traffic they suffered in the latter part of last year as evidence against this, but they don’t seem to have done too badly since…
Instead, look at what Amaya did shortly after purchasing them. They increased the rake fees throughout the site, making it more expensive for everyone to play. Just before this, they also tinkered with their exchange rates, ensuring that they benefitted when players changed between currencies at the site. If they had some more competition for players, they might have thought twice about upsetting those at their site. 888Poker seems like the best bet to be the site to challenge PokerStars, but it would be good to see the iPoker Network step up its game as well during 2015.
4. More Social Media Interaction
What do people use their mobile phones for? Socialising! So why not combine the social powers of mobile phones with the talking points of poker? Let’s face it: nobody really bothers with the chat aspects of mobile poker, because it’s quite simply too fiddly and takes the focus away from the game. But what if you could integrate the game with platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, boasting about your big wins and sobbing over your bad beats as the game is in progress? A quick button to share your hand details with friends is all we are asking for…
It’s not like implementing some social features would damage a poker site either – spreading the word about the thrills and spills found playing mobile poker would only serve to increase the number of players signing up to their site. Of course, measures would need to be in place to ensure people don’t use social media to cheat, but poker sites have enough money to put systems in place to prevent this. So, mobile poker sites: join the social media revolution and add yet more fun to the world of poker!
5. More Women in Poker
In 2014, Victoria Coren Mitchell became the first player ever to win two European Poker Tour titles. While this is a massive achievement, perhaps the biggest aspect to the story is this: it was a woman who achieved it. Hopefully this has shown other women that poker is a place for everyone, and not just testosterone fuelled males looking to show their dominance over other testosterone fuelled males. The fact is this: there are many great female poker players out there, but they are still under-represented in the game. We need more women to play, for the good of the game as a whole.
Two things will help this to happen. The first is more promotion from poker sites aimed at women. PokerStars have their own excellent initiative for this, imaginatively called PokerStars Women, but other sites need to follow suit. The other way to get more women playing is to promote mobile poker, as it is the most convenient way for busy people to play. Wherever you are, there’s always a game to play, which is perfect for busy career women, female students, or mothers who are rushed off their feet. So, let’s make poker a more inclusive place, where everyone can play and enjoy everything that poker can offer!
How many of the above points will be realised during 2015? The truthful answer is that we have no idea. What you can be sure of though is that we’ll be bringing you all the news about the latest developments in mobile poker throughout the year, so you can be the most informed player at your table!
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