Is It Time for Live Poker Rooms to Give New Ideas a Spin?

5 months ago
Is It Time for Live Poker Rooms to Give New Ideas a Spin?
22 May

Poker is a social game, that’s why millions of people play. Since the poker boom of the early noughties, the overall number of players has increased. However, like all industries, poker can’t rest on its laurels. If it’s going to continue thriving, the industry as a whole needs to constantly attract fresh blood. Over the last two decades, online poker sites have done this by diversifying and catering to different tastes. Through a combination of innovations and collaborations, online operators have found news ways to engage new audiences. 

The Evolution of Online Poker Sites

If you look at modern online poker rooms, alternative betting options abound. For example, slots are almost as numerous as MTTs now. Why? Because they’re popular and cater to a variety of tastes. Even if slots lack the skill element that poker has, many people still find them entertaining. For instance, when a customer goes to play online slots at Betsafe, they’re greeted by a plethora of options. 

From classic themes to movie tributes, jackpot games and crossover innovations like Slingo Extreme, the choice is endless. By offering fun for everyone, operators are catering to the widest audience possible. As well as helping to attract more consumers, games such as slots have been used as drivers for poker. When an operator adds casino games, sports betting or any other alternative to their site, it gives non-poker players a reason to join. Then, from there, they may be tempted to try poker. 

Giving New Ideas a Spin

Bricks-and-mortar casinos are always looking for new ways to get people into the poker room and they get some inspiration from the online sector. Perhaps the greatest lesson offline poker rooms can learn from their digital counterparts is how to attract casual players. Although casinos at large embrace this idea, many poker rooms are still somewhat insular. In other words, it’s all about poker and nothing else. But in a time when online poker sites are diversifying, bricks-and-mortar venues can’t stay the same. 

Of course, we’re not saying offline poker rooms aren’t open to everyone, they are. However, because they’re often tucked away from a casino’s main gaming floor, it almost feels as though you have to be an experienced poker player to go in. Of the 42 million people who visit Las Vegas each year, the average holidaymaker may want to try their hand at poker for a bit of fun. However, the thought of going into a poker room can be intimidating for novices.

Are Slots an Ace in the Hole?

Although some are willing to sit down and play, poker rooms like the Bellagio or Venetian in Las Vegas are filled with pros. Even a beginner knows that playing with someone more experienced will be tricky. Therefore, poker room managers need new ways to get people through the door.  

If slots don't suit, the natural alternative is video poker. Famous poker pros such as Allen Kessler are known to enjoy the likes of Jacks or Better and, much like Texas Hold'em et al, there's an element of skill to these games. What's more, they'd take up minimal space within the poker room. Could this idea be taken even further than slots and video poker? Would blackjack, baccarat and other card games suit? Practically, the answer would be no. Blackjack works in the sense that there's some element of skill involved. 

However, adding too many games would simply make the poker room an extension of the casino floor. The key to success with ideas like this is subtlety. You want to offer something extra but not damage the spirit of the poker room. Video poker suits because it uses many of the same rules as poker. Slots share almost no traits with poker. However, they are compact, offer fast action and are fun. Even though poker players like to rely on skill, they still enjoy this type of entertainment. So, in this regard, slots and video poker could be viable options. 

Overall, the point to keep in mind is that live poker rooms should follow the lead of their online counterparts. But, if they do, any innovations need to preserve the integrity of the poker room and ensure it doesn't become a mini version of the casino gaming floor.

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Writer and semi-retired poker pro from Edinburgh (UK).Read more


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