According to Pokerscout online poker traffic has decreased for the 6th week in succession. In many parts of the poker world summer is on the way so this isn’t entirely surprising. The main concern is that, beyond this annual seasonal trend, traffic is down over 32% for most markets.
Music has been in this position for a long time too. Whereas the online boom is what popularised poker it is the ability to download gratis via the internet that has put the music business in a parlous state. The road to recovery for the music industry has been the live scene, and a return to that for poker could be what saves the game.
Just before the Irish Open next month iSeries LIVE will be hosting a 10 player tournament, featuring many of the games greats, where hole cards will be shown live and viewers will be able to bet on not just the winner but the winner of the next hand and next player to be eliminated among several other wagers.
The participants, who include Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and the Devilfish among their number, will be kept isolated and will be without mobile devices to prevent collusion and will, along with the the 1st prize payout of €100,000, receive a percentage of the betting revenue taken by sponsors Paddy Power.
Live poker still has a pretty good reputation these days, where you can be sure you’re playing who you think you’re playing, where you know your hole cards are your own business and where the online infestation of bots, fraudsters and colluders is mainly just an after thought.
When you look at the exotic destinations that the live world can provide, like Vegas, the Caribbean and countless other beautiful destinations around Europe and the rest of the world, not to mention the prize pools which generally still eclipse their online counterparts, internet play just doesn’t quite cut it anymore.
Apart from the real big hitters in the music industry nobody makes money from record sales anymore. All the big bucks come from live concerts and merchandise with albums almost being released as affiliate products rather than for direct profit themselves.
With all the problems that internet poker has, all the scandals and with products like Bingo capturing the imagination these days, a rethink, and a return to the live values and possibly something like the ISeries LIVE event might be what’s needed to breathe new life into online poker.