For many online poker players in Asia, partypoker is set to become obsolete. Choice is an important commodity for consumers in any market and so we should all lament the news delivered to Asian players this week. As the primary competitor to the online poker industry’s biggest brand, partypoker’s announced exit from a large portion of the Asian market cedes important ground to PokerStars. This may yet present Asian players with long-term ramifications, but even in the short-term, the limitation of choice is certainly not positive.
Partypoker announces its exit from Asian countries
At the end of last week, Asian players received emails from partypoker informing them of the cessation of operations in certain countries within Asia.
The email read, “We have had a lot of fun together at partypoker, however from Monday 12th August we will be closing our doors”.
The email went on to explain that all services would cease on August 12th but that players could continue to withdraw their funds after this date and unused bonuses and tickets would be converted to cash.
With partypoker already having withdrawn from Thailand a few months ago, player reports suggest that now, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Japan are also countries in which partypoker no longer operates. No comprehensive list of excluded nations has been provided yet, though.
The fact that partypoker also has no presence in the Chinese and Indian market puts the brand out of the Asian online poker scene almost entirely.
partypoker’s different strategy compared to other networks
PokerStars continues to stick by a strategy of operating in almost all of Asia, including China where the legal situation is especially sensitive and unclear. The brand has also been officially launched in India in April 2018.
Its heavy presence in Asian countries has come through branded tours such as APPT and live poker rooms like PokerStars Live Manila. This extensive visibility and brand exposure to players in Asia has helped PokerStars to gain an overwhelming advantage over its competition in Asia, which makes partypoker’s decision to withdraw and easier one to make.
PokerStars is not the only company successfully operating in Asia of course, with GGNetwork and skins like Natural8 also building a successful platform through the Asian market and gaining strength in the countries partypoker is now leaving, which could provide a further boost to GGNetwork.
Among the possible reasons for partypoker’s decision is the fact that the company that owns partypoker is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is part of the FTSE 250 Index. This provides more pressure on partypoker to ensure that it is fully compliant with regulations in all countries in which they operate, ensuring that people can feel safe investing in the company.
Alternatives in Asia?
PokerStars is the biggest alternative, that much is clear. For those who are looking for something a bit different however, GGNetwork provides a solid option as we have already mentioned, with Bodog88 also being competitive in what it can offer players. In addition, games on private apps like Upoker remain an interesting option, especially in Cash Games.
These options ensure that there is still a reasonable array of options for those wishing to play poker in Asia and there is no cause for panic. partypoker may have stepped aside, which is a step backwards in terms of choice, but other online options could yet strengthen their player traffic as a result.
If you are based in Asia and are looking for alternatives to partypoker, contact our team for a tailor-made recommendation.
Article by Craig Bradshaw