Online Poker Industry News: partypoker revamps MILLION; GGPoker Biometric Face ID log-in; PokerStars overhauls Home Games; Spain’s promotion restrictions lifted

In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.

Revamping the partypoker MILLION

partypoker million

The partypoker major event, the $215 partypoker MILLION, had been reinstated after a 13-year hiatus in November 2019 to compete with PokerStars online flagship tournament “Sunday Million”.

However, the poker community did not take up on the offer as expected and the event had overlays in six consecutive weeks, totalling over $600k.

As overlays are often a strategy to get players to the tables, this result for partypoker might not be as big of a shocker as one might think, as long as it’s inside the marketing budget, of course.

But this doesn’t mean that tweaking the event to make it more popular would be out of the question. With its phased Day 1s the partypoker MILLION had never been a direct copy of PokerStars’ Sunday Million anyway and its structure had never been written in stone.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that partypoker now announced several adjustments to their Sunday major event, which is not on a Sunday any longer:

  • Each week there is only one Day 1 per day at 8:30 BST (19:30 CEST)
  • The final day of the tournament is now on Mondays
  • Real names will be displayed at the tables throughout the tournament

It remains to be seen if these changes will bring the desired results now that Sundays are freed up for Stars and GGPoker and partypoker sets out to own Mondays.

Biometric Face ID log-in on GGPoker?

Bio Metrics

While some poker sites focus on copying what has been proven successful on other sites, one operator keeps shining through as innovative and less risk-averse when it comes to their product: GGPoker.

GGPoker also is not afraid of copycats and shares some ideas and areas of exploration on a public Trello board. In the case of Face ID log-in they are asking players for thoughts and feedback, for example.

Generally many of us use Face ID as means of logging into banking websites and other apps already and we do trust our phone and app designers for the most part to treat our data confidentially. It’s the old discussion about and conflict between convenience and privacy. Do we REALLY want to type in our password every time we want to use an app?

Isn’t typing in the password just as vulnerable as showing your face? But it’s your FACE. The fear of identity theft is real and understandable.

So, if we trust the phone technology companies, do we also trust the online poker apps? There might be a leap here that many users are not comfortable with. On the flip side, having mandatory face log-ins could mean more security for the greater community. It could reduce the use of bots, multi-accounting or underaged gambling.

GGPoker wouldn’t be the first poker company to allow Face ID sign up on their mobile app, so they are not on the ultimate innovative frontline here. Making this topic a public discussion, however, is a nice tone by the company that includes customers and the industry as a whole.

PokerStars and the Home Games

PokerStarshonegame

The story is almost like a long lost fairytale from a land far far away, of PokerStars and the difficult love-hate relationship with an almost decade-old product. Home Games has been one of the most neglected children on Stars for years and it might finally be able to break through and shine as it was always meant to.

Just before Black Friday, Home Games was introduced to service U.S. poker players to set up their private games online, for the times when they couldn’t make it to physically meet up at the kitchen table or in the man cave. But with the fall of the U.S. market in 2011, Home Games was shoved into a little chamber high up in a tower, difficult to reach for desperate princes that were just looking for some fun times.

Even the rise of Twitch and a lot of efforts from streamers to set Home Games free, could not do the trick.

And just as the Corona crisis induced online poker boom recedes PokerStars finally gives some attention to the neglected beauty in the tower and feeds it with some new features like the ability to create PKO tournaments, more mixed games and novelty formats like Fusion. Setting up games is supposedly easier now and the most asked feature has finally been included: Home Games on mobile!

Many of the changes will be introduced in stages and if these will be enough to free Home Games and allow it to become a princess or even a queen remains to be seen.

The fairytale analogy was awkward, sorry. But to be clear, Home Games on Stars always had the potential to be big, no MASSIVE, even without the U.S. market. We can only hope that it’s not too little too late and this product can finally deliver the poker community what it has been asking for for so many years.

Spain back to spreading ads about gambling

During the Corona crisis Spain had put measures into place to protect their stay-at-home citizens from excessive gambling by blacking out the promotion of gambling for two months.

Two community sites, Poker10 and the Spanish PokerListings, shut down for the time being. Sites like these are built on advertising strategies and rely on the ad revenue. Some sites managed to keep operating without any ads displayed in their content. Poker-Red and the Spanish PokerNews kept staying afloat this way.

All real money online poker operators were allowed to keep offering games, just without any advertising or promotion.

Last week these restrictions were finally lifted and even the sites that temporarily shut down are finding back to normal.

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Christin Maschmann

Besides being a passionate poker player Christin Maschmann has been working in different functions in the poker industry for over a decade. She worked as a Content & Community Manager for the poker school IntelliPoker, wrote articles for the PokerStars Blog and appeared as a host on the German poker show PokerToday. Christin is professionally trained in video and audio editing and creates content for YouTube, Social Media and iTunes. She also wrote a book about her experiences in Las Vegas.

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