Recruting poker players

This article was posted on September 3, 2007

Since the very beginning of the online poker phenomenon, it became obvious that it would surpass live poker by far, for a number of reasons.

Because of the fact that online poker rooms are based on the internet, and thus their target population is that of the whole world, player numbers in online and in real poker cannot be a subject to a comparison. While a couple hundred players are already a huge crowd in a brick and mortar poker room, in online poker, they're hardly noteworthy. It's all about volume and quantity there. Because of the aforementioned fact, online poker rooms can afford to give their players benefits no real poker room could ever dream of, which results in an even bigger influx of new players.

There's no doubt about it: in the online poker industry, players represent the single resource that will make the difference between fabulous riches and mere rags. We all know how much competition there is today among the many poker rooms that sprung up as a result of the popularity-explosion poker has seen in the last few years. What that competition boils down to though, is basically a battle for the hearts and minds of online poker players. The room which manages to draw the most players, will most certainly thrive, as others - less successful - barely struggle along.

The tools the poker rooms use to draw in customers are virtually limitless. This whole process starts with the look and the feel of the software. Some poker rooms go through a lot of trouble just to create a client that is absolutely unique, and which will offer players features they won't be able to find anywhere else. Sign-up and first-deposit bonuses are likewise, aimed at bringing in as much player traffic as possible, albeit their flaws are more and more obvious these days.

More potent weapons are the rakeback and cashback offes that certain poker rooms employ, and which offer players a constant long-term edge. While a first-deposit bonus will only fulfill its purpose during its redemption, a rakeback or a cashback offer will act as a continuous motivation for the player to improve and to play more.

The success of these new recruiting tools prompted the appearance of the ultimate weapon in online poker player recruiting: affiliate systems and networks. An affiliate is a website (in itself a separate entity) which promotes a poker room and its various offers, in exchange for a share of the revenue generated by the players recruited.

A rakeback affiliate will send players to a certain online poker room, (by presenting its rakeback offer in a simple and attractive way) and it will make sure that the rake rebate due, reaches the player. This is quite an intricate operation, as the rakeback site will have to receive the agreed amount of rakeback from the poker room, and distribute it to its players each and every month, withholding the percentage which makes up its affiliate commission.

Players can be recruited via more conventional means too: by running Television ads, posting simple banners on websites, and so forth and so on. The efficiency of such advertising campaigns depends on many factors though. The general popularity of the game, supported by televised events such as the WPT, or High Stakes poker, is also something the poker industry benefits from - in terms of player traffic - as a whole.

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