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Fast-fold poker takes a grip on the poker industry, InsidePokerBusiness

Fast-fold poker takes a grip on the poker industry, InsidePokerBusiness | Poker & eGaming News |

There's no doubt that the fast fold poker certainly makes for a good business model. Per Hildebrand, founder of InstaDeal which offers Speed Poker as either a complete network solution or back office integration explains how the rake increase is substantial. 'Players are dealt 3-5 times more hands per hour compared to traditional online poker,' he says. 'Needless to say the rake revenues become substantial and can be compared to every player multi-tabling at your site.'


Hildebrand believes the format is the key to unlocking the recreational market. 'The recreational player's biggest mistake is to play too many weak starting hands,' says Hildebrand. 'This is usually because of boredom even though he may realise it's a bad long-term strategy. As he is dealt a new hand within seconds when playing Insta-deal, there is no longer a need for that type of player to “play every hand”.' And because players join a 'pool' and not a specific table, the 'bum-hunting' favoured by many a shark is no longer a legitimate strategy. 'Players can't chase players they wish to play with,' adds Hildebrand.


Lee Jones, PokerStars Home Games manager points to the stats from extensive Zoom beta test conducted in March and April which saw an astounding 300 million hands dealt. At one point, reported that 25% of all cash games on PokerStars were being dealt on Zoom.


'It's a very simple concept, as the best ideas often are,' says Lydia Melton, Microgaming's head of network games. Because of the speed and excitement it may be more attractive to new poker players (including casino players) than other variants have proved to be in the past.'


But playing four times the hands also opens up the ability to multiply the bad decisions by four. And if the game is marketed at the casual player, it's safe to assume that there will be more bad decisions than good in the mix. In other words, casual players could also lose four times quicker than normal. It's a conundrum that Cutler's been wrestling with. 'If you've got a casual player who throws €40-50 a months at poker and they play usually about seven days in that period, then he could also easily burn through that €50 in a very short period of time,' he says.


For industry analyst Kim Lund, the deeper flaw with fast-fold lies in its unrealised potential. 'It's a huge step forward for online poker but so far we've only seen the most obvious application: do everything as before, just enable players to play more hands,' he says.


Lund says he'd like to see a more imaginative use of the underlying technology. Given his involvement with not too dissimilar products like Playhem Poker, Lund is reluctant to reveal how he would evolve the technology, but fully believes that if operators and developers start thinking outside the box, issues such as speed of losing won't be a problem. 'Loss speed is a very conceptual idea,' he says. 'The speed at which someone is losing say $20 is likely not the main reason why in the short-term they decide to reload or not. Change the fun factor and you can get away with an increase in loss speed.'


But Cutler is confident that could all be about to change. 'Where fast-poker really becomes a champion is in the mobile arena. That really is the true power of fast poker,' he says. 'Cash games and tournaments are too slow for the kinds of sessions associated with mobile usage and fast fold removes that issue.'


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Unleashing Playhem by Kim Lund, Inside Poker Business

Unleashing Playhem by Kim Lund, Inside Poker Business | Poker & eGaming News |

According to Lund, Playhem Poker fuses the best parts of social poker and competitive real-money gaming to create a product which is going to have mass appeal. Crucially, the game is specifically constructed to work in a US market, regulated or not. We spoke to Lund, the newly appointed acting head of poker at Playhem Poker, about the product launch and what it could mean for online poker.


"Playhem is a platform for competitive gaming, it already features games like Starcraft and Fifa 2012."


"The Playhem poker model, which draws its inspiration from the company's existing know-how of competitive video gaming and e-sports, is aimed at targeting a distinct gap in the current online poker market. It plans to address the millions of players who enjoy social poker games like Zynga Poker but don't find the action meaningful enough, and it hopes to speak to the tens of thousands of dedicated players who want to play poker for real money online but are exempt from doing so by current US law."


"For a number of reasons, Playhem Poker is less liquidity-dependent than other poker solutions. We can't offer the mountains of cash some competitors can, but we hope to offer a game and a platform that delivers twice the fun and produces more reasons for players to come back and play."


"I don't view poker as a gambling game. I view it as an MMO (massively multi-player online) game that just happens to feature brilliantly integrated gambling elements. When the gamification craze hit last year and I started hearing about gamification consultants being invited to all sorts of industry events to sing their gospel that was the last straw for me. The fact that the poker industry feels it needs to listen to gamification experts instead of being those experts says a lot about why the industry is struggling."


"The event side of Playhem Poker will also introduce new forms of competitive poker playing tailored for the e-sports stage and for massive broadcasts. We definitely think we will be crowning a new breed of poker champions."

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