PNiA A Catalyst For The USA's Resurgent Poker IndustrySeptember 3, 2015 11:08 am
It wasn’t just poker sites which were forced out of the US following Black-Friday, but also a number of popular televised poker shows which had been thriving in the country pre-2011, and had predominantly been sponsored by the two then biggest iPoker operators in the world, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Since the industry’s relaunch in 2013, the situation hasn’t changed much, either, as the three regulated states currently offering iPoker in the US account for a mere 3% of the country’s population, leaving little incentive for operators to sponsor and air televised poker shows.
Then came along ‘Poker Night in America’ (PNiA), a show whose aim is to return televised poker back to it former popularity by hosting mid-stakes cash games with an emphasis on fun and excitement. Brainchild of Heartland Poker Tour founder Todd Anderson, the poker show has already been picked up by cable network CBS Sports, and landed two big sponsors in the guise of 888 Poker, and DFS operator DraftKings.
888 is currently the USA’s biggest iPoker operator, and has a presence in all three regulated states, giving the company an obvious reason to get in early on the resurgent US televised poker route. By all accounts the results have been positive, too, and after gaining an audience on CBS Sports, 888 has decided to keep PNiA running for at least another two years. While PNiA on its own may not be driving huge number of players towards 888poker sites, it is proving more effective in that department when used in conjunction with online promotions. Furthermore, Todd Anderson said he is considering introducing a number of other innovations to the show, including a tournament poker version called ‘Poker Night the Tour Series’, together with two commentary teams, and possibly the introduction of a shot clock. As 888poker’s Marketing Director, Chris Capra, explains:
“The 888 brand never operated in the U.S. prior to 2013. While we were very strong in other markets, we had to start from scratch here, and PokerNight has been a good partner in this.”