Player Run Poker Sites Facing Huge ChallengesJanuary 5, 2017 12:41 pm
It’s no secret that since Amaya took over PokerStars that the world’s biggest online poker room has come under intense criticism from many of its regular players. At the heart of their complaints is the feeling of having been underappreciated and sidelined in favor of recreational players, and against this backdrop a number of pros have flaunted with the idea of launching their own “player-friendly” online poker rooms.
One such player is Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger, a WSOP bracelet winner with $8,544,703 in live earnings, as well as a further $3,023,127 won playing online tournaments. Having already been launched, however, LuckyChewy Poker’s low rake and high rewards structure still faces the challenge of having to overcome a site which is very basic, and has been subjected to ridicule by members of Two Plus Two Poker community.
Another player that seems to be going full-out to create a poker website that is capable of drawing disgruntled players away from PokerStars is Phil Galfond, a 2-time WSOP bracelet holder with $2,339,619 in live tournament earnings, and around $8 million won from online cash games. Noted for his business acumen, Galfond has apparently got 40 people working on his new poker site, RunItOnce, which gives an indication as to the level of investment he is willing to make in order to ensure his site proves a success.
Nevertheless, Galfond will have to face the fact that iPoker rooms usually work on pretty low margins, and that their relatively high rate of overheads will make their long-term success challenging at best. Furthermore, if it so happens that RunItOnce does overcome teething problems associated with starting a new site, and is able to survive on thin margins, then Galfond will then have to contend with the biggest online poker rooms subsequently ramping up their marketing efforts to deal with their competitors.
All in all, the success of these new poker sites may prove more a case of wishful thinking over business sense, and if two of the game’s most talented pros are unable to make it work then it would seem there is little chance for other upstart sites to carve out a niche in the highly competitive online poker market. Examining the situation in detail on onlinepokerreport.com, Steve Ruddock came to the following conclusion:
“I’m not sure how an online poker room that’s business model yields razor-thin margins on a daily basis will be able to compete against an established and better developed product, with a bigger marketing budget, and a larger team of customer support and tech personnel. But if anyone can do it, it’s probably Phil Galfond.”