Monday Sales Call: The California Online Poker Bill

The California Online Poker Bill was unveiled last week. The bill outlines a plan to regulate online poker in the state of California and was brought to the state’s legislature in January.”Licenses to operate intrastate Internet poker websites under this Act shall be issued only to current Gaming Establishments licensed by the State of California and California tribes with gaming compacts. “This means only licensed California brick and mortars will be able to operate online poker sites within the state (Bay101, Commerce Casino, Bicycle Club, etc..).If this bill does in fact go through, it will be interesting to see how the California brick and mortars react to working with affiliates. This could give us a better idea of how the major Vegas brick and mortars feel about working with us if mass regulation were to occur.Some people in our industry believe that Harrahs/MGM wouldn’t want to initially work with outsourced marketing programs because of the margin they would be giving up. And that instead of using affiliates, Harrahs or MGM would spend that money on mass advertising via TV, print, and other traditional forms of media.Old Navy and Nike work with affiliates! The land based casinos have little experience in marketing on the Internet and driving traffic to their product. Affiliate marketing is not a flash in the pan. Those who choose to ignore its relevance will either experience serious growing pains before accepting the need or simply be blown away by their competition. Also, as affiliates we have existing relationships with their end user. The brick and mortars would be crazy not to tap into our resources.So where does that leave industry giants like Full Tilt and Poker Stars? Will affiliates lose their players? How will California “regulate” their citizens from playing on non-sanctioned sites?I am guessing the bill will not make it through Sacramento without a few amendments (assuming it gets passed :). Maybe these amendments will answer the questions above. I will definitely be watching this story over the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see how many states start throwing this idea around. With the American economy in a recession and many states in the US severely in the red, this may be the perfect time for regulation.- Tony

Monday Sales Call: Mixed Games and Mixed Feelings

Last month I started playing the 8 Game rotation on Poker Stars (2-7 triple draw, LHE, Omaha H/L, Razz, Stud, Stud H/L, NLHE, and PLO). The challenge of learning new games has somewhat quenched my poker fix. I would probably be better off learning each game individually then playing them in a rotation. I have booked some decent wins in this game over the last few weeks. I am not naive enough to think this is because I some sort of mixed game prodigy. It has been a combination of run good and playing total droolers who simply don’t know the rules to the games (or get them mixed up). The 8 Game rotation has become extremely popular on Poker Stars. Many of the big name regulars at Bobby’s Room have been playing the 400/800 game and thus it has seemed to catch on with the online regs. I really wish the other sites would open up a similar game so I can get rakeback while playing :)Despite my new found fascination with 8 Game, I have become increasingly bored with poker as of late. The challenge and mental stimulation just isn’t there anymore. While my win rate has steadily increased in NLHE cash games over my last 20k hands (2 months), I find myself quitting halfway through sessions. I have found that I recently play poker solely out of habit. Poker simply doesn’t bring me the happiness it used to.Over the weekend I spent a few hours contemplating what aspects of my life bring me happiness and what things simply fill time. I am mature enough to realize that life isn’t all about being happy and there are things we have to do which we do not partially enjoy. But when it comes to my free time, I have a choice. Poker has been a time fill for me as of late. I feel there are other activities out there which could fill the void that poker has seized to complete in my life. I know I am leaving financial gains on the table by taking a break from poker but I hope to add different kinds of value to my life through alternative activities. Activities that can bring me immediate satisfaction and others which generate long term benefits (working out, investments, projects around the house, etc).I know this post doesn’t touch on the elements of our industry or shed light on Internet marketing strategies. However, I have found benefit in examining the parallels that life and work bring to the table. My business life is inherently affected by my personal time spent outside of the office. Realizing the aspects of our personal lives which bring us value (happiness, security, self-esteem) and those that simply fill time in our day is also interchangeable with our careers. Similar aspects are found in my work day and directly affect my professional goals.Finding a niche I love and figuring out creative ways to bring said product/service to the end user is my idea of professional success. I have found the niche I truly enjoy in poker. I think it helps to work in an industry where I am the target customer. In the beginning, I had access to what the end user was thinking by examining my own wants and needs as a player. In the coming weeks, I plan on reading several business related books (Godin/Friedman) and examining the stock market for potential investments. I am excited to see our industry from another angle as I take a break from the poker table and will share my experience with you guys in the coming months.Tony

Monday Sales Call: A Few Questions

“No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never-ending improvement in their lives.”- Robert G. AllenHow are you educating users they are making the right decision by engaging in a business relationship with you?Could they list several advantages to doing business with you?What intangibles do you provide existing and potential clients that separates you from the competition?Tony

This Week at PAS: Design Promotion Results

In January we announced an incredible opportunity for PAS publishers. The promotion was Win Thousands in Free Marketing Designs and Ad Space and was a huge success. We are happy to announce the winners right now. The winners are:1st Place – Deuces Cracked Rakeback – 134 new active trackersDeuces Cracked Rakeback wins 10 Hours of Design Work, four banner designs, one business card design, one postcard design and $2000 in advertising paid for by PAS.2nd Place – Menosrake – 117 new active trackersMenosrake wins four banner designs, one business card design, one postcard design and $1000 in advertising paid for by PAS.3rd Place – Mirpokera – 106 new active trackersMirpokera wins two banner designs and one business card design.Congratulations to all of the winners and all of the publishers that participated. Stay tuned for the next great PAS promotion.

Monday Sales Call: Don’t Be Ordinary

Last week I talked about branding and the impact it had on a recent purchase I made. Building a brand is extremely tough; especially so on the Internet. There are thousands of sites which promote online poker and most of them contain similar messages. Here is a poker room, this is their bonus, and here are the games they offer. Sprinkle in a little “Countries Accepted” and “Deposit Methods” and you have a recipe for 90% of the sites out there.Sure, players are looking for this information. But how are you conveying it to them? It is important to connect to the visitor right off the bat. You can do this by using personal reviews of products or services. Relay to the user your experience with using Holdem Manager or playing $1/$2 6 max on Full Tilt. How are the games? Do they play loose? Maybe players are bettor off moving down a level to play in juicier games (and thus more profitable). Connect with the player on a level they can relate to.Rakeback already provides players with an incentive to sign up through affiliates. But why stop there? Give your viewers even more incentive by conveying your message in a way that connects and relates to the reader’s experience. This connection leads to trust and trust is the cornerstone of branding.Tony