Now I'm back to being an independent entity for the time being I feel it's only right I crack my knuckles and give my honest opinion of mine and the UK Poker scenes current situation. I'm going to cover two main points in this blog.
1. My departure from BBP.
2. The UK Poker Scene - radical ideas.
It wasn't long after my last blog that I was given the unfortunate news that my time at Black Belt Poker had come to an end. It came as a bit of a shock although working for a small company you accept that it's always a possibility.
I really enjoyed my time at BBP. Having worked for a Scandinavian brand before, I was eager to join a UK focused company as that's where my passion, contacts and marketing network had always lied.
I was part of some great promotions and two popular live events and met lots of excellent poker players. We parted ways on good terms, I certainly wasn't fired, nor was I replaced.
I have to congratulate Neil and all the BBP staff for what they have achieved. Neil especially is one of the hardest working guys I've ever met. BBP was basically an idea of his that he worked relentlessly to make a reality.
I really do think BBP could became a large success IF some major changes are made. I won't go into detail, but members of the site will know what parts of the site do and don't work both technically and theoretically. They've always had large ideas, but you have to get the basics right first, otherwise expansion is impossible.
I wish them all the success in the world and will always have my eye on them.
The UK Poker Scene - Some Radical, but Scaleable Ideas
As my recent departure from BBP proves, times are tough in the poker world. Everyone is playing catch up to Stars, but will one new site or current network ever get close? I think not as there are too many ideas floating around and too many people thinking they can become a success.
Year upon year we see sites come and go, thinking they can take the same old ideas and make them a success. Some try something new, usually with little success. BBP is hanging on in there, but like I said before I don't think they have a chance for large expansion until changes are made. Real Deal Poker had a real shot at being big. They had a product that could attract the fish to online poker, which in turn would attract online players to take them on. Had they of been smart, i.e. not greedy, with their idea, they could of been a big success. Yet they tried taking on the big dogs themselves and failed.
Can anyone do it?
I believe so, and without the need for fancy ideas and crazy business plans. What's needed is co-operation, utilisation of local knowledge, conquering separate markets and then forming a large entity. Let's take the UK for example.
We have several independent online brands in this country all taking 90%+ of their business from UK players. The best examples:
Black Belt Poker
Dusk Till Dawn
Rags 2 Riches (The Western Club)
One Way Poker
Gutshot (The International Club)
Sure there are the Genting’s and Grosvenor’s, but I'm not worried about them, they pull enough revenue through their casinos to make online nothing more than a fashion requirement as opposed to a real necessity (I'd be interested to see their revenue figures).
Then there are the big brands like 888 and Party with a strong marketing presence in the UK, but they are hardly 'local brands'.
So, let's take the list above. Online the biggest is Sky by far, in fact they've been so successful they are on their own independent network. Add up the rest and you're probably close to doubling the player base Sky has to offer, but not only that, you bring into the mix some serious assets.
DTD is obviously Europe's best poker venue and the Western and International are both solid clubs in the London Area. BBP and One Way both have strong live poker ties with various smaller clubs and groups.
What if each of these companies merged to form one UK super network?