EvenBet Gaming CEO Dmitry Starostenkov explains how innovative game concepts and growing interest within emerging markets are fuelling a poker renaissance.

Poker is being billed as gaming’s ‘comeback kid’ and that comes as no surprise when you consider the recent uptake in the vertical from various players across the globe.

A new generation of players are falling in love with poker, from Asia to the burgeoning US market. It’s a welcoming trend for a product that’s experienced dwindling interest and a fall in revenues in recent times. 

So, what exactly is driving this surge of interest in one of the world’s oldest forms of gambling? 

Key stakeholders from within the industry have been working tirelessly to reignite some much-needed passion into the vertical and bring the user experience up to speed with the modern world. Sharpening the user journey through enhanced mobile interfaces of poker apps is just one example of how the vertical is resonating with millennials and Generation Z.

The sharks feasting on the minnows has unquestionably been a factor in driving recreational players away from the game”

Crucially, innovative game concepts are making their way into the online and mobile experience, allowing players to enjoy additional forms of entertainment that complement the core poker offer. 

Side games to ‘snack’ on

The sharks feasting on the minnows has unquestionably been a factor in driving recreational players away from the game, with professional players showing their superior knowledge in the online space and has led to operators struggling to reach a wide audience. 

New game formats are vital in bringing the crowds back to the vertical and ensuring that players get more value for their money when playing poker. 

Alongside classics games and tournaments, operators are now introducing ‘snackable’ slots and casino table games to complement the core poker experience. 

It’s a break from the norm where players would traditionally look to take their time with their cards and focus solely on the poker game, but the rise of short form content has influenced a generation who desire quick-fire events that reveal the outcome of a wager in a matter of seconds. 

Providing players with an option to spin the reels and roll the dice on their favourite casino games while still sitting at the virtual poker table reduces the likelihood of churn. Within the breaks of play of a poker session, these side options are the perfect vehicle for operators looking to keep players engaged with short and easy to understand content. 

India is leading the way with a number of challenger brands”

New product concepts are also allowing players to wager on live sporting events with just a click of a button and without the need to exit the poker room. Offering additional forms of entertainment alongside the main poker function allows operators to diversify and reach more players. 

Strong showing in emerging territories

Modernising the online and mobile poker experience has been a key factor in driving the product’s popularity in new and emerging territories across the globe. 

In particular, India is leading the way with a number of challenger brands alongside globally recognised operators taking poker to a new level with products and promotions that strike a chord with players. Given the huge population of India, and with mobile users only expected to rise in the coming years, poker is well positioned to thrive even further in Asia. 

The emerging Latin America landscape also presents an opportunity for poker to further extend its global presence, with a number of regions beginning to embrace legalised online gaming. LatAm is being viewed as the next ‘gold rush’ by many within the industry. 

EvenBet Gaming’s newly launched poker network for South America features several individual poker projects, with its flexibility gaining traction across the region including start-ups and established operators. 

It remains to be seen which LatAm country will be the next to enforce a regulatory framework, but one thing that is for certain is that poker is back on the rise again. The vertical is becoming an essential part of the product mix, leading to increased engagement amongst a new wave of players coming through, leading to a boost in turnover for operators.