A casino operation without a poker offering is a bit like a broken pencil – rather pointless. But are game developers doing enough to build on the traditional appeal of this age-old gaming product to drive player engagement? Ewelina Antonakos, Head Of Sales and Business Development at TVBET, believes there’s potential aplenty in poker to make it fresher and more relevant to a new generation of players.

Poker has long been a mainstay in any casino operator’s portfolio, but according to Ewelina Antonakos, Head Of Sales and Business Development at TVBET, more can be done with this timeless game to drive player engagement.

Touching upon the provider’s decision to launch its poker product exclusively with Polish bookmakers, Antonakos explained that TVBET has a number of plans in the pipeline to capture players’ attention with new features and designs.

CasinoBeats: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Why have you chosen to launch poker especially for the Polish bookmakers?

Thank you for the invite! We all know too well how important localisation is. Our partners know it even better. Since the beginning of those local partnerships, we have been presenting the opportunity of the custom table.

Eventually, the members of the Polish Chamber of Commerce for the Entertainment and Bookmaking Industry decided to pursue the offer. It has not been the easiest project, as there were multiple parties to accommodate. However, the relationship is strong, and we have released the game in just a couple of weeks.

CasinoBeats: How will this strengthen your presence within the Polish market?

We are yet to make the analysis from the project and still working on some touch-ups. The second stage of the development will be investing into development of the promo tools, which will engage the players more. Also, first retail operations start. Majority of the operators put that vertical on hold for the past two years (Covid-19 related), so we are happy that it’s back on.

CasinoBeats: How has TVBET’s poker offering been tailored to make sure that it truly engages – and more importantly, retains – players?

We have come up with a custom background and improved the sound, which is always a challenge when having multiple studios placed in close proximity. Some operators decided to diversify and customise the background with their own design.

By the end of Q2, we plan to release multiple bonus options/tools, such as free bets, cashbacks and tournaments, and in parallel we are preparing a number of promotional campaigns that will truly attract the crowd. We believe that all these steps will help our partners to retain players. Before each of our actions and improvements, we carry out a deep analysis together with our partners to find out what is needed for the player. And based on that information, we update our product.

CasinoBeats: Poker has long been a core product in any casino offering. What can companies do to make this much more ‘social’ to ensure it appeals to more Gen Z / Millennial players?

Each generation has its own preferences and interests. And of course, it’s hard enough work to please and captivate players of all ages. I believe that each Gen must be treated separately, considering their interests, customs, localisation and gaming behaviours. Then based on that segmentation the strategy can be determined.

Poker is very popular indeed in its classic form which is a combination of player’s luck within a given set of cards and appetite for risk taking. If your hand is not lucky there is not much to do when you play against the dealer!

TVBET’s Poker game concept, however, makes the player pick a favourite hand, favourite cards and favourite winning combinations, besides these are all determined when the first card is on the table on each game. Players do not have to think of how to play a bad hand or flush or royal flush!

Therefore, we can say the TVBet Poker game is all about socially making your picks and having fun, which Gen Z is all about! To pump up player engagement, our next target is the chat functionality, which will surely influence the modern day need to share and express feelings or thoughts in real time.

CasinoBeats: What are your plans for the wider Polish market in 2022?

Poland – I can proudly say that we took over the market. Last year we added 10 local operators, with three to four more accounts pending this year. This process takes quite a while, but we managed to acquire business with the majority of the bookmakers in the country. The partnerships allow us to improve the offer significantly, as the operators share the players’ likes and behaviours. There will be a big focus internally to analyse the marketing campaigns and the activities of our clients, to generate a case study for us and other partners as well as the attention to detail matters.

As I mentioned before we have launched Polish Poker. Having said that, I would like to underline that custom table development is something that we do offer and will be upselling more as the demand grows. We are interested in developing products for different markets and will be happy to provide our know-how and flexible co-operation T&C.

CasinoBeats: Finally, what can we expect from TVBET in the coming months?

They say: “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.”However to sum it all up, we will work on player engagement and tools to support that, to generate more bets and deliver clients’ expectations. Internally we are planning more hires in the development team as well as commercial, so that we can reach more opportunities. We are restructuring the organisation to see how different approaches can stir things up for the better.