Ruslan Bangert, CEO of PokerMatch International, reflects on the three months since the company transitioned to the iPoker Network, and the importance of having a strong partnership.

The poker unit of the PokerMatch brand has been operating on the iPoker Network for almost 3 months now. At the beginning of our cooperation, I clearly understood that it would be very difficult for me to make the first assessments of this strategic decision, because the situation in the business is significantly affected by the war in Ukraine and the general unsettling situation in the world.

However, if we just give up and do nothing, we will certainly not get better from this. Therefore, we try as hard as we can to conduct our business as diligently as possible. So all decisions are always evaluated in a timely manner, and the company’s strategy is regularly adapted based on the changing state of the market.

Of course, we at PokerMatch are very happy to have one of the best software in the world for our poker product. And we are very encouraged by our partners’ interest in our success. I feel their support every day and am immensely grateful for their prompt response to our initiatives. And I have no doubt at all that this was the right strategic decision. Even in spite of the terribly strict contracts at Playtech… Just kidding!

What about our players? How are they reacting? Are they happy? I’d be lying to you if I said that 100 per cent of our active base is thrilled with our decision and transition to the new software. Of course, that’s not true. 

Firstly, because people don’t like changes. And poker players, by the way, are pretty conservative. Despite all the attempts by poker operators to invent crazy new types of poker, only the most exceptional developments take root. And even that is very rare. In general, just as Texas Hold’em was once invented, it remains the king of poker.

So when you tell a poker player that we’re going to change everything here, don’t expect them to be too happy. Before joining the ipoker network, we were rebuilding our business model. This period just coincided well with the planning for next year, because we had the transition in October-November 2022. In our new poker business model, we clearly understood (based on deep analytics of course) that the losses among active players would be no less than 30 per cent.

First of all, any move of a player somewhere is always a loss. Because you have to download new software, and some people are simply too lazy to do that. Add to that the consequent figuring out the new interface… For these reasons, we’ve lost a certain number of our players. Also there is a difference in the range of games offered between our old software and the new software from iPoker. 

Things that were quite popular on our old platform are simply not available in the current version of the software. I’m talking about Omaha six, which our players loved to play, including the VIP segment. And the pros know why—it’s quite a fun version of Omaha.

At this point, three months later, the drawdown in active player traffic is roughly within the predicted limits. In fact, in spite of losing Omaha six from our game library, we have gained significant improvements in other areas. For example, thanks to the iPoker Network, our tournaments have become much more attractive, and our guaranteed prize pools have become much larger than what we offered our players in the past. 

There has also been a significant increase in player traffic in hyper-fast tournaments, which is quite expected and well in line with today’s demands among a large group of online poker players. 

And this is just a small part of the basic analytics that I have already formed for myself after 3 months of working with iPoker partners. However, what is 3 months for big strategic decisions? It’s a very small distance. And in online poker, everything is measured by long distance. 

The most important thing for me is working with a reliable partner while having confidence in their support when planning our strategy for the coming years. Being confident in our partner allows us to start preparing to enter another big market, where we are going to present our vision of quality service for players and unique view on poker products marketing combined with the sports component of our favorite game. Because poker is a sport. 

I would like to thank our partners for giving us the opportunity to develop our poker product and opening up more and more markets for us. When all parties are so genuinely interested in success, it is always quick to follow.