As it looks to regain its once lofty perch in the online poker industry, PartyPoker is looking to update its software within the coming months as a battle looms on the horizon.
Over the past year, PartyPoker’s parent company, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PLC, has seen a decline in the numbers on what used to be the number one online poker site in the industry. Although very visible throughout much of the world, PartyPoker has seen its numbers fall 40% over the past year, according to the calculations by PokerScout.com. This is something that the leaders of Bwin.Party are looking to rectify.
In a statement released by the company, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the co-Chief Executive Officers of Bwin.Party, said, “Poker is a key area of focus and we are determined to return it to growth through execution of a detailed plan that includes pooling our poker liquidity as well as repositioning our flagship PartyPoker brand. We expect both initiatives to have a positive impact on our performance, along with our recently launched Fast Forward Poker product.”
During the first quarter of 2013, Bwin.Party is expected to unveil this “next generation” version of PartyPoker. Although it doesn’t get into specifics, the company states that new features will be added to the software as well as a new “look and feel” to their product. This potential move could be in light of what may become a big battleground in the online poker industry in the coming months.
With the purchase of Full Tilt Poker from the United States Department of Justice in a settlement last month, PokerStars – the current power player in the online poker industry – is looking to make even more of an impact on the international online poker world. The expected relaunch of a “new and improved” Full Tilt Poker is expected to come within the next few months and, if it can regain its former status, would give PokerStars even more of a stranglehold on the competitive online poker market.
Bwin.Party is looking to reverse what has been a disappointing year for them to this point. In reports from the company, PartyPoker has shown an 8% drop in its revenues compared to last year and has seen their stock fall by 44% on the London Stock Exchange. As of the close of business today, Bwin.Party stock closed at 91.9p after starting the day at 94.75p (a 2.8% drop). Over the past year, the stock was trading as high as 177p on the LSE.
Six years ago, PartyPoker was the preeminent online poker room in the industry, vastly outpacing PokerStars and the then-upstart Full Tilt Poker. After the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, however, PartyPoker pulled out of the United States market and saw its player numbers drop (as a publicly traded company, PartyGaming – the then-owners of the site – could not violate the laws of a country and remain on the London Stock Exchange). Both private companies, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker continued to serve American players, plummeting PartyPoker from its once-lofty perch in the industry.
Fast forward the clock to 2012 and PartyPoker is battling to maintain relevance in the online poker industry. While PokerStars continues to be the most popular online poker site in the industry (even following the “Black Friday” indictments of 2011 in the U. S.), PartyPoker is locked in a battle with the iPoker Network for the second rung on the ladder. At this moment, the iPoker Network has the edge as the second largest online poker room with PartyPoker in third. To give you an idea of the vast distance between the companies, PokerStars has a seven day average of 22,200 cash game players (the standard measure in the industry); the iPoker Network manages an average of 2900 players, while PartyPoker has an average of 2350 players.
Whether it is due to PokerStars’ recent moves in obtaining Full Tilt Poker or simply time to make improvements, it will be interesting to see how the “new look” PartyPoker attempts to drive back to the numbers of its heyday.