Like an old bottle of whisky, the exceptional interest in poker has become more intense and interesting over the years. Today we see poker seeping into our way of life via every medium imaginable. From televisions, the internet, taxis, magazines, billboards and sponsorship, there is not a single avenue that casinos, and more importantly, online casinos have not used to their fullest advantage in order to capture a new generation of poker players.
But of all the mediums, the online arena has ultimately become poker’s greatest ambassador. With a sea of online casinos realising an untapped market of new gamblers waiting to learn and play this game of skill, and poker enthusiasts using blogs to create their own community of like minded people to share their own experiences, online poker has brought an unprecedented synergy to the world of communications resulting in a thriving multibillion dollar industry.
Poker sites, have not only utilised every marketing and advertising tool available at their disposable both online and offline, they are also expanding their promotional strategies to encompass household items such as oven mitts, aprons or coasters for example as part of their tangible brand offering. Others such as Golden Palace gain notoriety by buying shock items on eBay or sponsoring crazy stunts that guarantee a mention in the morning paper; or sites such as 888.com that spread their brand name through online spamming tactics. Such cheap tricks may help them stand out from the plethora of poker sites out there but consumers these days are becoming for savvy about where they want to spend their money and are therefore dubious about their integrity as a legitimate place to trust when gambling. Many sources have commented that such sites taint the reputation on the online gambling industry currently in its infancy and as a result, future legislations that are still being formulated are going to severely harm rather than protect other more reputable companies.
With major advances in hardware and software technology, improved bandwidths and increased sophistication in internet security, the experience of playing games like poker has been taken to higher real time platform. Games today are so personalised and interactive that it is almost like playing in a real casino but without the frilly distractions. The internet also allows time starved players to play 24/7 without needing to trek to a casino just to play a game of cards. With convenience and constant availability of player from around the world, gamers’ skill levels and expectations in turn have increased, thus raising the global bar of poker. This has been noticed with the rise and phenomenal coverage of tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and Extreme Poker to name but a few. These well publicized and televised games have brought poker to the masses with celebrities further bringing a sense of glamour and aspiration to the game. It has thus cemented its appeal to a younger generation that today view Poker not as an old man’s game but a very trendy and exciting pastime.
Organisations have realised the endless possibilities of using poker as a lucrative branding tool. Companies such as Endemol, who own the “Big Brother” TV show, Playboy as well as rap stars such as Ja Rule are all setting up their own online poker sites to expand their brands so that they are not only providing a product or service but a lifestyle ideal for their consumers.
Furthermore, variations in poker have transcended to other games such as slots and video poker allowing casinos to increase their arsenal of games and quench this craze. InterPoker.com is one such online poker company that aims to satisfy this insatiable need for people to experience all things poker. A dedicated poker site, InterPoker certainly is a leader in its field for delivering world class poker games, especially when facing scrutiny from the public and government bodies about the vices of gambling; rather hypocritical considering these same bodies seem to endorse lotteries which also come under the gambling family.
Thus with the wide availability of many advertising and marketing tools and the greater use of the online medium to capture an untapped demographic, its appears that poker and all poker related products and services are here to stay and will have a profound effect on everyday life. It will be up to the individual to decide the extent of its effect on their life.