Peter Jesko: “Poker operators need to evolve – not revolutionize the online poker experience”

Peter Jesko: “Poker operators need to evolve – not revolutionize the online poker experience”

Peter Jesko: “Poker operators need to evolve - not revolutionize the online poker experience”
Should poker go back to basics? Does the vertical have an engagement and retention problem? These questions and others were discussed during the “Back to Basics: Does Poker Really Need Re-Inventing?” panel, part of the seminal CasinoBeats Summit 2024. The panel was attended by Peter Jesko of Casino Guru Strategic Consulting, who joined other industry veterans to explore the problems faced by this dynamic segment and how its untapped potential can be fully realized. Moderated by SBC Media Project Director Martyn Elliott, the conversation included TellyBartolo from Casino Malta by Olympic, 888 VP Head of Poker Amit Berkovich, Evenbet Business Development Executive Ivan Shumilov, and Jesko himself. The discussion pivoted towards the digital realm of online poker and whether the segment needs to be torn apart and put back together. Is it just a matter of technical advancements and tweaks, or do the challenges of the online poker experience run even deeper? Jesko’s opinion, largely echoed by his fellow speakers, was that it all comes down to an “evolution” rather than a “revolution” for poker. Jesko found poker fascinating for its unique convergence of skill and luck, which makes for an interesting combination and an even more compelling product for players. However, there are clear paths to boosting the game’s popularity, one of which is creating an environment where games are fun for recreational players, who often feel targeted by professionals and veterans. The poker catchphrase “beat the fish” perhaps best illustrates this issue. As Jesko explains, new players lose money too quickly. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many poker players, including new ones, online. However, the uptick in traffic died down after a few months, partly because new players found it hard to stick around when they were routed by professional players who play across multiple tables with robotic-like efficiency, an issue that persists to this day. Some solutions, Jesko argues, have already been presented to relevant success and the community’s approval. One successful example is limiting the number of tables, a measure some operators have already implemented. Yet, other avenues need to be explored, such as how operators can help players familiarize themselves with the game and learn the strategies needed to perform well. Although not everyone agreed with this particular idea, Jesko and his fellow speakers felt confident that they had identified the issues modern poker platforms face. They have gone beyond perfunctory solutions, proposing actionable strategies to address the challenges discussed during the panel. Image credit: CasinoBeats

28 MAY 2024

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