Zynga, the multibillion dollar company that made its mark with social media gaming, recently announced that they will be entering the real money online poker market in the UK. Already known for ubiquitous Facebook games like Farmville and play money Hold’em, Zynga will be the first entry of a major player into the online market since before the UIGEA was passed in the United States in 2006.
Zynga has the potential to be a game changer because of its vast brand recognition across the globe alongside its position as one of the premier social media gaming platforms. It is estimated that over 15 million individual users access a Zynga program on a daily basis, and 118 million individual users access Zynga each month. Typically these games are social in nature, with users encouraged to interact with their Facebook contacts to receive certain benefits. Combined, these assets will give Zynga access to a vast pool of potential customers for its online poker software.
The introduction of a new player into the online poker scene has the potential to revive an industry that has largely become stagnant. It is possible that awareness of online poker, particularly in the United States, could start putting pressure on the state and Federal government to finally regulate the industry. If the United States market was once again open to fully regulated online poker, the influx of new players would be overwhelming. Zynga is already well-positioned for this possibility, and would likely become one of the major players in the US market.
The question remains whether or not Zynga is able to successfully run an online poker site. It is one thing to run a site for play money, it is an entirely different situation when hundreds or thousands of dollars are changing hands every minute.
The past few months have been especially hectic for Pokerstars. They have been trying to push the release of their new, innovative client – BOOM. It was initially available only in selected countries, including Italy and France and for the members of Team PokerStars. Last week a beta version of BOOM was finally released to all PokerStars players worldwide.
The tool lets you build your own poker hand replayer, so you can replay your hands over and over again. You can also publish your results in social media sites like Twitter or in your own personal blog. Facebook, unfortunately is not available for BOOM users, as it forbids any activity that is related to real money games on its platform. The BOOM client is similar to existing tools like pokerhand.org. However it offers a lot of new features, especially in terms of integration to the social media sites. You can also share your hands directly on boomplayer.com
Boomplayer.com also offers a number of additional interesting features: a search function that lets you browse the site by fellow poker fans or particularly interesting posts. Of course there are also many useful filters like most discussed, most viewed, most popular hands, date.
Such a complex social media client cannot be launched without any difficulties. Lags and crashes may appear for some computers, especially the older ones. But the technology professionals at PokerStars are working hard on the improvement of their newest innovation – BOOM.
The WSOP is now awaiting the final table of the main event, taking place, this year in October. This is a great time to look back at the biggest winners of this year’s World Series of Poker.
Number 4: Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth collects WSOP bracelets like other people collect rubber bands. You do not like him? You do not like what he says? What the heck? He has 12 Bracelets in his sack. You think he’s pompous? 12 bracelets. The rest of the poker world points the finger at him? 12 bracelets! No matter what you and the rest of the world think, the controversial pro just keeps winning and expanding his leadership. This year he won the coveted bracelets in event 18 and he is the only one of the big players, who has managed to secure a first place. This is undoubtedly enough to make him a winner in our eyes.
Number 3: Antonio Esfandiari
You’ve heard it for sure: Esfandiari is the winner of the mega poker event The Big One for One Drop. The tournament had an unprecedented buy-in of one million dollars and an insane first prize of $ 18.3 million. Esfandiari beat 47 other players and took home the prize. This immediately placed him at the top of the leaderboard of the world class poker.
Number 2: Greg Merson
If you are asking, “Greg – who”, then this only proves that you have not followed the main event of this year’s World Series of Poker. Greg Merson is the newcomer and big winner of the 2012 WSOP. Before this year’s tournament, he had never earned more than $ 22,000 in a live tournament – he was a pure online player – but that’s all changed. He sat at the final table in Event 28 and won $ 1,136,197 then he won a bracelet in Event 57, and then – to top it all he now sits at the final table of the Main Event with the third-highest chip stack. As a player of the year we will hear a lot from him when he participates in the WSOP Europe in October and of course taking part in the final table of the WSOP itself
1st: A lot of unknown players
This is a trend that has gained momentum in the last few years. New comers overshadow the big names. This year there isn’t a single known, professional poker player in the November 9 table. Merson has managed to gain a reputation in this year’s tournament and James Balsiger could become the youngest WSOP champion ever, but otherwise the eight Americans and one Hungarian are blank slates. This may not be as exciting for the viewers but for poker players it is a proof that you don’t have to be a big name professional to win big money at the tables.