PU: Matchbook staked Sam in the Big One for One Drop. You guys must of been confident he would get a result?
JG: Sam was our number one pick by a mile. We had worked with him for a long time and know him very well. His talent is undoubted and he thrives in these big buy-in events. Anyone who knows him better than most realises just how good he is. In poker, especially in a one-off tournament, there are no guarantees, you cannot escape the luck factor, however the best players can dictate their luck slightly better than others. Jesse May actually touches on this later on in the documentary.
We were extremely confident putting Sam into this event, especially with his past record in high roller events. On top of that the field had a lot of players who were deemed recreational due to the size of the buy-in. This made the proposition even more attractive as there was certainly value in putting him into this type of event.
PU: The $1m stake is a creative use of a marketing budget. How did you guys come up with the idea?
JG: Sam was being staked by partners with a connection to Matchbook before the One drop came around. Matchbook had players for last years WSOP as well. The $1m stake wasn’t so much a marketing initiative, it was more an attractive proposition from a financial point of view. The marketing side of this (with the documentary) came afterwards.
When Matchbook agreed to sponsor Sam for the event we decided to film it. We had some experience filming mini features in Vegas from previous years. We thought it would be a good marketing tool and Sam is a great person to work with who we get on extremely well with and have known for some time now.
PU: Could you explain a little on what we can expect from the documentary?
JG: We followed Sam through the three days so there is plenty of coverage documenting his mindset and preparation for the event. However it goes a bit deeper into Sam’s life, how he found poker and how he found early success (and the dangers that come come with thinking you are better than you are at an early point in your poker career). We talk to his close friends, fiancé, family and people in the poker world who know Sam to get their impression of him and the One drop as a spectacle. The One Drop is a story about how an apprentice plumber became the most successful poker player in Europe. We had footage taken of Sam from previous years and were able to draw on some old archived footage to help with the storytelling.How can our readers view the documentary?
PU: How can our readers view the documentary?
JG: Part one is now available on Matchbook only for users who have created a Mb account and signed in to watch it.
We had numerous conversations about the best way to release this. Ultimately we are not a content site or a poker site. We are a betting exchange that offers some betting markets for major Poker tournaments throughout the year. It obviously has much more value and relevance being broadcasted on other sites but that doesn’t really help us. Yes we would get our brand out their to a degree but fundamentally we want people to recognise that we are a betting site and for poker players who like to bet, we are a great proposition for them. especially as we are the lowest commission exchange online and offer the most competitive prices.
PU: How do you expect the documentary to leverage the Matchbook brand?
JG: Much of the above really. the documentary is produced to a very high standard. A very talented editor who works for the BBC, Chris Denton, edited it and we had two great producers working on it. Its of TV standard and we were speaking to several broadcasters about getting it on TV. In that respect I think the poker/ gaming community will hopefully commend the effort and be pleasantly surprised with what we have produced. It will help get our brand out to the masses to a certain degree and the release of the documentary also coincides with the release of a new version of the Matchbook platform which is much more user friendly and should appeal to most common gamblers.
As the documentary coincides with this years One Drop high roller we have also put up a betting market for this. We are currently offering odds on fifty of the best poker players in the world to win the One Drop tournament and have seen a huge volume of bets placed through the exchange with a particular interest in our money back guarantee promotion which promises a full refund on your bet of up to a staggering £10000 ($15,000) should your player not win the event but make the official final table.
PU: Has Sam viewed the documentary? What were his thoughts?
JG: Sam has viewed the documentary and worked with us throughout in giving his feedback. He really enjoyed it. Its hard to watch something about yourself and not have some very strong opinions, especially about things we barely thought of. He watches it through an entirely different lens to any other viewer. That said he is very happen with the final outcome. If he wasn’t I’m not sure we would be showing it!
There are always thing we could have added/done differently but its certainly not an easy task producing a fifty minute documentary with the footage we are able to obtain. You have to remember this is not our field of expertise and the first featured video Matchbook has done.
PU: What are the plans for Matchbook going forward?
JG: Matchbook has seen tremendous growth since we acquired the business in Jan 2011. We have gone from approx 6-10 staff up to 60-70 in that space of time. We have launched a completely new site, liquidity and volume has grown at a fantastic rate and new business is finding its way to us. Everyone has a very positive outlook towards the future.
We plan to concentrate on the exchange product and be the go-to platform for any serious gambler. We are very much focused on attracting serious punters; our product fits those peoples needs. There is room for an alternative exchange in the market at the moment, especially with the rates Betfair charge and their attention on growing their fixed odds product.
PU: Anything else you would like to add?
JG: I think that touches most things. The documentary will be released in four parts, roughly over a two week period. We plan to release the final part on the weekend of the 5th July. It’s approx fifty minutes long.
Sam was a great person to work with on this project; very supportive of what we were doing and made the whole project fun and interesting to work on. We also had great support from everyone else who contributed to the documentary and would like to thank them also.