PokerStars‘ recent announcement regarding upcoming changes aimed at leveling the playing field for recreational players by eliminating third-party software and revamping the player loyalty program continues to be a hot button topic.
Some pro players are irate, understandably so, because the changes reduce their earning potential considerably. However, changes do need to be made because many casual players are clearly over-matched at the tables. Player traffic seems to be steadily decreasing as a result.
PokerStars is merely following an industry trend that has been building for quite some time. The fact that it’s the world’s top site taking action has brought the issue to the forefront. And that issue is that the predators will someday run out of prey if recreational players are not enticed back to the tables.
The elimination of third-party software is a step in the right direction toward reducing the gaping divide in skill level between shark and fish. But more needs to be done. Here are five suggestions that may help to draw recreational players to the online poker tables.
Promote Limit Hold’em
No Limit Hold’em is not the optimal game for casual players. One hand could (and often does) wipe out their bankrolls, sending them to the rail with either revenge or quitting on their mind. Quitting seems to be the more popular choice based on player traffic numbers.
At least in Limit, a recreational player’s money can be stretched out somewhat. Making a small bet to call rather than be forced to shove all-in on a hand they can’t let go of is a much less painful way to lose.
Promote Pot Limit Omaha
Recreational players crave action and there is more action to be had when you’re looking down at four hole cards instead of two. Even casual players are aware of pre-flop strategy in Texas Hold’em and folding a lot while waiting for a good hand is not their idea of a fun time. Give ’em more cards and more possibilities to make a winning hand and the game becomes more enjoyable.
Lower the Rake
This suggestion will not be popular among poker site operators. But when demand is low and needs to be increased, lowering the price is often attempted as a means of driving up demand. At least until you’ve gained some loyal players.
Create a New Game
Lottery-style SnGs such as Spin & Go at PokerStars have done a wonderful job of attracting recreational players. The game is fast-paced with an air of excitement when waiting to see if the prize pool numbers will take a favorable spin.
Could there be a new cash game that someone can dream up that will take the industry by storm? A game that prompts a lot of action and keeps players in the hand?
Milestone Hand Promos
Those are always a big hit at PokerStars. Why don’t more poker rooms run similar types of promotions? Recreational players come out in droves for the milestone hands, as is evidenced by the drop in action once the promo ends.