PartyPoker, once the forerunner in the online poker market when it was first founded in 2001, has now lost a big slice of the original market. When PartyPoker left the US in 2006, it left behind the biggest market in poker for the likes of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. During its absence in the US, Pokerstars and Full Tilt managed to gain a huge advantage, Pokerstars having over 40% market share by the end of 2010 with PartyPoker only managing just over 5%.
Now it’s 2013 and PartyPoker have completely rebranded their image. They have chosen the perfect time to do so with losing their position in the market to 888poker and the legislation of online gambling in the US starting to take effect.
The re-launch in September saw a variety of new features including the addition of a social integration, where you can invite your friends to play, or the addition of achievements, bringing fun to the game.
The user interface is of simple design and very stylish. It’s definitely an improvement on the old, basic green look. The client seems very easy to navigate through, many choices at the top of the screen make finding a game very quick and easy and an excellent filter system only improves on this. The one click lobby orders your favourite games, this way, you can find your favourites as soon as you log on.
PartyPoker has always had the reputation of having the easiest players to play against and there are many different things which you can do that make your experience more enjoyable. You can easily place a bet on a variety of sports whilst considering whether or not to call a raise. You also have the ability of resizing your tables with ease from the lobby, making multiple games less hassle to play. One choice of game mode that proves to be a hit is the fastforward poker mode. This game mode reduces the amount of waiting time a player wastes for the next hand, meaning a lot more poker can be played. The only con I have found when playing is it does take a while to load up tables and some of the tabs on the side don’t actually seem to work.
The addition of social networking in PartyPoker seems to be the biggest part of their campaign. As the players they seem to attract are more of the casual type of player than the serious competitor, it seems a great angle to take, making it a good experience for all who play. They have introduced achievement badges which are awarded for a variety of things, such as gaining pocket kings for the first time, or, when you overcame the odds to win that impossible hand.
They have also made it possible to take on in-game missions. These missions, when completed, can gain you rewards such as tokens into tournaments, bonuses or even real cash, although the prize depends on the difficulty of the mission. You can also track how well you have done compared to your friends and with the rest of the world with prizes awarded to leaders of the table.
The bonuses at PartyPoker are great. It is the most precious time in your poker career when you make the first deposit and try to build upon it. You need the right starting bonus to start from otherwise you may take a beating from the rake. If you are a new member at PartyPoker, they will match 100% of your first deposit up to $50. There is also the offer of free entry into the Sunday cash buster competition, with the chance of winning a share of $5,000. In addition to this competition, PartyPoker offers over $100,000 in freerolls every month and the chance to qualify for the WPT.
It seems PartyPoker are taking their promotions very seriously. The website seems to be updated every week with new promotional offers which include qualifiers for big tournaments and missions which reward loyalty. Right now and until the end of Oktoberfest, the player has the chance of winning VIP tickets to watch FC Bayern Munich play by completing a mission and being entered into a tournament. You also receive a variety of bonues for referring friends. The player already has the incentive of referring friends through the social networking sites, why not give them more encouragement.
PartyPoker has a mix of different followers. You have, the regulars, who enjoy playing as much poker as they possibly can, and the new beginners, who just maybe want to learn and play with friends. Both types of players are looked after well in this revamp. The bonuses look after the newcomers well with the attached incentive to carry on through missions and achievements. The regulars still have those easy games that PartyPoker is famous for and improved lobbies that make finding games quick and painless.
This re-launch is definitely aimed at the casual player and will most likely not pry away regular customers from competition, but, may take the ones who aren’t up for the more intense gaming experience that competitors provide. The new system will take time to see whether it is a hit or miss with player but has the capability of creating a bigger volume of customers.