Party Poker Returns to US after Seven Years
Party Poker held a major share of the US online poker market in 2006, but the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) spoiled it all. After the federal government passed this bill into law, Party Poker withdrew from the US market. But now, Party Poker is back because of New Jersey’s newly regulated online gambling market.
When Party Poker withdrew from the US seven years back, it lost nearly three-fourths of its players. As a result, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker became the top online poker rooms. In the meantime, Party Poker continued offering real money poker services in other poker-friendly markets, built up its player base, and once again became very popular. However, it could not beat either Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars. Now that it has returned to the US, Party Poker hopes to become the number one US poker site again.
When the federal government cracked down on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in April 2011, many experts felt that Party Poker had taken the right decision in leaving the US market. Surprisingly, PokerStars continued hanging on its position as the world’s number one online poker room even after the events of Black Friday. Later, it even acquired Full Tilt Poker and re-launched the site. Experts now feel that this state of affairs cannot last much longer for PokerStars because of “bad actor” clauses in the regulatory frameworks of states that have regulated online poker. These clauses could give sites such as Party Poker a chance to reclaim their past glory.
With PokerStars safely out of the way, Party Poker only has to compete with Caesars Entertainment, which has partnered with 888 Holdings. While Party Poker’s software is far superior to 888’s software, 888 forms part of a better known brand since Caesars also owns the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and WSOP.com, which is rapidly emerging as one of the most popular online poker rooms in the US. This looks like New Jersey will soon be witnessing a battle between a superior brand and a superior product.
Party Poker enjoyed a great deal of popularity during the years 2003 to 2006 because it had an excellent marketing strategy, encompassing television, Internet, as well as print and focusing on the site’s entertainment value. Party Poker also had excellent software, completely free of bugs and featuring excellent graphics. Party Poker became popular then because it was in the right place at the most favorable time, had an excellent product, and used the best marketing techniques.
One might wonder if Party Poker is now capable of regaining its lost glory as the online poker industry has evolved a great deal during the last seven years. Most of Party Poker’s old US customers wouldn’t want to register at the site once again. But one must remember that Party Poker is associated with the World Poker Tour (WPT), one of the most popular live poker tournaments in the world; and this major asset could help the poker site to reclaim its lost share of the US market.