The State of Poker in Asia

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Posted on Nov 18th 2010  -  Subject: The State of Poker in Asia

In a recent interview with AsianLogic CEO Tom Hall at InsidePoker, Hall shares his views about the state of poker in Asia. Hall is the ex-chief executive of software firm Playtech and has based in Hong Kong since the 1990's. His company AsianLogic currently runs the Asian Poker Tour while consulting PKR and Playtech on their Asian expansion plans.

Hall explains "Asia is like Europe was 10 years ago, still in its infancy. The ratio in Europe is roughly 95% land-based, 5% online, while in Asia it would be 99.5% land-based and 0.5% online. The room for growth is there but it is a very complicated market where regulation prohibits you from openly marketing online gambling so you have to be very creative in most countries as to how you do it. It's a much more complicated market and much bigger."

One poker operator launched Texas hold'em poker on their games portal in September and they are now at 130,000 concurrent players.While there are many barriers to entry and a complicated often opaque environment, Hall estimates that PokerStars already has 50% of the Asian market as a result of smart partnering with good land-based poker rooms. Most of the play is still live and play online has yet to see an explosion similar to the "Moneymaker effect."

Hall insists that traditional western marketing methods won't succeed in Asia, as most markets don't allow  television and print advertising. In the restrictive environment, relationships are key with a focus to promoting land-based tours.  Claimed Hall, Chinese players who play low stakes could supply the world's poker fish for the next 5 years.

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