Let players know how your deck is dealt. – You don’t have to publish the algorithm but there are many ways you can reach out and let players know as much as you can on how the hands are dealt. Make a video with someone who wrote the algorithm, interview them, show their background. You dont have to show the actual math but the more players know, the more secure they will feel; the more secure players feel, the more they’ll play.
Let players know their funds are safe. – If it comes down to flat out telling them where the funds are, tell them if you can. If there is a requirement for your licence to put funds in escrow, show them the documentation or as much as you can.
Transparency – Drive out fear.
Social – Poker is a social game, it is one of the main reasons recreational players play. I’m sure the chat boxes of the play-money games are the most used and there is a reason for it, study it. The live poker scene is a testament to the social aspect of poker and there are some good things casinos do that can help online poker (I must note I feel strongly that online poker and live poker are different games and I’m making an exception here.)
Hosts – Having some extra brand (managerial) presence for your cash games would make for a more friendly place. Some sites currently do this during big final tables for MTTs; its time to do it for cash games. High-stake live games (Note: I really do not like live-game/online poker comparisons but must here) have had game-hosts for years. Live hosts get the games going, moderate them, ensure a friendly atmosphere, get the players what the need, are the bridge from the floor to the players, they are a concierge, a high-touch service for poker players and the system works well in live games, its time online poker rooms consider such a position.
Call the floor button – Obviously this can be easily abused so the implementation has to be carefully worked out and there are many ways to implement a call-button but that is a separate (and boring for most readers) post. However, we all agree a friendly playing ground is the best for all players. You can ensure a friendlier game if there were easier ways then emailing support while playing about in-game issues. In turn, when implemented properly, a call-button will allow players to feel more secure. More secure players play longer, playing longer is better for the games/site/poker economy, etc.
Educate – Those that know or want to know will play more.
Teach poker – Yes, I’m obviously biased having been a poker coach for the last eight years and one of the founders of the top online poker schools, DeucesCracked.com, but given from my experience over that time I have come to the conclusion that the one thing to get players to play more, is to teach them. When they have vested time and money into poker education they will play more, it’s that simple really.
Level the field – I know this strikes fear into most operators today and I added an excerpt below about professionals, but educating players will level the playing field, well, at LEAST it will give the feeling that the field can be leveled. Not all players will perform, no matter how much the education, as execution is difficult. However, if the playing field feels like it is leveled, it will drive out fear, driving out fear will make for a much better playing experience for recreational players.
Right now there is a lot of anti-pro sentiment from the online poker industry. Sites are blocking data-mining, removing winning players, creating anonymous tables and making other moves in the name of “recreational” players. The problem is, these moves have nothing to do with recreational players, they have everything to do with pro player and specifically are anti-professional (not pro-recreational). The success rate of professional players, with data-mining, with software, with poker coaching, with books, with HUDs, with every tool you can imagine is LOW compared to the potential player pool. It takes a lot of work, time, and effort to play professionally. You don’t have to worry about professional players so much as you have to put extra effort into recreational players.
I started this post (over a week ago) before I found these three posts by Dominik Kofert the CEO of PokerStrategy.com. Read them here:
View: Don’t discriminate against winning players
View: The Secret Value of Winning Players
View: The Future of Poker
If you have any topics you would like to discuss or hear more about free free to email me.
Thanks for reading,
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