Why Sponsored Poker Pros Are Important

Greater connectivity made possible by technology deepens the interaction with players Ever pondered the advantages of having top poker names fronting for your brand? Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty gave some insight into the benefits and ROI of high profile front men in his blog this week.

Balsbaugh notes that the poker business is to a great extent dependent on a constant flow of new depositing players, and the one single strategy that has been the most successful in atracting them has consistently been the deployment of respected poker professionals fronting the brand.

By example, he points to Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, which between them captured roughly 75 percent of the online poker market, in large measure by employing pro poker players to attract new customers through interaction, publicity and reputation.

“High profile pro players create content, which is then broadly distributed and becomes a successful new player acquisition strategy,” Balsbaugh writes. “For example, PokerStars hired a team of poker players, purchased television time and paid for the production of its poker television shows. The show generates sign ups, site analytics allow them to identify a positive ROI and the project gets funded over and over. It worked in 2004 and it has worked every year since. That is the tried and true, time tested method of delivering that consistent influx of new depositing players.”

Party Poker has managed to avoid hiring the team of pro poker players, but employs a similar strategy. Instead of allocating its budget to team pro’s, Party acquired the World Poker Tour in 2009 for over twelve million dollars and successfully gets high profile players to participate in its popular Party Poker Premier League. They are creating poker content to attract new customers.

Balsbaugh correctly observes that developments in technology – especially in the social networking field – have significantly enhanced the value of professional players by widening the channels open to them to interact with players.

Blogs, tweets, web and pod casts, message boards, Youtube and Facebook action is now widely and effectively used to communicate and impart knowledge, enhancing the reputation of companies sponsoring the professionals involved. One of Balsbaugh's most prolific clients in this regard is Daniel Negreanu, a particularly successful exponent in this area, and one not afraid of controversy or speaking his mind.

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