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It’s clear that in the hugely competitive arena of online poker, brands can either match up or lose the race. Online poker site 888poker, once the second largest poker site in the world, has suffered a huge dip in revenue over the past year. The brand’s popularity and revenue inflow have largely been affected by its technologically aging software and an equally outdated set of features with other competitors zooming ahead. Recognizing this, 888 Holdings initiated and announced an upgrade of its software client.
888’s software client in its new avatar, i.e., Poker 8 is now available for download. While some features of 888poker have been upgraded, more changes will be rolled out in the coming months. Riding on the wave of this mammoth transition, 888poker has also announced an all-new promotion, – ‘Rake or Break.’
“Over the coming months, all players will benefit from additional upgrades and improvements to our next generation poker platform and we’ll be taking on board customer feedback about the new features,” said 888 Holdings’ senior vice-president of B2C Guy Cohen. “Once the roll-out is complete, we believe our best-in-class platform will offer the most entertaining and engaging experience on the market,”
888’s Declining Fortunes
888poker reported a sharp decline, to the tune of 28% from the previous year in its online poker vertical for the first half (H1) of the financial year 2018. This was the first time for the company that its online poker revenue trailed the company’s revenue from sports betting. When the figures were out, group COO Itai Pazner reassured the investors that 888 intended to remain a significant stakeholder in poker.
“We’re still investing very much in poker,” Pazner said. “We have several unique assets. We probably have the best network in terms of recreational players in the market, which we still believe is the way forward in poker. We sponsor the WSOP for over four years which is creating a very strong brand presence. And we have probably the best relationship with all of the leading content sites, the affiliate sites, where we are ranking number one in the industry.”
When the entire year’s financial results for 2018 came out, it became clear that the company’s decline in revenue was much higher – a sharp 37%. Revenues had dropped to $49 Million from the $77.9 Million recorded in 2017 and its online poker revenue for the second quarter of 2018 was lower than every quarter from 2014 to Q2 in 2017.
The Rake or Break Promotion
888poker may have struggled with outdated software and other issues, but it has delivered high-value tournaments to players via its ‘RakeLESS’ Sunday promotions that have become very popular. The brand has now announced a ‘Rake or Break’ promotion that kicks off at Poker 8 on March 24.
As part of the promotion, 888poker will select three tournaments every Sunday and target prize pools up to a ceiling of $100,000. In case the tournaments fail to meet the target, 888 will refund all the tournament fees, including re-entry fee, and increase the following week’s guarantee by 10%.
Coming up first as part of ‘Rake or Break’ are three tournaments – a $15,000 Rake or Break Monsoon featuring a $55 buy-in, $25,000 Rake or Break Challenge featuring a buy-in of $109 and $100,000 Rake or Break Main Event with a $320 buy-in.
A Revamped Look
888 Holdings has undertaken a major revamp of 888poker as part of its business strategy to combat the fall in revenue. The launch of Poker 8 was announced by 888poker in October last year. While Poker 8 promises to give a complete facelift to the company’s online poker offering as the first stage of changes coming up, the new changes include improvement of the graphics and site functionality.
Not only will the new client have a cleaner, modern design, and UI, it will also deliver a smoother navigational experience and a better multi-table transition for players muti-tabling. Additional upgrades will be implemented over the coming months.
Evidently, 888poker has brought in the changes after an extensive research and feedback process. A significant advantage for the brand is that it has a great squad of team pros including the likes of Martin Jacobsen, Dominik Nitsche, and Chris Moorman. At a time when the global online poker leader, PokerStars has maintained its path on the growth charts, and partypoker has turned up the aggression on its marketing and entered poker streaming in a big way with Team Online, there’s clearly a lot riding on the new promotion and its new client for 888poker.