The recent development of events saw the sports betting and online poker giant Bovada sell their poker side of business to Ignition Casino. Considering the fact that Bovada was doing really well in terms of player numbers and was one of the top US facing sites, the decision created many questions without an exact answer.
Those in the know are wondering if the sale is even real and, more importantly, what a company’s endgame is. Since everyone on the market is primarily in business of making money, it makes little to no sense to give up on such a profitable activity so abruptly. At first glance, at least…
Sportsbetting and Poker: Drawing the Line
From a poker’s player perspective, playing on a site that offers both sportsbetting and poker is a great thing. There is a crossover of players who get bored with betting and then decide to spend a few hours playing poker. These players, for the most part, belong to the “fish” category and represent what could be termed “easy money” for experienced player.
There is a catch, however:
From the site’s perspective, this is not necessarily a good thing. Someone who bets big can be a great customer for the company. On the other hand, that same person, being an inexperienced poker player, is not likely to jump in the biggest games available and even when they do, there is the rake cap.
This means that even if our big bettor decides to join the nosebleeds, the amount of money the site stands to profit from them is very limited. At the same time, playing against good players, the said bettor might drop a substantial amount of his bankroll. This is the money he intended to use for betting, but now it went to the pockets of poker sharks.
Bovada Catches On?
It is not at all hard to imagine that Bovada caught up with this fact and decided to do something about it. It would explain the sudden separation of their poker players’ pool from their sportsbetting and casino segments. Moving online poker to Ignition Casino they are making sure their big bettors will spend the money the way they initially intended to do it: betting on sports.
If we look at things from this perspective, the theory about Ignition and Bovada essentially being the same companies starts to make sense. It would allow the business to maintain a blooming offer while at the same time it physically separates poker players from sports bettors.
Think about it.
Poker players, especially the good ones, are not likely to just spew their bankrolls betting sports. Of course, it happens on occasion, but generally speaking, if a poker player is intent on spewing their money away, they will probably just join nosebleeds and try their luck there.
Sports bettors, on the other hand, have shown a propensity to join poker games simply for the adrenaline. Many of these players enjoy the rush and love to gamble, so they don’t particularly care about poker strategy or any of that jazz. They just want to have a good time and, if they get lucky, win some money.
Will Separation Work?
The question now is if this move by Bovada will achieve the desired goal. They are banking on most players transferring their accounts over to Ignition Poker and continuing to play like before. However, the fact that sports bettors are being ripped out of the pool may turn some of the regulars away.
Online poker has been growing increasingly tougher over the years and these days it is hard to keep a positive expectation in most games if you don’t put hours into studying the game and analyzing your mistakes. Soft spots at the table are more of an exception than a rule (as opposed to some eight to ten years ago). According to this Ignition Poker site review, the early table metrics show that the player pool continues to trend extremely loose.
The Bovada’s sports betting segment was one of the reasons players flocked to the room. Combined with their anonymous tables, Bovada offered the perfect environment where gamblers could gamble without being tracked by the sharks and sharks, on the other hand, could still find their prey and squeeze out a profit.
The anonymous tables will remain a fixture on Ignition Poker, but without sports betting recreational poker players to fill the seats, one must wonder if the room will lose some of its appeal. This is not to say that US players will stop playing on Bovada, but one big reason to do so will be removed after September 30.
We can only wait and see how this will reflect on the total player numbers, but there are certainly many out there who are not overly excited about their “customers” being suddenly taken away from them.