Is real-money Facebook poker the magic bullet the online poker industry has been searching for ever since Black Friday? On its face, it’s definitely got a lot of promise.
After all, Zynga Poker (formerly Zynga Texas Hold ‘Em) has, at times, had as many as 15 million active players. More recently, DoubleDown social casino has unseated Zynga as the Facebook casino king and drove International Gaming Technology (IGT) revenues through the roof.
These success stories are just one of the reasons why gaming companies are tripping over themselves to create new, real-money Facebook poker apps. In almost every way you can imagine, Facebook is a fantastic fit for online poker players and poker affiliates.
If you’re getting ready for the world of real money Facebook poker, here’s some things you’ll want to know about its past; and its future.
Brief History of Facebook Poker
Zynga first launched Texas Hold ‘Em back in 2007 and was just one of the company’s many early hits.
Like all Zynga games, Texas Hold ‘Em offered a free-play tier where players could earn chips through game play, getting other players to sign up, and other social tactics.
It was a long-tail play that paid off big as small-time players happily purchased chips to keep the party going. (Though there are, according to some reports, as many 680,000 players who spend more than $1,100 annually on Zynga games, including poker.)
As a proof-of-concept, Zynga Texas Hold ‘Em was a smashing success that overshadows the company’s many other problems. Though Zynga’s relationship with Facebook has soured in recent years, the company is just one of many company’s that are vigorously pursuing real-money gambling/poker apps on Facebook; including Bwin.party.
Why Facebook Real-Money Poker Works
Real-money Facebook poker apps are an absolute Godsend for online poker companies who are facing an increasingly competitive environment. Most of these outfits are still feeling the sting from Black Friday and things in Europe haven’t been all that great either. Facebook, however, offers these access to a whole new segment of players who might never otherwise gamble online.
One big advantage that Facebook poker brings to the table is trust. Though most online privacy advocates would argue otherwise, most Facebook users actually trust the site quite a bit. Anyone who’s been playing Zynga Poker for the past six or seven years probably won’t think twice about doing business with other name brand gaming companies via Facebook.
As a bonus for operators and affiliates, Facebook is handling much of the age-verification and geo-location duties from its massive database. Throw in an older demographic that’s got plenty of disposable income and all of a sudden, Facebook poker turns into a pretty good deal for everyone involved – including Facebook.
Why Facebook Needs Poker
If you’ve been following Facebook for any length of time, you know the company’s much-heralded IPO hasn’t been quite as successful as it was promised to be. FB shares didn’t skyrocket on opening day back in 2012 and only surpassed their IPO price of $38 last week.
One of the biggest reasons Facebook stock never really took off was because the company didn’t offer much in the way of new revenue streams. Sure they made money, but investors want more money and that’s why Facebook is such a gambling-friendly company.
Real-money poker and casino games give Facebook an edge over their biggest competitors, Google and Apple. It also gives them a brand-new revenue stream that’s very attractive to investors.
Poker affiliates could hardly ask for a better situation. Facebook isn’t just the one big Internet company that’s happy to work with gambling companies, they also serve up a user base that includes around 13% of everyone on Earth.
If Facebook gambling really takes off, you can rest assured the company will happily support the gaming companies who made it all happen.
The Future of Facebook Poker
As it stands today, there aren’t a lot of live, real-money Facebook poker apps but plenty of them are coming down the pike. Some of the big names to watch for include”
- ZyngaPlusPoker – This is the real-money version of Zynga Poker
- PokerStars.net – A genuine shark tank that could bring a pipeline of predators into the relatively tranquil Facebook waters.
- IveyPoker – The first celebrity branded real-money Facebook poker app.
These are just a few of what promises to be a boatload of poker apps on the world’s most popular social networking site. So far none of them have really exploded and the market remains wide open to new online poker site operators and affiliates alike.
What About the Americans?
One big, unanswered question about real-money Facebook poker is how it’s going to be impacted by regulated online gambling in the United States. As is stands, Ultimate Poker has a social poker app that allows you to play against friends online and a Facebook page, but neither one are really aimed the regulated US market.
In fact, established online poker brands like PokerStars and Ultimate may find themselves at a disadvantage when competing against established social brands like Zynga and DoubleDown.
Real-money Facebook poker could change poker affiliates’ fortunes in a big way. With the support of the world’s biggest social network and online poker companies; along with a billion potential players; and some potentially huge new markets like the United States – it’s something every affiliate should be watching closely.
Do you think Facebook is a good thing for online poker? Share your opinions in the comments section below.