Casino and Poker Become Intertwined Once Again in 2016

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Casino and Poker Become Intertwined Once Again in 2016

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The biggest news of 2014 was Amaya Gaming buying the Rational Group – the company behind the best known poker brands of the online world, PokerStars and Full Tilt. After a short period of silence, Amaya has started developing PokerStars, turning it into a global online gambling brand to cover every branch of the industry. The company has started by introducing casino games into the poker lobby, adding live dealer games later. It continued by expanding the brand to the daily fantasy sports industry in the US, launching its StarsDraft brand, and later turning to sports betting – first under the PokerStars brand, and later launching BetStars. And its example is followed by at least one major gambling operator.

Integrating poker games into casinos has been tough for a long time. Poker and casino games are completely different – one of them is about playing against other players, the other is basically a single-player game. This means that the two have completely different audiences. When gambling has found its way online, the two have gone their separate ways. Aside from their deposit methods, there are more differences between online poker and casino games than similarities.

Online casinos have their own versions of poker. If you take a look at the poker games available at the Red Flush Online Casino, you’ll see that each of them is inspired by poker, but adapted to casino gameplay. Red Flush players can try their luck at video poker, based on the popular Five Card Draw, or various hold’em versions offered by the operator. Poker players don’t consider these proper poker games – and they are right. The games available at Red Flush are adapted to the casino’s single player system, usually played against the house (or more likely a random number generator). The wins don’t depend on how much players are willing to bet at each hand, but rather on the value of the hand – the games make payouts based on a pay table.

It seems that casinos can’t introduce online poker to their players, but poker rooms can take casino games to theirs. After Amaya decided to introduce casino games into its poker software, another major gaming group – NYX – has decided to follow suite. The company has announced this year that it has added casino style games to its poker software, OnGame. So, it seems, if poker doesn’t come to casino games, casinos will be taken to poker players.

Will this harm the perception of online poker? It might. The International Poker Federation has made a lot of effort for poker to be accepted in the ranks of mind sports. I hope this new convergence between poker and casino games will not endanger this status.

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