June 18 2014, by Alexandre Dreyfus

Blog : Alex Dreyfus – Poker : the Californian dream and the butterfly effect.

Poker : the Californian dream and the butterfly effect (by a French Entrepreneur)

$4.9 billion cash for a LBO to acquire Pokerstars and all its assets. US Tribes and casinos to fight to protect their interests. That’s the plot. Deutsche Bank and Barclays Bank are the Executive Producers. Ronaldo, Rafal Nadal, Daniel Negreanu and 82 millions of casual players are the actors. Some have lines, many are extras. Sounds like a great Hollywood blockbuster. Sounds like a PG-21 trailer. Nope, that’s the reality. And what comes next is even better.

Last 10 years, poker industry both online and offline, grew to reach a first plateau of a market size of $4 billion. Like any industry, it’s now time to structure and build the next step. Like any industry, you’ll find people to say that’s there is no innovations to be made, that’s it  reached its ceiling. I’ll listen to them. People are by nature pessimistic, they like to denigrate. Figures doesn’t lie though, global online poker segment went slightly down while live poker industry went up 15%, again both in Europe and in North America.

Poker has been neglected, always putted in a background. A $5 billion background. Now it is time to wake up. It is time to embrace poker and give him what it deserves. Go to the World Series of Poker, to see endless poker rooms with thousands of players, including celebrities, sports athletes, hedge funds managers, famous entrepreneurs and Joe, your cousin. We can’t deny this anymore.

The top ten highest earning Poker Players – according to GPI’s HendonMob.com database – earned a hefty $47,870,701 in 2013. How does that stack up against the world’s most established individual-based sports? It’s a total that ranks a close third, only slightly trailing the total winnings of Tennis’ Top 10 ATP players – $48,566,433 earned in 2013 – and Top 10 PGA Golfers’ 2013 earnings – $52,775,979. That’s where it stand today.

We can argue and disagree, but figures are there. Rankings too. Who can talk about luck, when you see GPI rankings and latest WSOP results. Poker is a sport and a skill game. Last week-end,I was watching Rounders, a 1998 movie, with Matt Damon and Edward Norton. This movie has been one of the genesis, the sparkle of the poker boom for the years after. It’s incredible to see how the lines are still relevant, after so many years. Harvey Weinstein announced few months ago that they were working on Rounders 2, what a great timing.

Online poker is getting back to California, after so many years of negotiations and discussions between stakeholders, its happening. Yes. Its good ? Sure.  It’s actually much more important that it sounds. It will drive a new poker boom, in US and in the world. Poker needed a decent size market ($500m+ for California) to have hungry investors and operators to jump in. and the best of it, it’s the fact that whatever will be invested in California, will eventually fuel poker, globally. Thanks to the marketing initiatives that will be launched there, they will have an impact on the worldwide poker industry, thanks to celebrities and sports athletes, that have a global reach.  The butterfly effect.

Everything will change. Expect it and embrace it. Poker industry will shift from an unstructured and independent film initiative to a Major film studio industry.  #Mainstream. #ExpectTheUnexpectedMoves.

Alexandre Dreyfus
[email protected]

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About the author

Alexandre Dreyfus is the founder and CEO of Media Sports & Entertainment, a company dedicated to manage different projects, including the Global Poker Index, a ranking system for live poker players, The Hendon Mob, Worlds Largest Live Poker Database, the Global Poker League, European & American Poker Awards and recently launched the Gaming Player Index, connecting the world of poker with esports. Alex Dreyfus is the founder and CEO of Chiligaming, amongst other projects, whose technology was sold to Bally Technologies. Social links: Alex Dreyfus on Twitter | Alex Dreyfus on Linkedin | Alex Dreyfus Blog | Facebook Alex Dreyfus