The two now have a brand new owner and perhaps, a new direction.
We’ll learn more about what that is in a bit, but let us begin this week with another big name from the online poker scene, Party Poker, who have just announced a significant upgrade to their mobile poker app.
Party Poker released their first mobile poker app back in September 2013 and it was downloaded immediately by a large number of poker players who were loyal to the brand. However, if they were looking to play all Party Poker games on their new app, they would be disappointed as mobile users only could gain access to cash games and the fast-fold speed poker variant fast forward.
In early June, Party Poker announced that after significant development work, their Android app would be upgraded with access now available to many of the sites popular sit & go games. Indeed, almost all sit & go games you can play on the website can be played via the app. The only exception are satellite sit & go games as at the moment, you would not be able to play in the tournament that the satellite is a qualifier for via your mobile device.
Currently, only Android users are able to download the upgraded software, but Party Poker have promised that the version for iOS users will be completed by the end of spring. This suggests that by the end of June 2014, there should be a working version available for Apple users.
The app release came in the same week that Party Poker rolled out a new client software for their French customers, where it is currently the third largest online poker company in the country, well behind Winamax and PokerStars.
The upgrade is certainly needed given the mobile poker offering of competitors like PokerStars, 888 Poker, Sky Poker and more, all of which not only offer cash games, speed poker and sit & go games, but also multi table tournament offerings.
For a while now, PokerStars and Full Tilt have been owned by the same parent company, the Rational Group. This week's news that Amaya Gaming Inc. of Canada has purchased PokerStars and Full Tilt means that new owners might perhaps also signal a different vision.
The $4.9 billion deal should be concluded by September 30th 2014 and when complete, will make Amaya the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming organisation.
Amaya’s CEO David Baazov stated that, “Over the past 14 years, [Rational] has become the world’s largest poker business, earning the loyalty of millions of players.”
“With the continuing trend of online gaming regulation around the world, the company has in front of itself an enormous opportunity to leverage its brand recognition and customer loyalty, to diversify into other gaming verticals [such] as casino, sports betting and social gaming,” he said.
Baazov stated that expanding PokerStars and Full Tilt into these new areas could result in a combined global market of “approximately 25 billion dollars” which is over six times the $4 billion Rational bring in at present. In addition to expanding into new betting markets, Baazov also has his eyes set on expanding PokerStars and Full Tilt back into their original marketplace: the United States.
“Rational does not currently operate in the United States,” Baazov remarked. “We anticipate that Amaya’s track record in the United States has the potential to facilitate a speedier entry of the Rational brands into the US; an entrance that would certainly be welcomed by players.”
Baazov also revealed that the company intends to bring out a new casino client later in 2014 and that the company is expecting to have a sports betting platform ready for PokerStars and Full Tilt by 2015, as well as maintaining a strong presence on social media through games like PokerStars Play, the free-poker social media game on Facebook.
Whether or not die-hard poker players will be keen on their traditional poker-only site becoming another multi-format gambling site remains unclear but that is certainly the direction the new owners of PokerStars and Full Tilt are taking the company. It promises to be an interesting few months ahead for fans and customers of both those popular poker sites.
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