Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 The Year Of Central And Eastern Europe?

Well, as many of you will already know Germany won the WSOP this year, France legalized online poker and their players disappeared into ‘French Only’ sites – and Spain will soon follow. These are now mature poker playing nations – though hopefully all have some growing to do.

Russia and the Russian speaking nations like Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan are also common at the poker tables – particularly at the lower limits. There are many markets still left, with the East often heralded as a potential monster should they ever catch the poker playing bug and South America already seen in increasing numbers at the tables… however I think that there are a lot of nations in Central and Eastern Europe which will show promise this year – it would be great to see a Hungarian winner of the 2012 main event!

Sure, many of the nations we are talking about are relatively small. Hungary with 10 million, Czech with 10 more, Slovaks and Slovenians with just a few million each and so on… however there are some giants with Poland at 50 million and Romania with 20+. When you add the Baltics, Balkans and Bulgaria then all of a sudden you are talking about 100 million people+

This is why I will be focusing on some of these countries this year. Sure, a lot of these people will speak ‘Western’ languages (English and German mostly, though some countries prefer French!). What I’m going to do is provide a couple of different tiers of information and strategy content. Really making good on jobs I already started in a lot of cases. There are two different routes for this:

1) SNG Planet. This is already available in Russian, Hungarian and Romanian… the Polish version got out of date so this will be fixed up in the new year (along with the French). My priority is to get a system in place which allows these versions (they are all 100+ pages) to stay up to date… once this is done I will consider other languages (Dutch / Spanish / Portuguese are all possible!).

2) Bonus Club Network: I have 8 ‘Bonus Club’ sites, these have a lot of reviews and information on bonuses, they also have a lot of strategy and comparison content. Again they are out of date… well most of them… so 2012 will see me bring them up to speed. I have some which have not been touched for more than a year (Polish / Slovak / Bulgarian versions)

I also have other sites in different languages, Russian and Hungarian blogs in particular… this does need to fit in with my strategy of keeping a smaller number of sites and managing them more effectively – so I am not going to go crazy with the ‘support sites’ or blog creation just yet.
So, whether you are from these areas or not then make a note to review my prediction for the end of 2012. In the meantime here are some links for the latest 2012 bonus codes / marketing codes for those of you who (like me!) live in the awesome Central And Eastern Europe!

Online pókertermek bónuszkódjai 2012-re
(Hungarian, though if you can not read it I guess it does not matter!!).

Бонус-коды на 2012 год (Russian!)

Codurile pentru bonusul de poker online pe 2012 (last but not least, some info in Romanian!)


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

US Poker Update, December 2011

US Poker Site Options December 2011

Started the reviews of the year over on my satire blog, Melted Felt, already! However thought I should keep the tone a little more sober here on Plan3t Gong – covering the latest news on US sites and my recommendation for where my US friends and colleagues should head.

My main US Friendly Poker Sites page is over at SNG Planet and links out to all the reviews and the latest news, in addition to some other articles which are covering specific games.

US Poker Sites December 2011

My top rec is still Carbon Poker, on the excellent Merge Network. They get the hat-tip over Cake for being…. Well, just all round better! Their software is cool (check the animations you can trigger from the tables!), the game selection getting better each month for both cash and tournament fans – and the bonuses are better there too – starting with my exclusive 200% to $600 + $11 SNG token with bonus code SNGPLANET.

-- Click Here To Check Out The Awesome Carbon Poker For Yourself

Don’t get me wrong, Cake are OK – in fact if you are after some volume of tables to choose from then why not try both! It is just, well, Cake seem stuck in 2007 for me… just how I feel when I look at their tables, their promotions…

US Poker Site News December 2011

Bodog are the big news this month. With their new software making play anonymous. They have declared this part of their strategy to keep the grinders away, after already reducing rakeback and bonuses for winning players. The biggest effect is that people can not use software to easily determine the style of their opponents…

I can see the benefits, though I can also see how so many players are angry! For recreational players who do not want to ‘lose face’ this could be a nice touch, after the usual ‘you changed it!’ clamour dies down we will see what the effect on this site is.

Of course, Bodog have pre-announced that the brand will leave the US at the end of the year… so this is not really the best time for US players to be depositing. I expect the site to remain under a new brand name… so watch this space.

No particular news on legislation, Harry Reid’s name made the online press again this week. Though on examination that story looks more like a thin hope than anything of real substance! Nevada are going legal within their own state borders, which is some progress. Industry experts are flagging this as a chance to build some experience for their operators more than a serious attempt to re-instate online poker to its pre-UIGEA glory.

That’s all for one post – I’ll be back with a more general update of my poker network soon.

GL at the tables, Mark