The evolution of partypoker and MyGame – the latest improvement

The new MyGame feature that’s just launched, an interactive learning tool which grades your play and tells you where you need to improve, is the latest in a line of developments partypoker are making with the player at the heart of all improvements. Here’s a quick look back at how partypoker have grown since the beginning…

The birth of partypoker

My life changed forever when I took the job of “Poker Domain Expert” and flew to India on Jan 2, 2001 to help develop an online poker site. I knew nothing about computer programming at the time (and incredibly, no one in the company knew anything about poker), but I did know poker and they said, “If you tell us what to do, we can do it.” We went to work and history was made when partypoker launched on Aug 1, 2001.

We’ve come a long way since we started and it’s been quite a ride. We launched partypoker with one-table satellites (for players to qualify for the semi-finals of the partypoker MILLION where the top 100 qualifiers would go on a luxury cruise and get to play in a live tournament where the winner would win $1m first place prize). That event was televised in the U.S. and partypoker was off and running.

The growth of partypoker in the next couple of years was amazing. We became far and away the #1 online poker site. In less than four years time (June 2005), PartyGaming went public on the London Stock Exchange for nearly $9 billion dollars! As one analyst said, “partypoker is the Coca-Cola of online poker”. It was truly one of the great business success stories of all time. To give you an idea, the day the company went public, it became bigger than British Airways and MasterCard!

Sadly, in Oct 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in the U.S. (attached to a Safe Ports bill in the middle of the night with no discussion). That law essentially prohibited companies from accepting payments for online gaming sites. As partypoker was a publicly traded company, they had no choice but to follow the law and leave the U.S. (which was 78% of our business at that time). Some non publicly traded companies (like PokerStars and FullTilt) opted to stay in the U.S. and were not forced to shut down in the U.S. until Black Friday, April 15, 2011.

The growth of partypoker – online and LIVE

For years following the passage of UIGEA, poker was a small part of the company and then along came Rob Yong, poker enthusiast and owner of Dusk til Dawn (the largest poker room in England). He could see huge potential for partypoker and had a vision and a plan for growing the business. He worked with partypoker and created the partypoker LIVE tour. Rob is the guy primarily responsible for the re-birth of partypoker. You’ve all seen the success of the partypoker LIVE tour the last two years as well as the massive growth and improved development of the online site, both in the software and in the online schedule, headed by Managing Director Tom Waters. We all need to salute what these guys have done (and will be doing).

The recent growth and improvement of partypoker has gotten the attention of everyone in the poker world. Working with players, listening to their criticism and suggestions to improve the site and the partypokerLIVE tour (headed beautifully by President John Duthie), was an objective we wanted to achieve. We wanted to earn player loyalty and respect, and we’re doing so. Thank you players!

What’s next?

We continue to evolve. I’m ‘wowed’ by what’s available for players on partypoker now. It’s called ‘MyGame’, an interactive gaming coach to help players get better. You play a minimum of 100 hands (obviously, the more hands you play, the more accurate it is) and get graded on your performance – and your report card is ready the next day! Based on Game Theory Optimal (GTO) strategy, your skill level is determined in five main categories. Available on cash game hands only at the moment but set to include MTTs soon, ‘MyGame’ will help take your game to the next level.

For those players who can’t see the forest for the trees (meaning “Why are you helping players get better?”), you need to realize that players who go broke disappear from the community. The longer players stay in money, the more players there are to play on the site. Our mission is to help players improve so they can continue to enjoy playing poker. Everyone should want that because for a site to be successful, you need players.

We’ve come a long way on partypoker over the years, and ‘MyGame’ is the latest feature benefitting players. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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