Online poker special: A player’s perspective

Online poker special: A player’s perspective

Thursday, March 5, 2015 Totally Gaming

Online operators have to get into the mindsets of their players to maximise the customer experience. Jamie Kerstetter, a leading online and tournament poker player, gives her perspective.

Kerstetter is a full-time poker player and tax attorney in the US state of New Jersey. She is not only one of the most respected players in online and tournament poker, but she also works as a poker coach. How has the poker industry changed from your perspective since the emergence of major online poker platforms?

Jamie Kerstetter: “I think poker boomed with the Moneymaker win, and was going strong even if it levelled out a bit in the years subsequent. Black Friday really took a toll on the American poker market, and people are just now coming back to the game because they are once again becoming able to play it. I think the very recent emergence of new poker game shows and televised cash games are showing an increase in American interest again.” How do you reflect on the development of the online poker industry over the past five years?

JK: “Online poker was still doing great in 2011 before Black Friday. It was fairly easy to find great tournaments to play with enough recreational players to earn a decent living. After Black Friday, America basically lost its ability to play on the best sites, and new smaller, less dependable sites sprung up all over the place to meet consumers' desire to play.

“This was problematic because those sites were not exactly legal and did not have to follow many regulations to operate. Last year was a very big year for online poker in the United States, as the first legal online poker sites were allowed to enter the market, including PartyPoker, and Ultimate Poker.

“Despite resistance from some very wealthy and powerful opponents of online gaming, three states were able to overcome opposition and pass legislation allowing these sites to operate. The fact that three states were able to overcome such wealth and power to legalise online gaming demonstrates clearly Americans' desire to have the freedom to play online.” What impact has the gradual regulation of online poker in the US had on your activities and career?

JK: “It has had a huge impact on my life, as I had moved to Mexico to continue my online poker career after Black Friday. I was away from my family and friends for the majority of the year, and despite making the best of the situation and building a pretty interesting new life outside of the US, I was becoming very homesick. Being able to play for Partypoker in New Jersey has made earning a living while being near the people I love possible.” From the perspective of a professional poker player, what do you look for in an online poker platform?

JK: “I am primarily an MTT grinder, so I look for tournaments with good guarantees and decent player pools. It is difficult to have huge fields in just one state at the moment, but some of the big series like the upcoming Garden State Super Series put up huge guarantees for two weeks straight. I am really looking forward to some states compacting to offer bigger player pools in the future.” If you would have one piece of advice for operators of an online poker platform, what would it be?

JK: “Respond to and cooperate with your players, especially in smaller markets with less liquidity, players are motivated to help you help them make a living.”


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