14 September 2005

Where's the Peak?

A few informal data points in Hotlanta:
  • Shriners tourney canceled Saturday (normally 150-200 players)
  • Weekly bar tourney last night: 22 players (down from 60)
Hardly a scientific study, but the question remains where is the peak for the poker fad, how will we know it when we see it, and what are the ramifications? Let me start with the ramifications first:
  • Poker publications will shake out. Currently, there are over a dozen new poker magazines, everyone and there brother is hocking books or working on them. I would assume the magazines will get down to the core of CardPlayer and maybe one or two others.
  • Poker celebrities wane. I would assume the easy peripheral money will be gone in the next nine-eighteen months. This includes DVD, games, etc. Except for a very small minority of players (Hellmuth, Ferguson, Lederer, Duke, Moneymaker, Raymer, Negreanu), most will struggle to really capitalize on the hype. It is questionable that even these folks will continue to capitalize on merchandising.
  • Television peaks. I know that Britain has a poker station, but what will the television future hold and its marketing dollars? WSOP on ESPN has a strong future with the partnership of Harrah's and ESPN. The WPT is a superior broadcast, but there struggle earlier with the takeover debacle point to bigger challenges. Celebrity Poker Showdown is almost unwatchable (they must give everyone ten shots of tequila before taping), Fox Poker Superstars is fraught with problems (overly complex, impossible to know when it will be on, can't stay engaged). Plus the zillions of other programs. What does televised poker look like in 2007?
I need to dig into a few areas (Nielsen ratings, the casino poker economy, etc.). Would be interested in other thoughts of where we are on the curve and where it heads.


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