A recreational poker player, commentator, production wizard and content creator. Aditya Wadhwani is all of this and much more. We caught up with Wadhwani to get his perspective about the changing times in our industry. Here’s what he said.
I think an upswing in activity has always been around the corner. The pandemic was a catalyst of sorts for online poker, especially during the early days of the lockdown. However, the reach is still a little lower compared to other sports. That is a pretty strong indicator that poker in India still exists in a relative bubble.
Mass marketing, while a juicy proposition, will never be as efficient as targeting existing players. More focus needs to be on converting the already pro poker players in the metros into viewers. This is because poker is not the easiest game for recreational players to learn, and more importantly, make any money from. Legally speaking, companies have to put up the message that poker is a skill game.
The current mass messaging is some twisted version of—It’s like rummy or teen patti but different. This sends a mixed message to newbies. So they come, get cleaned out eventually by the regulars and pros. Then they never return. Those who get lucky early on and win a little, get that classic false sense of security or winning tilt and proceed to lose whatever they won citing ‘bad luck or rigged RNG’ as their problem. There are other contributors to new player dissatisfaction in the community too.
One is the classic know-it-all keyboard warrior and troll who sees posts from new players about bad beats and proceeds to belittle these people instead of helping. Side note, I love those players personally because they are the easiest money—the overconfident bad regular. Milking this player is a million times easier than the crazy new fish. Without a good entry point, mass marketing for poker is only going to get you so far, at least while the messaging has such double standards.
However, there are some content creators like 9stacks who are trying to pull in the masses. For example, their recent Heads Up Championship is a great fun format which could be like the T20 of poker. The point as always is to put out quality content and volume consistently.
I am working on more YouTube based content focusing on uploading videos and re-watching ability. Until you grow your following outside of the current poker network your growth is going to be limited. Live streams are going to become increasingly tiring to stream and to watch. The only time you get a good boost is when it is late at night, which also conflicts with the play time of half your audience. Content is needed and is in demand but it’s not quite engaging enough especially for what is being spent by some productions.
The recent WPT, IPC and PSL events with cards up has been a great step forward for content innovation, but it’s still the same 200 people watching it. For operators this must be frustrating because they’re spending a lot of money on operations for major events and inviting international celebrities, etc. But, they are getting out done by individuals on organic performance metrics. How do you even justify that to your investors?
For my own brand and poker’s visibility, it will be about shareable, relatable content that will hopefully engage people who are already playing and want a fun window into our world. So stay tuned everyone and support the growth of this content! Wadhwani has been a consistent contributor to the poker community. His efforts to bring visibility onto poker must be applauded and celebrated. We wish him more success in this endeavour.
(This piece was originally published in Gutshot Magazine Dec 2020 edition, and you can take a look at such pieces in our repository of all past editions by clicking here)
Gutshot Magazine is India’s leading real money gaming magazine that covers news, updates, previews, highlights, features and much more across verticals like poker, rummy, and fantasy sports. Our rich history that has spanned over a decade now, Gutshot Magazine has always tied up with events and tournaments that have helped push the awareness of skill gaming in the country. If you are looking for the latest updates across real money gaming, then you have arrived at the perfect destination.
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