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04.04 20170

March Poker Results – not that kind

PartyGaming, 888, and Amaya all released their results in the last month. I took a look out of curiosity – more so from a customers perspective than an investor as I don’t particularly like investing in structurally declining industries.

Segment breakdowns for Party were a bit hard to dissect having just been taken over by GVC (SportingBet to the layman).

In 2016, NGR from partypoker increased 14% in constant currency. This much improved performance was the result of a change in management, increased investment and a more focused approach.

A pretty remarkable increase and undoubtedly a market share gain from Stars (-4.6%) and perhaps some from 888 too (-2.7%) although I’d suggest the market has likely declined 2-3% just looking at these numbers.

Amaya give pretty nice geographical breakdowns – the Malta/IOM/Other numbers I don’t think are comparable on a LFL basis but looking at UK (-12.1%), France (-8.6%), Spain (-5.0%), and Italy (-4.5%) is useful. In particular Italy where (I don’t think?) 888 or Party compete – Stars have about 50% of the market – seems like a good indicator of where the market is currently headed.

Hello darkness my old friend

Amaya have managed to turn an operational profit this year by way of almost doubling their sports book offering (wow, their cross selling is actually working!) more than compensating for declining poker revenues. Interestingly, Party are doing the exact opposite:

We also took the decision to restructure partycasino and separate the brand from partypoker, repositioning the offering under a new management team.

It’s great to see a competitive market in action – it looks to me a few things are happening in the industry:

Barriers to entry are getting bigger with more regulation

Naturally there has been a fair bit of consolidation in what was a fragmented industry with historically 2-3 big players (perhaps more to come – PokerScout still lists 71 sites internationally)

In the change of management, Amaya have cannibalised their poker offering for the sake of sports book revenues and a variety of quick gains. I make out a blended operational margin expansion of around 7pp (to 25%) backed up by revenue increases – sadly they throw all the expenses into one bucket so hard to get an optic into how poker specifically is doing but there are undoubtedly synergies between the poker and sports so perhaps it is appropriate. Interestingly one could make some argument that the synergies are accretive to earnings and margin.

Party are really ramping up their investment in both their poker and casino offerings. I actually met the old management in Vegas and found them all to be extremely arrogant and it was very apparent they were on the gravy train (this was pre-Black Friday). A buyout and new management seems like a great idea for them to properly catch up (obviously helped by #3).

888 are still on the cross-sell model as well with sports/casino being sold to poker players. Is this just archaic? Or has Party got it wrong and poker can’t survive on its own? FWIW, I tend to side with Party on this: PokerStars ran with no casino, no sportsbook, in an increasingly regulatory environment and presumably did very well from it.

Two very different business models – I look forward to seeing how it plays out and if Party manage to become the number one site they were when I first started playing.

888 Annual Results (21st March 2017)

GVC Annual Results (23rd March 2017)

Amaya Annual Results (22nd March 2017)
The post “March Poker Results – not that kind” was first posted on Rupert Elder’s Blog.

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19.10 20160

David Colclough

Back in 2004 when I first starting playing poker, I played on a site called Bet365. David Colclough had a column for the site and I obsessively read them trying to pick up tips. I particularly remember one article where he discussed the benefits of 2.5’ing vs 4x’ing in tournaments. Another article discussed a satellite he’d recently played where they were on the direct bubble and someone who had more or less locked in a seat called an all in with kings much to the dismay of Colclough as he was one of the shorter stacks (the kings ended up holding anyway).

Before ending up at the University of Warwick in 2009, I did a brief half year stint at Imperial College London. At the freshers fair, David came and played the tournament and after busting ended up playing a bunch of heads up sit and go’s against all comers. I didn’t get to play him but I did get him to pose for a photo with my then favourite hand 97. He thought it was some sort of set up, hence his look of somewhat dismay, but I was absolutely chuffed.

Rup and ElBlondie

Rup and ElBlondie

I was an early signup to his poker forum Blonde Poker and for the last 11 years have spent more time than I care to think reading and posting on it. I still read it pretty much every single day despite playing less and less poker myself.

Down the years I ended up seeing David on the scene, in particular around the Midlands casinos (Birmingham Broadway and Walsall usually) always in seemingly soft games. I played with him in a few tournaments, even busting him from a couple. I chronicled him owning me in a couple of pots here (lol 2010 poker).

I grind away and get up to 19k before raising AKss UTG at 75/150 to 475, something like 3 callers and i’m first to act. Flop is A23 two tone, I bet 1125 and David Colclough is the only caller on the button. The turn is 4d giving me a flush draw. I think checking and betting are close, I think he might even fold a flop FD if I bet and even hands like AQ AJ he’s not loving so might only continue with two pairs/sets/straights/sometimes FD. He checks behind and river is a 7. Pots about 4k I think and I bet 2825 which is pretty big bet and obv for value. He raises to 5825 and I make a massively spewy call and get shown 85ss. Pretty awful call but nevermind.

The last time I saw David at a tournament was the APT Philippines in Manilla. I’d won some sort of joke package on iPoker which involved me spending $1k to play a $2k tournament. After I busted I jumped in one of the softest $10/20 games I’ve ever played. Across the room in the $25/50 was David surrounded by Phillipino and Chinese business men [1].

Along with Daniel Negreanu, David was my original poker hero from his Bet 365 articles, playing with him the The Hendon Mob League, watching him on Late Night Poker, and of course, Blonde Poker. I have always found him to have time for people, be easy to talk to (albeit often quiet), and pleasant at the table. Rest in peace, David.

[1] Incidentally, this is where I played with Elton Tsang and a month later after winning San Remo I sent him a message offering to stake him. He declined, which is good for him, he just won the €1m one drop for €11m.

The post “David Colclough” was first posted on Rupert Elder’s Blog.

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30.03 20160

Photos: Christmas, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Sydney, Agonda, Kochin

This is Christmas

This is Christmas

Avocado, prawns, and smoked salmon for Christmas brunch

Avocado, prawns, and smoked salmon for Christmas brunch

Ham, leeks, and mash

Ham, leeks, and mash

Christmas day pudding, raspberry roulade

Christmas day pudding, raspberry roulade

Koopa must have sniffed out the cheeseboard

Koopa must have sniffed out the cheeseboard

Had a day in Shanghai on my way to Australia - the bullet train wasn't quite as fast as Japan

Had a day in Shanghai on my way to Australia – the bullet train wasn’t quite as fast as Japan

Stopped off in Fu He Hui, ranked 76 in the worlds top restaurants. No idea what this is

Stopped off in Fu He Hui, ranked 76 in the worlds top restaurants. No idea what this is

Or this

Or this

Some banana ice cream and mixed fruits dessert

Some banana ice cream and mixed fruits dessert

Landed in Melbourne, first port of call is Hunky Dory obvs

Landed in Melbourne, first port of call is Hunky Dory obvs

My view to welcome in 2016

My view to welcome in 2016

Taking a phone call in paradise

Taking a phone call in paradise

There are many fish in Australia

There are many fish in Australia

Had to climb a wee bit to get this view but my word the Whitsundays are amazing

Had to climb a wee bit to get this view but my word the Whitsundays are amazing

Another boring sunset

Another boring sunset

I tried to take a video of this turtle but accidentally didn't press the button and it had left when I found out. Fortunately did get this snap

I tried to take a video of this turtle but accidentally didn’t press the button and it had left when I found out. Fortunately did get this snap

The highest point in the Whitsundays. 45 minute 5km hike I think.

The highest point in the Whitsundays. 45 minute 5km hike I think.

Last known sighting of me playing live poker

Last known sighting of me playing live poker

Australia vs India ODI. Australia won after I left at half time because I was bored

Australia vs India ODI. Australia won after I left at half time because I was bored

Max very much enjoying the prospect of buying a watermelon

Max very much enjoying the prospect of buying a watermelon

This is Gin and OJ I believe, consumed via syringe. Straight into the veins, of course.

This is Gin and OJ I believe, consumed via syringe. Straight into the veins, of course.

The fountain outside the Melbourne Museum

The fountain outside the Melbourne Museum

Andy Murray presumably about to lose

Andy Murray presumably about to lose

First stop in Sydney was a Korean restaurant. Bibimbap + Mandu <3

First stop in Sydney was a Korean restaurant. Bibimbap + Mandu <3

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Got invited to Noma, couldn't say no. Was very very good, but Copenhagen was better.

Got invited to Noma, couldn’t say no. Was very very good, but Copenhagen was better.

Went on an epic 15km hike with a couple of friends and it was absolutely worth the leeches and dead legs for this view

Went on an epic 15km hike with a couple of friends and it was absolutely worth the leeches and dead legs for this view

Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

I saw "Beethoven Alive" in the Sydney Opera House. I had a nasty bout of what is colloquially known as the shits, ironically during movement number 2.

I saw “Beethoven Alive” in the Sydney Opera House. I had a nasty bout of what is colloquially known as the shits, ironically during movement number 2.

After Sydney I went to Agonda in India. This is my view of the beach. Every day there were lads playing cricket of football.

After Sydney I went to Agonda in India. This is my view of the beach. Every day there were lads playing cricket of football.

Lit a lantern and watched it float away. I can reveal that my wish has not come true.

Lit a lantern and watched it float away. I can reveal that my wish has not come true.

Just like Kings Cross on a rainy day

Just like Kings Cross on a rainy day

Don't be a pussy, this seems legit

Don’t be a pussy, this seems legit

Grabbing the low hanging fruit in Kochin, India.

Grabbing the low hanging fruit in Kochin, India.

Chinese fishing nets in Kochin. There is an absolutely incredible amount of litter.

Chinese fishing nets in Kochin. There is an absolutely incredible amount of litter.

Some cannon, no significance to me but looks cool and good content filler not that anyone is reading this

Some cannon, no significance to me but looks cool and good content filler not that anyone is reading this

Went on a boat for a night and ate these bad boys

Went on a boat for a night and ate these bad boys

There was a street parade for what I can only assume was for my arrival. These elephants they'd manage to tame down nicely with several huge footcuffs and no doubt a bit of heavy beating in their youth.

There was a street parade for what I can only assume was for my arrival. These elephants they’d manage to tame down nicely with several huge footcuffs and no doubt a bit of heavy beating in their youth.

The post “Photos: Christmas, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Sydney, Agonda, Kochin” was first posted on Rupert Elder’s Blog.

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24.07 20151

The ICM Paradox

For my sins I’ve been playing lots of tournament poker lately. I’ve have a varying amount of success: I won the Sunday Warm Up for $65k, the 888 Sunday Challenge for $18.75k, and some smaller tournaments. The headlines, of course, do not tell the full picture, and in fact since starting to play again in mid-June I am up $70.5k in total, which may be less than one might expect with those two scores alone.

 
The post “The ICM Paradox” was first posted on Rupert Elder’s Blog.

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Monaco

20:11

London

19:11

New York

14:11