Rant: The Poker People Have Spoken and What They Want is Time

Chip Stack
Poker players want chips. And lots of them.

What is the key to a successful business?

Extreme cost cutting? Tremendous revenue growth?

A great marketing plan? A wonderful team?

I'd say that all of those things are key ingredients in the primordial soup of business creation.

But the gold flies out of the pans held by the businesses that uncover what their customers value most -- and then they spend their time creating that value.

What Do Poker Players Value Most?

In the past month I have been inside the hub of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). I have watched the heart of this business beat, and I have spoken to a lot of their customers to ask them what they value.

The feedback has been overwhelming. They value time.

Their success, or failure, in their business depends on their ability to outrun the element of luck that blights their pathway to greatness.

To do this they need to be able to ride out those occasions when luck gets in their way. To do this they need stack sizes that afford some slip-ups.

Day 1c Field
Inside the belly of the WSOP beast.

This is how they find time. They are given bigger stacks.

So that’s the point of view of the majority of the professionals that I have played against. Fortunately, for this strata of talent, they have the financial backing to be able to play in the bigger buy-in events where time is afforded to them.

So what about the recreational players?

Value for Money is King

The media business means a microphone is never thrust in the face of a recreational player, but there are other ways of understanding what they value and last week was a prime example.

The WSOP decided to create an experiment -- no doubt because of feedback that players wanted more chips in lower buy-in events -- and the results were staggering.

A total of 7,864 players each paid $1,500 to play the newly created "Monster StacK" event, creating a total prize pool of over $10.6m.

Clearly, you do not need to place the word ‘Millionaire’ into the title of your event nor do you need to offer an exorbitant looking guarantee.

Jeremy Ausmus
Ausmus thinks amateurs won't play three days for nothing.

All you have to do is find out what your customers value and spend your time creating it.

It seems the recreational players want exactly the same as the professional players. They also want time.

They also want the opportunity to outrun luck, but most importantly, they want value for money.

It's About the Journey

In a recent interview, former November Niner Jeremy Ausmus intimated that having such a large field for a $1,500 event may be a little too long for players to play without winning any money.

I don’t agree with that.

I think a recreational player will be happier playing for three days for no money than busting on the first day.

It’s not all about the money. It’s about the journey. It’s about spending your money on an experience and then getting that experience.

If you love poker, playing for three days instead of one means you're getting more value.

The WSOP asked a question and received a clear answer.

People want more chips and it’s difficult to see how the WSOP can ignore this stampede. The people voted with their money, the WSOP earned a nice slice of that and so surely there will be changes in the future.

Will there be a whole host of Monster Stack events? I’m not too sure about that. But what I am sure about is there will be changes.

Controversy between Andras Koroknai and Gaelle Baumann
WSOP always listening for the rumble of the train.

WSOP is No Joke

Any business that ignores this sort of feedback is not really a business at all. It’s a joke masquerading as a business.

The WSOP is no joke.

They have their eyes open, their ears on the tracks and they're listening for the rumble of the train.

I have no doubt they are currently working behind the scenes to create the value their customers have just demanded.

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