ESports: Poker Savior or Competition?

poker-esportsThe past couple years have seen eSports rise to an unprecedented level, as gamers look to use their video gaming skills to compete and make money. Meanwhile, global online poker traffic continues decreasing at a noticeable rate amid complaints of excessive HUD use and heavy regulation across the world. So does this mean that eSports will soon scoop up all the recs who would have, in the past, turned to poker?

Perhaps not…in fact, eSports could actually offer some sort of popularity boost for online poker as we head into the future. We need only look at the rapid rise of Hearthstone – a collectible card game in the same vein as Magic: The Gathering – for what eSports can do for a game.

So it’s little surprise that poker entrepreneurs like Global Poker Index founder Alex Dreyfus and Amaya CEO David Baazov are looking for ways to reinvent the ole’ Texas Hold’em concept. In Baazov’s case, he wants “a new poker variant targeting the large and growing skilled videogaming community.”

david-baazov-pokerstarsHow is this going to happen? At this point nobody really knows, but it’s clear that the business side of poker is looking for ways to put a new spin on an old game. “Spin” is the appropriate word here because Amaya has already proven that their Spin & Go’s (combo of poker/lottery) have worked at PokerStars. So we can only imagine what the Stars team is cooking up now to blend poker and eSports.

Going back to the original point over whether eSports are a threat to poker, well, the latter still has one big advantage – money. Daniel Negreanu recently said that he loves playing Hearthstone, but it would be a financially poor decision to quit poker for the Hearthstone circuit. If anything, it seems like eSports will be a great service in revitalizing online poker and bringing more amateurs to the felt.

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