Zynga recently announced the launch of their own online poker site in the UK. Unlike the play money poker they have offered in the past, Zynga’s real money poker website will utilize industry-leading software with a high level of customer support.
Zynga has partnered with PartyPoker and will take advantage of their already popular software. In addition, player pools will be shared between the sites. This works in Zynga’s favor because their games will immediately have a sustainable pool of players, while PartyPoker is betting on the expectation that Zynga’s already existing fan base for games like Farmville will result in a large influx of new players.
The familiarity that millions of Facebook users already have with Zynga is what gives them a distinct advantage over other companies that try to enter the online poker market. The market is already highly saturated, mostly by relatively serious poker players. Zynga on the other hand has the ability to tap a market segment that is essentially untapped: the casual gamer.
Most casual gamers have played poker before, either with friends or for play money through Zynga. However, the vast majority have never deposited on a real money poker site. Marketed correctly, the new Zynga poker room could get tens of thousands (if not millions) of first time depositors to give poker a try. Combined with the inherently social nature of Zynga applications, we could soon see casual players posting on their Facebook walls about a tournament they are playing while telling their friends to join them.
To start, Zynga will only be offering real money poker in the United Kingdom. However, as a part of the PartyPoker network, their players will have access to the full network, which includes players from many countries. This should give both companies time to work out any kinks in their partnership before expanding the program worldwide.