Why the live poker boom doesn’t spell the end for affiliates

By iGBA Editorial Team

With things heating up in the live poker sphere, Tadas Peckaitis explores how affiliates can use the in-person resurgence to their advantage. Naming some of the biggest events still to come in 2023, Peckaitis then breaks down the best strategies to take.

If there is one thing that marked the poker industry in 2023, it's the rekindled passion for live poker. With live festivals breaking records and the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event setting a new attendance record for the first time since 2006, it’s clear that the interest in live poker tournaments is at its peak.

At first glance, this doesn’t bode well for online poker affiliates, as players focusing on live action means that they’ll spend less time on the virtual field. But luckily, there are ways to turn the tables and get the best out of this situation.

The poker landscape is always changing and if you want to succeed in the affiliate business it's essential to constantly adjust to these changes, which we are always trying to do at Those who do it right will continue to thrive, while the rest may well be left in the dust.

Here are a few tips on reshaping your business model to fit the recent poker trends and give players what they want.

Next stop: Bahamas?

Let’s start with the largest online poker site around, GGPoker. The operator has been a partner of the World Series of Poker for some time now, and it is the official online sponsor of the WSOP Paradise festival.

"The message from poker affiliates here can be very simple: anyone can enjoy a poker vacation in the Bahamas this December"

In the event you’re not up to date, this is a brand new series introduced by WSOP, taking place in the Bahamas in December and awarding 13 shiny bracelets. So, it’s safe to assume many players want to be there.

GGPoker has pledged to send at least 1,000 players to WSOP Paradise via various online satellites, and are running many promotions on this opportunity. As an affiliate, that’s exactly what you should focus on right now, too!

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about poker is that big numbers tend to lead to even greater numbers. After the record-breaking summer in Las Vegas, many people will have their hearts set on going to the Bahamas, but paying for the trip and tournament buy-ins is a big financial commitment.

On the other hand, by playing at GGPoker, they could make that dream come true while only risking a few hundred or even less. There are satellites available for every budget and opportunities to get additional qualifier entries via special promotions.

The message from poker affiliates here can be very simple: anyone can enjoy a poker vacation in the Bahamas this December. Affiliates just need to make sure they’re focusing not only on the event but also on added benefits and publishing some content covering other interesting things one can enjoy on the island.

Bringing back the NAPT

The North American Poker Tour is making a big comeback. PokerStars seems set to reestablish its foothold in the US, and after doing so in the online arena, it’s now moving to the live scene. PokerStars’ recent series in Philadelphia was a huge success, creating big expectations for the return of the NAPT.

The first stop is scheduled for November in Las Vegas, and it is another opportunity to give players what they want. Sites in the US have already started promoting the event, with the USCOOP and PACOOP Main Event winners receiving a NAPT package, and there will be plenty more qualifiers to come.

On the international side of things, the recently introduced Power Path promo provides a high level of flexibility, giving players the freedom to choose what events they want to play in, and the NAPT will likely be added to the mix.

"An added benefit of pushing the NAPT is that the festival will take place at the same time as the F1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas"

An added benefit of pushing the NAPT instead of a different event is that the festival will take place at the same time as the F1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas. This is an extra incentive for people to try and qualify, as they simply get more for their money, especially if they are fans of the sport.

There is always an additional angle you can take when pushing specific events, and finding something not related to poker that can allure players to visit the specific destination can be a huge win in the long run and a significant marketing angle for affiliates.

While NAPT satellites are still not live on any of the PokerStars platforms, that will probably change soon, and it’s an opportunity affiliates will want to jump on as soon as possible. If you spend some time preparing in advance and creating content, you can jump straight into the promotional phase when satellites are announced and capitalise on the opportunity.

Push for the world championships

December will be a big month for live poker, as the WPT will host its World Championship at the Wynn, Las Vegas. Unlike the other two tournaments, where you can focus on other things surrounding the event, this one is all about poker. But that’s not a bad thing. You can simply target a different, more serious audience.

As things stand right now, WPT Global is the only online platform offering satellites to the WPT World Championship, and there are a couple of major selling points here.

First of all, there is a big signup bonus that’s available all year round. But the room has made things even better by adding World Championship satellite tickets on top of the bonus, so everyone who signs up and makes a deposit gets at least one free shot at a seat.

"If you can target serious players, this can lead to many signups, so try pushing overlays and big promotions to take advantage"

Secondly, overlays are very common at WPT Global. This means the satellites that are running in terms of daily feeders and weekly main qualifiers offer additional value. While satellite games tend to be quite soft as is, the overlays make them that much more valuable.

All of this gives additional opportunities for poker affiliates. You can comfortably push the satellite angle just like you do with GGPoker or PokerStars but also promote overplays and added value to attract more serious players. At the end of the day, those who play professionally look for every edge they can find, so they will likely look at your offer if you can put it in front of them.

While overlays and added value are not really important for recreational players, pros love these opportunities. If you can target serious players, this approach can lead to many signups, so try pushing overlays and big promotions to take advantage of this.

This means you can tailor your content to different players and target a large audience. The choice is yours whether you want to promote the experience by talking more about live events and satellites to reach more recreational players or concentrate on extra value, big tournaments, and overlays to get professionals to sign up with you.

On top of that, newer sites like WPT Global do not have such an established player base, which gives affiliates a chance to target players even in competitive markets and reach more players than you thought possible.

All of this makes poker affiliates' future much brighter than it might look at first glance. Well, as long as you’re willing to do some research and adjust strategy based on players' needs, you can thrive in this niche.

If you play your cards right, there are many opportunities to take advantage of in the last quarter of 2023.

On top of pushing satellites to live events, you should find the unique value proposition for each tournament series, be it WSOP Paradise, WPT Championishing, NAPT, or anything else. Concentrating on promoting the experience for recreational players and tournament value for the pros will help you attract an audience ready to convert.

You can take one step further and cover everything players might find at that particular destination on top of the poker experience. This angle will help you reach players who might not be thinking of going to the event but become lured by the option to see F1 in Vegas, lay in the sun in the Bahamas, or visit a city they have never been to.

Couple that with detailed coverage of satellites and targeting more live players, and you might just come up with a unique angle. This will help you to capitalise on live poker's growth rather than being hurt by players' transition to the live field.

Keep up with the trends, give players what they want, and encourage them to do what they already want – join the live poker action, and your affiliation business will thrive!


Tadas Peckaitis

played poker professionally for over a decade and founded to offer helpful resources to players. He has launched multiple affiliate websites over the years and has became one of the leading experts in the gambling industry. In 2021, Tadas founded the fast-growing iBetMedia agency helping other gambling brands to reach their targeted players and acquire new customers.

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