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  • Zynga Launches Real Money Poker on Facebook, but Stock Doing Awful

    Friday, January 17th, 2014 by Ryan

The talks of online poker, or really poker in general have been majorly up and down, but interestingly over the last year or two we’ve seen a few companies come out of the woodworks to take over and really become major players in the poker community. On the other side though, we’ve seen online poker sites, live online poker rooms, and even poker tours take a hit in terms of their popularity and their overall numbers. One name that you probably know, at least by name, is the social gaming company Zynga. Zynga has been known for offering free online poker for a while now, but things hadn’t been going great, and they’ve decided to make a change that was much anticipated.

The changes are that Zynga has now decided to offer real-money poker through Facebook, and the action started up this week. This is only going to be for players who are based out of the United Kingdom though, and these players who have a Facebook can play through the Zynga Poker product. The software that they use is actually through partypoker, which was definitely a good move by Zynga, as partypoker is one of the go-to international online poker sites. The talks behind this came over the past few months and even up to a year ago we had heard rumors about this, but nothing had really come through until this point.

Zynga started up in the UK market last year, and this was when the real-money poker aspect got rolling thanks to their decision to partner with partypoker’s parent company bwin.party. The decision to do this meant that Zynga’s real-money poker players who are in the United Kingdom are going to join up with the player pool from bwin.party. This looked as though it was going to be a very good move and one that could change things for Zynga, but unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned. The boost in traffic that was expected or hoped for didn’t end up happening. The app itself uses the partypoker software, the partypoker player pool, and is completely through Facebook, but it’s not a major knockout.

Zynga was originally planning to do what a few others had done to this point, and that was to jump into the United States online gambling market, obviously where it was going to be legalized. Instead of doing that though, they decided to focus on the free-to-play social games through Facebook. The new CEO of Zynga, Don Mattrick said that the company was still looking at offering real-money gambling through the United Kingdom, but that (at that point) the best thing that they could do is focus in on the free-to-play social games that they’ve offered.

Obviously there is still a very real chance that Zynga could end up changing their mind since the United States has started expanding state-by-state and offering up online gambling in different places. Currently states like Nevada and New Jersey have done well to this point by offering this.

Regardless of what happens in that situation though, there was some bad news on Thursday as Zynga’s stock took a massive plummet after an analyst from Sterne Agee released a negative report. The report was based around the company’s estimated fourth quarter earnings from 2013. It also showed that the expectations from the first quarter of 2014 were looking pretty bad as well, and that was pretty much across the board.

It’s amazing to read this, especially since just a few years ago Zynga was the go-to option for social gaming players. They offered a free-to-play product that was pretty much dominating. Since that point though we’ve seen many other company’s step up and create games that have gotten a huge following from the social network Facebook. Just to name a few we’ve seen Candy Crush Saga, and Angry Birds. Zynga also announced the decision to shut down YoVille, which was a popular game, and obviously many players took that news with some negative response.

We will be sure to keep you updated on how the new real money poker application on Facebook does, and especially with how the pairing with partypoker does. The numbers should increase over time, but only watching the next few months will tell us how it will really turn out.

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