June 02, 2017

What Do Soccer & Poker Have In Common

No matter where you are from or whether you call it football or soccer, this weekend sees one of the highlights of the European sporting calendar and the most watched sporting event in the world, the final of the UEFA Champions League. Watched by an estimated 200 million fans around the world (twice as many as the number of viewers that watched the last Super Bowl), Real Madrid will take on Juventus at the Principality stadium in Wales.

There have long been links between professional soccer players and real money poker with a number the world’s soccer legends such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Teddy Sheringham, Tomas Brolin, Jan Van Soreson, Neymar Jr, and Tony Cascarino developing a love for poker and it’s extreme mental challenge, a world apart from the extreme physical challenge of professional soccer.

One of the more notable links from soccer to poker came when a former professional soccer player won the Dusk Till Dawn tournament. Anthony Gardener, a former player for such clubs as Port Vale, Tottenham Hotspur, Hull City, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday was the last man standing and walked away with £20,550, which is his largest live tournament score by far!

KamaGames have always been interested in further understanding our current and prospective players’ behaviour and interests and so looking into the correlation between football fans and poker players seemed an obvious choice to dive into. We decided to analyse what impact one would have on the other such as differences between the numbers of our players playing games on a day without football vs a day with football.

Using Pokerist historical data, what we found was very interesting and provided much more of an insight than expected.

THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS ONLINE

The research showed that if a match is interesting, exciting, with lots of action or is highly anticipated, then right from the start of the match, the number of people playing online drops by around 10-15% (this can decrease further depending on how important the match is).

During the half time break, the number of players at the poker table rose again but then after the break, the number of players returning to watching the match is reflected by how interesting it is perceived to be.

If the match results are not predictable, if it is still exciting with an unknown outcome, then the number of players playing Pokerist drops even more than during the first half. If it’s a predictable match with a result that is a foregone conclusion they still continue to watch it but also engage with their friends in-game at the same time.

The graph above shows the number of players online during a regular day vs during soccer matches:

  • The Blue Line shows the number of people that are playing Pokerist online on a regular day
  • The Yellow Line shows the number of people that are player Pokerist during an interesting match (Monaco vs Juventus – 0-2 score – 3rd May 2017)
  • The Red Line shows the number of people that are playing Pokerist during a match that is either boring, predictable or has a result with a foregone conclusion (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid – 3-0 score - 2nd May 2017)

Another excellent example we looked at was the iconic 2-3 match between Real Madrid and Barcelona on 23rd April 2017. While the ‘El Clasico’ is famed for grabbing fan’s attention across the world, this thriller kept on delivering throughout the 90 minutes resulting in the number of poker players online continuing to decrease during the second half (Red Line in the chart above). But the impact of a match being played doesn’t stop with the number of online players.

Unsurprisingly, it was evident that a high volume of soccer related words (terms like Barca, Real, Ronaldo, Messi, Goal, Football, Juve, Juventus, Bayern, Madrid) were being used in the in-game messaging/chat systems compared to the usual neutral words that we see day to day.

THE PRACTICAL USE OF INSIGHTS

Whilst this research supports the efforts to further understand players’ behaviour and interests and was great for the pure interest and the entertainment value, the main objective of the analysis is to optimise our promotions and player-facing communications such as push messages and to time them to achieve the optimal engagement rates.

SUMMARY

Football and poker share commonalities which appeal to certain demographics, be they the competitive nature, the challenge or the perceived coolness there is a strong correlation between the two. By understanding these correlations and using the data to further perfect your communications plan, you are likely to improve your engagement metrics. Targeting the right player segments, around a particular event, at the optimal timing is key to driving desired results.

To download the full report please visit this link

To learn more about KamaGames visit www.KamaGames.com, like us on Facebook.com/kamagames or follow us on Twitter.com/kamagames.

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