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His finger is on the Pulse of Online Poker

His finger is on the Pulse of Online Poker 0001

Everyone who follows poker has seen the explosion of online poker in the last few years, but I would bet that no one as seen it quite as clearly as Dennis Boyko. Dennis is the founder, and president of, which is a website that tracks the number of players at online poker sites, as well as the amount of money that these players bet everyday.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Dennis about the changes he has seen in the online poker world, and what trends he sees that will continue, and some that may not.

PN: How did you get the idea for Poker pulse, and when did you launch?

DB: We went live online in July 2002. I come from a telecom background, I used to build network management software, and after 9/11, the telecom business dried up, and I was looking for work. I knew a lot about online poker, so I started tracking the rooms. I had no idea the poker business would explode like it did, and so poker has become a good business opportunity, and I stuck with it.

PN: What trends are you noticing now as far as player flow?

DB: We seem to be in a real growth period. Rooms are very much growing at a parallel rate. I think we might see a flattening off in the spring, and then it might pick back up again around, and after the WSOP. Assuming a player from an online room wins.

PN: What is the biggest amount wagered in a single day that you can remember?

DB: Its been this month for sure, its probably been somewhere upwards of 191 million dollars. It was just recently. I think it was on a Friday or a Saturday. Interestingly enough, Sundays have been down, but I think that's due to the NFL playoffs. I haven't seen it hit 200 million yet, but it probably will.

PN: So I assume Fridays & Saturdays are the biggest days of the week?

DB: It didn't used to be, but now it seems to be more and more Friday, and Saturday. There's really no pattern. Every time I think I find a pattern, I find a counter case for it.

PN: Any of the newer online rooms surprising you as far quantity of real money players?

DB: I've seen a very big increase at 24hPoker which just went to B-to-B poker (the combining of many different online rooms along one network). 24hourpoker have some new rooms; I think they picked some up in September. Their volume went up 10 fold, and it has tripled since then. Also, Full Tilt Poker, and Bodog poker. In fact, particularly Bodog poker….Again, since around October Bodog has increased substantially, by a factor of about three.

PN: Can anyone catch Party Poker?

DB: Unpredictable. When I started out, Party was definitely not in the number one slot. But they kind of grew out of the blue, and they came up with some very good strategies I guess, and executed them. Whether someone else can come up with something…I can't imagine what it would be, but there are a lot of smart people out there.

PN: I notice you follow some court cases relevant to online poker on your site. Any one stick out right now that you feel may really shape the future of online poker?

DB: There are a lot of them. Everything from WTO case {The nation of Antigua has filed a grievance with the World Trade Organization against the U.S. Government – A case where the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua. The U.S. has about another two weeks to file an appeal}. The Yahoo case in California {An attempt to protect the right to promote online gaming sites by invoking the First Amendment}, the 17200 case, even though it has lost its appeal, we still haven't seen a resolution there.

PN: Do you have any sense of, or an opinion on if and when U.S. government regulation of online poker will happen?

DB: Again. Unpredictable. It's a complex area. I think the model that makes a lot of sense is the U.K. model, where they are recognizing it, and coming up with regulatory models. They are debating it right now, and they are probably going to make a very nice move taxing it. I think a country would be smart to do that.

PN: I see from your stats that the total dollars wagered in Dec 04 is up about 15 fold from two years prior. How much more upside do you see?

DB: I think it would have to peak at some point. I do make an estimate of how many active accounts there are online. I'm still thinking its under two million, I'm basing it largely on some Paradise Poker numbers that were published. I've seen numbers published elsewhere that there might be upwards of 100 million people who play poker. Obviously, the number of active poker players would clearly be less than that. We still might not be that significantly into the potential full, mature market though.

Also, the euro/Asia market is huge. Not nearly the size of the U.S. market, and there also lacking in their broadband penetration.

PN: Any new plans for, ? What is next for the site?

I have several rooms that I will add coverage on. I'm always working on ways to make the coverage as accurate as possible. The priority is always accuracy. I have two or three rooms that I hope to add in the next few months.

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