From basketball to online poker
- Worldpokerdeals (WPD): Hello Mr. Bedulskis. First of all, we would like to thank you for the time for answering our questions. Let's start with some introduction; tell us something about your background, your job at PokerStars, your experience in the poker industry, etc.
Michael Bedulskis (MB): Thank you, and I appreciate this opportunity to talk about our Network.
I have been active in the poker scene for about 7 years now, having started as a player online and then taking a job at PokerStars in 2018. My most recent position at PokerStars was within Poker Operations, where I was focusing on creating tournament series, improving and optimizing PokerStars' daily MTT offering, and other tournament-related projects.
I am still active within the poker community and frequent the tables on almost every major online site.
- WPD: We see that you were involved in competitive sports (basketball) for over a decade. How has this experience helped your development in the online gambling world?
MB: Basketball had a major influence on my decision to start a career in online gambling. Athletes get used to tough, competitive environments and usually seek similar endeavors once their athletic careers are over. Some find success in corporate, such as sales; others move to trading or do coaching. Most athletes never really move away from sports and stay within similar environments.
Poker, to me, is inherently a very competitive game and shares quite a few similarities with any other sport. It stands out from other online gambling games because you are playing against real people. You can also study, improve and move up the stakes – this level of progression, preparation, and achievement is something that sets this game apart.
Trying myself in online poker after my basketball career felt almost like a natural pursuit.
MTT will be a major undertaking
- WPD: You have been appointed as Tournament & Promotions Manager at Playtech. Tell us something about what plans you have about the regular MTT schedule of the network. Are tournament promotions like leaderboards on the table?
MB: Network's MTT offer is one of the major undertakings we will be focusing on. We are not ready to share any concrete plans, but the concepts are revolving around virtually every relatable aspect of MTT offer, starting with new tournaments, quality of life improvements, and ending with satellites.
We are seeing increasing interest and interaction from players with our MTT-related promotions, so leaderboards and similar are on the table.
- WPD: How popular are the current Big Weekly events?
MB: Big Weekly events are still relatively new to the schedule, and it is too early to make tangible conclusions on them.
Overall, we are happy with the performance and participation. We have introduced a set of improvements to the Big Weekly schedule this week (such as moving Day-2's to Monday, adding additional flights on Sundays, and making all events 8-Max).
We believe these events are flagship to our MTT offer and will play an even more important role in the future.
Eyes on Spin&Go
- WPD: How about regular SnG and Twister Jackpots. Will SnG tournaments with no traffic be removed from the lobby? Is there any update planned for Spins?
MB: We are constantly monitoring game performance across our Network. If we notice underperforming instances, there are ways for us to alter the offer and mitigate this. There are currently no plans to remove any existing SnG's. While we don't have any concrete plans to share in regard to Spins, this is one of the areas we find important and would like to really elevate in the future.
- WPD: In 2020, the head of iPoker told us, "don't see how an investment into big tournament series would pay off." Nevertheless, the network recently held a record €2.5M GTD event. Will iPoker have a new approach towards tournament series in the following years?
MB: Poker industry is ever-changing, and trends tend to emerge quickly across it. There has been an evident shift of sentiment and interest within our network towards tournament series.
2021 was a record-setting year for them, and we would like to continue with the same momentum coming forward.
More Sunday-related promotions
- WPD: Can you hint us when the following tournament series will be? Can we expect a record guarantee again?
MB: Our €1,500,000 GTD Bounty Hunter Series were just announced, and this will be the biggest knockout series ever hosted on our Network. This shows our continuous investment in the tournament series and our focus to improve them. There will be plenty of exciting things happening in this department for our players this year.
- WPD: iPoker Network has grown a lot in recent years (actually, we spotted the cash games traffic doubled in the past two years). However, it suits only low to mid-stakes tournament players. Will the site host high roller events soon?
MB: With recent growth, we believe there is room for improvement and expansion of all stakes across the board. While we would like to accommodate high roller players, our goal is to have a comprehensive, diverse MTT offer suiting all stakes levels. We want this to happen organically, with gradual improvements to the schedule.
- WPD: What were the results of the Sunday Sale promotion?
MB: We were generally pleased with Sunday Sale and the increased player volume during it. This was a great promotion and learning opportunity for us to run as we'd never focused on Sundays before.
We are excited to offer our players more Sunday-related promotions in the future.
- WPD: Will the network launch new tournament formats (MTT or SnG) in the future?
MB: We have an amazing product team that is working on multiple tournament-related developments. While we are not ready yet to share any specifics, I think our players should be really excited about what the Network will have to offer in 2022.
We would like to thank Michael again, and we invite our players to check our unique iPoker deals:
- Top rakeback deal for pro players
- Exclusive rake races
- Professional customer service seven days a week.
Contact us to get a deal and start playing now:
Email: [email protected]
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