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poker-interviews

KRIS ROBINSON

Kris Robinson
Poker Consultant
Former CEO, Poker.com Network & Poker.com Poker Portal


Miami Florida, May 2006

I met Kris Robinson back in 2004 on my first trip to Las Vegas. Kris was traveling with Chris Morton both working for the same company that currently operates OnlineGambling.com & Poker.com.

I had a fun night out in Las Vegas with Chris and Kris on a Irish Pub. When I was going to Aussie Millions three months later I cached up with Chris Morton on MSN who told me Kris was going too promoting Poker.com which later became Merge Gaming after Kris resigned and the company was sold due to the UIGEA issues.

I had a blast in Melbourne with Kris and his colleague Paul Cherry who were nice to take me out to parties and a bit of sight seeing between my poker sessions. The catchphrase "We are adults" instantly became popular and we enjoyed a few pints in the Australian summer together watching Australia Open.

Kris and I have met up in Barcelona and London since then but the most memorable time was in Miami Florida, where we both acquired a N.P.A. t-shirt and had fun during the CAP Spring break event drinking cocktails by the pool and eating bad ass American burgers.

A lot of times you become friends in the igaming world because its mutual beneficial, it's good to have friends in the industry and because you share an interest.

With Kris it goes beyond that. We have become great friends and stayed in touch even though we have not worked together for many years and live far away from each other.

On my last trip to Brisbane, in February 2012, I had some good nights out with Kris and his friends as well as some lovely family get-togethers with his wife and kids. I have to mention his two year old daughter has more iPad skills than I do!

What has been the biggest change in online poker?
The regionalisation of markets. Originally online poker was one big worldwide market and it was a great model, you could literally play against friends from anywhere in the world. Then some national governments (or even state governments these days in the USA) thought that segregating their players was a good idea to make it slightly easier to tax.
 
But what they failed to understand is that a big part of the appeal of the online game was the ability to meet new people. And a reason it became so popular online was that it was easier to market a service worldwide that to separate markets. So the popularity will never return to its boom levels without opening up regulation again to take full advantage of globalization. Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen as governments take a long time to learn these lessons and rarely make the best long term decisions.
 
The drastic actions of the USA fall into this regionalisation issue too, as all they were doing was clearing the playing field for the big Las Vegas gaming companies to enter the market with less catching up to do.
 
 
How do you see the future of online poker in Australia?
It will be regulated soon, just as sports betting already is. It was never illegal for Australians to play, but Australian companies were not permitted to offer poker games. Hopefully they take a logical approach when drafting the new laws and create an industry that can thrive and provide good tax revenue.
 
It may have to wait for the next government to get done as the current parliament contains some politicians that are strangely against gaming regulation despite it being proven to improve security for players and the fact that their own review & investigation into the matter suggested the regulation of online poker and casino games.
 
 
Has something changed for the better?
The technology is much better of course. Online poker software is more stable & secure and offers more games and features. This is important to provide fraud free gaming environments.
 
 
Kris Robinson taking our rented car for a test drive in Melbourne
Melbourne Australia, January 2005
 
 
What do you expect will happen in online poker the coming years?
I expect that it will plod along as it is for now with new regulations popping up in different countries. USA will at least get regulated games at the state level. Eventually as the executives of the big companies catch up in knowledge to what a lot of us already know, they will realize they need to campaign for less restrictive regulations that allow global play, or at least in the USA's case federal regulation.
 
I believe the EU has already made the first steps toward drafting gaming laws for all of Europe because of the confusion they are currently experiencing between jurisdictions. There will also be much better software developed, enhancing the online experience further. Tells and other elements from the live game will be brought to online games to make them more realistic. Imagine if you could see when a player fumbles with the mouse or chooses multiple amounts before eventually placing a bet.
 
The software that has moved toward anonymous tables have gone in the wrong direction in my opinion. The games need to provide more information about players at the table, not less. Perhaps not about past game stats, but definitely information about the person at the table at that moment.
 
 
Any final statement you wish to add?
I like this website, it's about time somebody collated the online history of the game - good work.