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Nov 30, 2015

3 Entrepreneurs who want to change Poker

By RTR Dennis

In the mid-2000s, there was no hotter game than online poker. Millions of people worldwide joined the iPoker craze during its boom years while searching for quick riches. But Black Friday (2011), segregated player pools and a widening skill gap have cooled off online poker enthusiasm. However, this hasn't stopped some entrepreneurs from trying to innovate poker and continue bringing new concepts to an old game. In fact, the following three entrepreneurs are completely changing the way that poker is played.

  1. David Baazov

In just a few years, David Baazov has went from CEO of a mid-sized gaming company to essentially holding the future of online poker in his hands. As headman of Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStars, Baazov and his team largely decide how the iPoker industry will be shaped since Stars commands so much of the market. Their latest big innovation has been Spin & Go's, which combine poker with lottery style prizes. But this certainly isn't the end game for Amaya since they also want to bring eSports elements to PokerStars. Baazov hinted at this during a conference call by saying his company wants to create "a new poker variant targeting the large and growing skilled videogaming community."

  1. Kim Lund

While Lund might not have the massive resources behind him that Baazov does, the Infinite Edge founder is also working very hard to create a more-dynamic form of poker. And Lund sees great potential in working to innovate poker. "Poker has dramatic qualities that few e-sports games can match," he tweeted. "Also doesn't require super eye-hand coordination." He's currently working on a game called Hands of Victory, "which is being designed exclusively with game streaming and e-sports in mind." Seeing as how Hands of Victory is a work in progress, Lund is asking people for additional ideas through his Twitter account.

  1. Alex Dreyfus

Dreyfus, founder of the Global Poker Index (GPI), has slowly integrated more and more pieces into his vision. He started a GPI tournament rankings system, purchased the HendonMob database, created a partnership with USA Today, and will launch the Global Poker League (GPL) in 2016. The GPL is crucial to Dreyfus' plan to "sportify" poker and show people that the game is just as much competitive as it is entertainment. The Frenchman's hope is to take poker's image away from that of a get-rich-quick game—which it's definitely not any more—into one that makes players want to improve their skills and compete with better players.