Thursday, 16 December 2010

Calling all 'Web Wizards'

We are in the fortunate position to now have a large player base and good reputation within the affiliate community.

This means we get a healthy influx of new players in the form of referrals.

However, to compliment our drive to recruit more sub-affiliates, we want to examine the opportunity to get new customers who have searched for rakeback deals using Google or other search engines.

This is a specialised area that we can’t claim to be expert in.

However, regular visitors to our website will have noticed several changes to the wording and appearance over the last month or so.

We would be very interested to hear from any of our players who have some advice on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and how to improve our Google ranking.

We could, of course, just recruit some random company that claims to be able to guarantee a top 10 position for any website, however we would prefer to discuss this sort of thing with people that also have an interest in our site and in online poker in general.

If it turns out that any of you have contributed to a marked improvement in our website performance then we would certainly be looking to reward you.

I hope to hear from many of you in the near future.

Friday, 26 November 2010

VC moves to Entraction. Bad for players?

It has been announced that VC Poker are moving, in mid December, from iPoker to Entraction.

Regardless of the whole ‘did they jump or were they pushed?’ discussion, we are interested to consider the various ways that this affects the poker player with a VC account.

Obviously, the first thing that becomes apparent is that the player has to move Networks without having a say in it. (please ignore the fact, for the time being, that the player can switch back to iPoker at any time if he wishes)

Let’s assume that VC Poker have made the decision purely from their own business point of view. This has the following implications for their customers……

1. The player now has to use software that is completely different to that he has been used to.

2. The player numbers on the new Network may be such that he cannot play at his preferred time and preferred game due to lack of tables running.

3. All the data that players have built up over months and years in software like PokerTracker or HoldemManager is now redundant and useless.

As far as point 1 goes, you have to assume that in most cases, this is going to be a negative for the player. Except in certain circumstances, it is fair to say that if a player liked the software at a different Network, he would play there. One exception may be that he plays at high limits and there is no action at other Networks so he has to put up with software to play the game he needs.

However, a huge portion of the online community, including VC customers, are playing at levels with a Big Blind of $1 or less. Entraction is currently ranked only 13th busiest by PokerScout but there is still plenty of action at most times for these limits.

It surely follows, then, that if players preferred Entraction software to iPoker, they would already be playing there.

Point 2 is related to point 1 in as much as the player numbers will dictate to some players where they choose to play. If Software is not an issue then the real hardcore grinders playing 16 tables 6 hours a day is not going to want to move to a Network that has a significantly smaller player base.

There may just be enough tables to get going but the option of good table selection may be taken away due to the fewer player numbers.

The subject of the ‘grinder’ brings us nicely to point 3.

Many players on VC will have a database of players built up over hundreds of thousands of hands.

They rely on this data in their PokerTracker or HEM to maximise their winrate.

That will disappear OVERNIGHT.

Bear in mind this example from an iPoker player that I know personally.

He has been grinding out rake in the region of $10-$15k a month for maybe 3 years now.

His deal on iPoker is good but he is maybe missing out on an extra 10% return each month by not switching to a more beneficial VIP deal that is STILL ON THE iPOKER NETWORK.

The one and only reason he will not switch is because he wants the other players to know who he is. He is aware that all the stats that players have on him for NL200 and up will mean that he can more readily adapt his game in different situations.

In other words, he knows what they are thinking.

If he were to switch to another deal on iPoker, he would be anything from $1k to $1500 better off each month in terms of his VIP return BUT even though he still has all the player stats in his own database, his winrate will likely be affected by the fact that the opposition will be less predictable than before.

This change in winrate, he estimates, would likely cancel out his increased VIP return.

Admittedly this is an extreme example but there are many players in exactly the same situation.

Let us not also forget that VC were the worst kept secret at iPoker when it came to attracting high raking grinders on high return deals, ‘illegal’ or otherwise.

So, in conclusion, I feel that this can only be a negative move for VC’s players.

It is not often that a site has moved, apparently voluntarily, to a different Network and all it’s players stayed as they preferred the new home.

Some sites have even moved to bigger Networks with massively increased player numbers and the players just didn’t like it.

The whole focus of Poker sites nowadays is to promote player loyalty.

What a shame for all those loyal VC players who are now rewarded with unfamiliar software, smaller player numbers and redundant player stats.

On the other hand, I would invite comments here from VC players that are happy with the move.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

November already!

Wow, I can’t believe I missed a whole month without posting here.

In fairness, we were away in holiday for half of the month.

Obviously it’s great to go on holiday but there is always the dilemma about how to keep in touch with our players while we are away.

When we had a lot fewer players we would leave the automated vacation response on the email and then hope that nothing major would go wrong while we were away.

However, now we have a much bigger player pool we need to make the effort to keep in touch as much as possible without spoiling our well needed break from poker.

Unfortunately, staying online is not easy when you are on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean!

When there was internet access the charges were extortionate and the connection speed was not what you would call ‘fast’.

It was not unusual for us to take 10 mins just to open an email, read the contents and write a simple 2 line reply and send it.

Fortunately nothing much happened during the holiday and we are fortunate to have some very patient and understanding players too.

At least by answering some of the emails and filtering out the junk and spam, there were not 350 mails waiting when we finally returned.

We’ve been back 6 days now and probably just about caught up.

I think I need a holiday…………….

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The new look site is here!

After much deliberation and discussion, we have finally completed our new look website.

Regular visitors will still see the same familiar colour scheme but there are a couple of major changes and what we hope are improvements.

We felt that the home page was getting just a little too full up with information so we have decided to create different sections of the website that are dedicated to each of the different Networks and then group the deals into the different Networks.

Just choose the tab down the side for the Network that most interests you and you will find the selection of deals that we have for that particular Network.

To assist those that are new to Online poker or maybe just a little in the dark about certain things, we have added a table on the home page that links to PokerScout so you can see, in real time, the top 10 busiest Networks and the player numbers at that specific moment.

We have also created a brand new page that explains the different types of rake calculation methods that sites use and how they affect different styles of play.

We hope that we are providing a service that benefits both novice players and experienced grinders alike.

Any feedback on the new site and possible new content that you would like to see would be greatly appreciated.

(Tetleyboy )

Friday, 10 September 2010

Summer's over...

It seems that the summer months are finally over, at leat for us in the Northern Hemisphere, which is good news for the poker affiliate.

Player volume shows a marked decrease at this time of year due to the obvious things like holidays and the fact that better weather means players spend less time in front of the computer.

The challenge facing the affiliate is how to encourage the more recreational players back into the habit of playing regularly.

It is not so much of a problem for the serious online pro because he needs to take a break some time and summer is the obvious time to do it.

However, if your are a recreational player that tends only to play evenings and weekends then the act of playing less for a couple of weeks or months inevitably leads to you getting used to playing less.

For this reason we try to make sure that if we have new deals in the pipeline then this is the time that we make them public.

Much like shops will hold their best ’sales’ during January. Shoppers have gone crazy in the lead up to Christmas and a combination of bad weather, exhaustion from shopping and the holiday season and straight-forward lack of money means that shops will be extremely quiet in January. Therefore they offer the best bargains to tempt shoppers back into the habit of spending money.

This same thing applies to the good poker affiliate.

If we offer something special at this time of year then it will get a lot of people back in the habit of playing.

And if the deal is good enough then there is the added bonus of getting a lot of ‘dormant’ players active again.

It is extremely rewarding to spend a lot of time negotiating and finalising a deal that you think will be popular and then finding out that you were right and the time was well spent.

All of our players will be hearing from us in the next week with some incredible new deals that we have arranged and we are confident that they can look forward to a lucrative few months ahead.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Any Ideas?

We are considering an overhaul of our website in the very near future.

We think it’s time to maybe start grouping the deals by Network.

Have specific sections of the website devoted to the different Networks that we have offers on.

We also want to really promote our sub affiliate opportunities.

As we have said before here, sub-affiliates really are the way forward for an affiliate of our size to take the next step.

We have passed the ‘500 accounts’ milestone and want to hit the next 500 in half the time.

We are also considering sections devoted to our players’ achievements. Maybe a ‘Hall of Fame’ type set up.

We would encourage any of our players that have won tournaments online or live to send us the detail and maybe we can initiate them into the New section of our website.

We already know of one of our players that made 2nd spot on a WSOP event this year for a payday in excess of $500k. When we have permission from this player to report on this we will likely make him one of the first entrants into the website.

We would also like to hear from any of our followers about ideas that they would like to see on our site or preferences they have for how the deals are displayed.

We need to know that our site is as interesting, up to date and user-friendly as possible, so the best way is to ask the people that use it the most…..

We are also keen to hear from French player.

After the recent changes in French laws regarding online poker then we realise that there is a market to be serviced.

If anyone out there is either a French player, or knows of one, then we would be very interested to chat to them.

Rest assured it would be extremely worthwhile for anybody that is able to assist us in this huge marketplace.

I look forward to hearing back from many of you with your ideas and comments.


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Recruiting sub-affiliates.

Once we established the whole ‘Tetleyboy Affiliates’ name and built up a good player base (400+ at time of posting) then the next stage is to see how best to start spreading the word without spending fortunes on advertising, which may not prove cost effective in any case.

It seems that the use of sub-affiliates is the answer.

Many of the deals we have allow us room to recruit sub-affiliates to offer the same excellent deal to the players and also have a worthwhile commission for themselves.

If you look at some of the so called ‘big boys’ in the rake back affiliate world, they will offer opportunities for anyone to act as their sub-affiliate.

Generally the sub-affiliate is looking at a commission of maybe 2-3% of the gross rake that their players generate.

This is a tiny incentive for the ‘sub’ but the main sites get away with this because they are able to allow the ‘subs’ to promote extras like rake races that the ‘sub’ would not normally be able to offer.

They use the fact that they have a huge player base generating high amounts of rake to offer special promotions to add extra value for the players and, subsequently, for the sub-affiliate’s players too.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and is an excellent business strategy and very attractive for a lot of players.


It is likely that by acting as our sub-affiliate that players get a better deal and the ‘sub’ gets a bigger percentage too. Everybody wins!

Admittedly, we don’t have the facility to offer giant rake races but players these days are far more knowledgeable about these sorts of things.

They realise that they are not realistically going to get any extra value from these races and so everything comes down to the quality of the basic standard deal and what they get back from it each month.

We are confident that our own standard deals are always as good and, in many cases, actually better value for the player.

We offer extras that other affiliates don’t as they feel that they are already offering the extra value in their exclusive promotions.

We feel that the better deals, the real value extras that we provide, all coupled with our customer service, means that our sub-affiliates are in a better position to recruit players.

There is also the advantage of the fact that your deals will stand out from the rest.

Because so many people choose to sub-affiliate for the biggest, well known sites, the market is flooded with offers that are all identical.

By using our deals, the prospective new player will actually be reading about offers and extras that he has not read a hundred times before.

When all things are considered, we feel that for a player to be successful as a sub-affiliate, we have deals that will afford the best opportunity for that to happen.

We also like the idea of ‘subs’ trading off the good name of Tetleyboy Affiliates.

It’s all good for us and it’s an excellent way for us to spread the word about who we are and what we do.

If you feel you’d like to explore the possibilities of being a ‘Tetley-sub’ then please get in touch.

The more, the merrier….


Saturday, 24 July 2010

Malta here we come............

So I’m working away, doing things that affiliates do, when I am contacted on MSN by the manager at Poker Idol. He tells me to check out a tournament that is taking place later that evening.

It’s the final qualifier for their ‘Malta Madness’ tournament. First prize is a $3k package to Malta including Live tournament entry, flights, hotel, boat party etc…..

It’s $220 to enter and there are currently only FIVE entered.

This was, admittedly, still 6 hours before the tournament starts but the manager insists he thinks the tournament will struggle to gain just the 15 players needed to cover the cost of the package.

I contacted a number of my players to bring this to their attention.

Only one responded, surprisingly, as I know a number of my players are keen tournament players and would appreciate the notification.

I kept the software open all day and with just 1 hour to go there were 10 entrants.

I vow to myself that if there are fewer than 15 players 2 mins before the start then I will have to enter.

Sure enough, I register with 30 seconds to go and am number 15 and the final player to register.

Didn’t really see many hands in the first 2 or 3 levels and hit the first break with about 4800 of the 5000 starting chips and placed 9th of the remaining 13 players.

Then I start to hit a few hands in the second session and find myself 2nd in Chips on about 12500 with 10 left.

I’m always happy to make a final table, even if there are only 15 players to start with!!

I’m sitting comfortably now and still in 2nd spot with 8 left when I get dealt KK.

UTG raises and I put in a good size raise. Only the UTG guy calls.

Flop is J high with 2 clubs. I have 2 red Kings.

He checks to me and I bet just over half the pot which is actual about half my opponent’s stack. He calls.

Turn is a Queen of clubs. We both check.

River is another club.

We both check and his pair of 2’s with a club wins the pot. (Nice call preflop and flop I thought..)

I’m still ok though but back in midfield rather than big stacked.

As we get down to 7 left I knock out 2 smaller stacks in 3 hands and I am now chip leader with 5 left.

I’m checking my passport is in date now and I hear the sound of suitcases being dusted off.

I then take a big chunk off the other big stack and I’m comfortably chip leader with just over half of the chips in play.

I then come back to the field when I have to call a couple of all in’s from the 2 short stacks and end up doubling them up.

We get down to heads up when the other big stack knocks out both short stacks and gives himself 55k to my 20k.
I admit to not being the best HU player, mainly due to the fact that it’s pretty unusual for me to get this far in a tournament, but I figure that I only need to hit a few half decent hands and this is all mine….

Of course I hit endless 9-2, 7-3, 10-3, 9-5, etc…

The one time I got dealt JJ and I min raised pre flop. He called, the flop cam J high and he OPEN FOLDED!!

When that happened I stopped applying the sun cream and put away my Maltese phrase book.

This obviously wasn’t going to be my day…..

The final hand saw me all in with 3-3 v AQ. The board ended up double paired which counterfeited my pair.

I then realised that the person who won was my friend from earlier on who’d done me with the pocket deuces!!

Although very disappointed, I can’t remember the last time I got such a buzz playing in a tournament.

It made me realise that there really is some insane value out there if you look so I’ve made it my mission to keep trawling the sites to find these little gems.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Good service is not ‘rake dependent’.

How do you keep players loyal?

Once you have a significant player base, the next dilemma for the affiliate is how to keep players actually playing.

With the industry being so competitive now, any affiliate that is serious about his job cannot afford to just sign up a player and assume he’ll just keep playing and generating commission for him.

You would hope that the player has chosen you at first because he felt that your deal and service were the best option for him at the time.

However, if your attitude, as the affiliate, is that your job is now done, then you are not going to be successful.

Just because you provided the best option 3 months ago does not mean that the player is not constantly looking around, just to make sure he can’t do better.

The duty of the affiliate is to make sure that he continues to offer the best deals and service for every single player.

You have to make sure that there is not another option out there that is clearly better than what you offer and, if there is, do whatever you can to ensure you provide a reasonable alternative for your players, just in case they start considering a change.

This is a full time job in itself.

It is very easy to spend time on a player that rakes $15k a month, bend over backwards for him, answer his emails before others and generally ‘go the extra mile’.

But the mark of the good affiliate is to do this for every single player.

The guy that played a few $1 MTT’s last month who is asking you about the VIP system on iPoker is just as important. He is asking you because he does not know and he sees you as the person to answer his questions.

As the affiliate, you must never lose site of what you are supposed to be doing.

You are offering a service to the players. This is not ‘rake dependent’ or ‘volume related’.

You cannot be successful if you don’t appreciate something as fundamental as ’best service for all customers’.

The guy that made you $0.03 in commission last month may just know somebody who grinds on PokerStars and rakes $10k a month.

If you spent hour after hour on MSN explaining how a VIP system worked or even just chatting to the guy that just moved house and was unable to play lately but was hoping to start again soon, who will they recommend when their $10k raker friend tells then they are thinking of moving from Stars because they can’t play any longer without some sort of rake back?

The nature of the industry is such that large scale advertising is not really cost effective for mid-sized affiliates like ourselves.

More new business is going to come from referrals and ‘word of mouth’ and, for that very reason, every single one of your players is equally important as the rest, regardless of whether they rake $10k a month or $0.

If you are doing your job well then you should notice a pattern….

Players who have not even played under you for maybe a year will still contact you to see if you can hook their friend up with a deal. Players that rake high amounts will contact you BEFORE they consider some other deal that apparently returns higher amounts.

It is like a show of loyalty for the good service. They are thinking of moving to a different deal but wanted to give you the chance to at least match it and keep their business.

If your service was not up to scratch then these players would move without saying a word.

The fact that they take the time to contact you first means that they appreciate the job you do for them and want to reward you.

The bottom line is that in order to keep players happy, you have to make sure you don’t get left behind.

A good example of this would be the recent move of Betfair to the Ongame Network.

This is going to lead to increased interest in Ongame sites and deals so we had to make sure that when players asked about Ongame, we have a deal that is likely to compare well with what is being offered by other affiliates.

The fact is that we did already have a perfect deal for that situation, but if that Betfair move had happened 2 months earlier, then we would not.

We would have had to make sure that we contacted as many Ongame sites as possible to negotiate the best possible deal available, ready for any enquiries we get.

And all of the time still contacting players, keeping them updated about developments that may interest them and generally making sure we have a list of happy customers.

I sincerely hope we achieve this but we also welcome any criticism that players may have.

We cannot hope to improve deals if we are not aware of the things that are wrong.

I am very proud to say that any negative feedback we get is almost exclusively related to problems that are down to the poker site, as opposed to our own service, but we still want to get involved and try to resolve any issues for the player as soon as possible.

It’s just another thing that an affiliate should want to do as part of providing the very best service possible.

I am sure that we would hear if we are doing it wrong………………..


Friday, 9 July 2010

What's it like being a poker affiliate?

Welcome to the inaugural Blog post of Tetleyboy Affiliates. Now to be known as the TetleyBlog.

I thought I’d devote a little time, on my first post, to a subject that comes up so much when I chat to players.

They want to know what it’s like and do I make good money?

My stock answer is that ‘’it’s hard work’’ and ‘’I do alright’’

Both of these statements are accurate but there is obviously much more to it than this.

I have never worked in an environment where the old adage ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’, has been more appropriate.

When I first started out I was a full time multi-tabling grinder who wondered if there was a little extra money to be made from referring players.

I noticed that it was extremely simple to actually register as an affiliate with any poker site I chose, but it was a whole different thing to actually have a deal that is likely to attract other players.

It didn’t take long to realise that getting a good deal is only a part of the battle.

The next obstacle to overcome was finding potential players and then you had to convince them to trust you.

As an avid user of forums such as Pocket Fives and Two Plus Two I was able message players that had stated that they were in the market for a new deal.

It didn’t take long before I realised that there is a massive amount of competition out there and you absolutely must have a website. Even if you have a player on the verge of signing up for a deal that you may offer, it is often the case that they will ask for your website so they can check it out for themselves. If you have to reply that you do not have one then there is a good chance that this player will start to have doubts.

Think about it……

If you had been contacted by two different people, both offering the same deal, would you prefer to use the person with or without the website?

I would never suggest that affiliates without website are not to be trusted and I would certainly not say that all affiliates with websites can be.

However, it’s an indication that if an affiliate had the inclination to spend the time and dedication required in devising and producing a website, surely there is a better chance that he will work well for you and get the best deal for you.

And here is the key to being a successful affiliate.

You have to realise that the customer is effectively employing your services and the better your service, the more customers you are likely to attract.

Unless you have a huge budget at your disposal for advertising, you have to rely mostly on referrals to bring in new business for you.

The hours are as long as you want them to be but the rewards can be there for the affiliates willing to put in the effort.

Being a GOOD affiliate is not just a matter of signing up a player then forgetting about him as he earns you commission.

You should make sure that you are there to answer any questions promptly and efficiently.

This may seem obvious but it is amazing how many players will come to me, complaining that their last affiliate was no good and the only reason was that ‘he never answered my emails’.

We don’t profess to be online 24 hours a day, and our customers do not expect this, but the fact that we are on MSN just about all day every day and including weekends, has given our players a sense of confidence that the affiliate is there for them if they need them.

I will reserve a different post on another day to give accounts of players contacting me telling me about their downswings, implying that I have set them up at a ’rigged site’.

Contact from players is not only, ‘my payment is late, can you chase it for me’.

Our players know that they can contact us on MSN or email about anything even remotely related to poker.

This leads to a very wide range of communication subjects and we would not have it any other way.

The bottom line is that we LOVE poker and LOVE to talk about poker and anything related to poker.

We spend up to 12 hours a day contacting poker sites, negotiating deals, finalising new promotions to advertise, processing player payments, following up on enquiries, updating websites, chatting to potential new players, explaining how VIP deals work, bonus release rates, etc….

But we wouldn’t want it any other way because that is what we LOVE doing and we hope this comes through in our quality of service.

It seems that this initial post to launch our Blog page has turned into self promotion but I’m not going to apologise for that.

We are proud of the job we do here and we feel confident that our players appreciate it.

Future posts will likely involve topics relating to all aspects of the poker industry but don’t be surprised if a little self-advertising slips in……..

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and that you will check back regularly to see what’s going on in the world of your favourite poker affiliate.

Good luck at the tables.