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    Paul Nobles Co-Owner Bluff.com | QuadJacks Poker Radio Thursday August 11th

    Posted by Quad Jacks August 11, 2011

    Paul Nobles joins the program to talk about being one of the first to offer rake back and what it has been like being in poker since the early days.


    Right click save as to download

    Cliff notes

    * Did consulting work with UB in 2003 or 2004, at a time when they were first showing signs of dysfunction. After 8 months, decided to get out.

    * Was in a concierge role. Came up with an idea to pay players back a portion of their MGR. Other people in the industry were also responsible for the inception of rakeback.

    * Majority of affiliate deals early on were done offline. Coordinated a lot of player signups with Scott Fischman. This turned out to be a very inefficient approach.

    * Contributed a lot to PocketFives.com back then. P5s did not offer rakeback at the time, so many player signups were coordinated there. Many P5ers played just on UB, since nobody else offered rakeback.

    * Many poker players would be broke if not for rakeback.

    * Bodog got into legal trouble early on. After that first shot across the bow, they stopped messing around. The companies that continued messing around are the ones that got indicted recently.

    * When someone has a bad experience at a poker site, it’s easy to convert them to another one. But not after Black Friday.

    * Was late to the Full Tilt game in a big way. Had a lot of business on UB and Bodog. Wasn’t very focused on FTP. Eventually realized you had to business with them.

    * Never had discussions regarding affiliates with anyone high up at FTP besides Chris Ferguson.

    * Companies took a hard line against players with existing accounts that wanted rakeback. I [Paul] told managers after UIGEA “this is now a retention business. The company that switches most players will win.”

    * Poker’s longevity was increased a year or two because of rakeback.

    * 2p2ers and such think of FTP as just Howard and Bitar. There are hundreds of people involved, and they’re not all bad people.

    * UB from the bottom up to the top 5-10 people were solid gold guys. Some of my [Paul's] best friends in the world. Regular guys making a living, going home to their families. Russ Hamilton and Scott Toms were scumbags. The others don’t deserve blame.

    * Blew the whistle on Netteller before anyone knew anything was going wrong.

    * Had close relationships with customers. Had their home phone numbers. If there were ever any problems, or wanted to switch them to another site, it just took a phone call. Was able to deliver better customer service. Other guys were not doing this at all.

    * The DOJ has our FTP money. They probably don’t have our UB money.

    * Bodog never pretended to be legal. You know they’re actually going to fight to stay in the game. Cake and Merge are so marginal, so they’re probably not going to be messed with. Still wouldn’t risk putting money online as an American.

    * If you leave tens of thousands of dollars with an online site, you deserve to lose your money.

    * When you play at a casino, there’s only so much cash on hand that a player can lose. Online, especially when a player gets on tilt, their whole bankroll is at risk.

    * The business isn’t going anywhere. Doubt Bodog and Merge is going anywhere.

    * Regulated poker sites will have some form of player rewards. Probably not as good as the past status quo with rakeback.

    * Launching a legal online poker site in the US without affiliate marketing? Good luck with that. Branding only gets you so far. FTP had excellent branding and still needed affiliates. If there’s open competition, the companies using affiliates will rise to the top.

    * However, there may not be revenue sharing for affilliates. More likely a CPA (cost per action) deal in which a flat fee is paid per signup.

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