25 Nov, 2020
Just when the term ‘iGaming’ seems to be clearly defined, new innovations and revelations come along that change the way the industry works and is perceived. At PokerStars, we aim to be at the forefront of iGaming. We push boundaries in a responsible, meaningful way with the goal of producing an engaging and entertaining product experience for our customers.
To find out what iGaming means for our employees, we caught up with James O’Reilly, Innovation Manager – Poker, and Manuel Bevand, Lead Game Designer – Poker Innovation. With more than eight years in the company between them, James and Manuel are largely responsible for the creation and build-out of our highly successful PokerStars Innovation team. What follows is an insight into their first-hand experience at the cutting edge of the world’s largest online poker company.
But first, a potted history. PokerStars emerged in 2001 as a pure online poker product, one of the first of its kind. As we grew, our customers’ enjoyment of our product for its entertainment-value became clear. With customers wanting more core-entertainment experiences in one place, our iGaming journey developed into three main verticals: Poker, Casino and Sport.
We’re constantly pushing boundaries. Under The Stars Group, we were joined by Sky Betting & Gaming in the UK, BetEasy (now Sportsbet) in Australia, and launched FOX Bet in the United States. Now, as part of Flutter Entertainment, our journey is only just getting started.
The iGaming industry allows us to re-focus what we are and who we should be to our customers. With entertainment value driving a need for more meaningful moments, our innovative business practices and product offerings allow us to enhance our entertainment experience and compete with the likes of Netflix for consumer time and attention.
Speaking to James and Manuel about what it’s like working for an iGaming company like PokerStars, it’s clear that passion runs still through our core.
“It’s a place where you find incredibly intelligent, incredibly driven people,” said James. “It was very clear early-on that PokerStars’ focus was creating an engaging, safe environment for their players. That it was all about delivering entertainment on a regular basis, and making sure customers get great value for their money, while operating in an environment where players feel supported. I feel privileged to work for PokerStars. I really enjoy it.”
But delivering quality entertainment around the globe requires a huge amount of support and teamwork behind the scenes. Taking poker to the next level is fun, but no single team can do it alone.
“We can’t do anything without support from our legal, compliance, regulatory and customer service teams.” James explained. “The teams that put the financial infrastructure in place, the ones that make sure everything on the backend is secure. They’re the people who make sure the business keeps on ticking.”
“I feel like every role is important,” added Manuel. “James touched on the core of the business. But if you look at roles that are present in more industries (outside of iGaming), there is a larger focus on analytics within our industry. Data often drives key decisions in our business, given its fast-paced nature. I have a lot of respect for the analysts that work in our Business Intelligence department.”
As a final question, we asked James and Manuel why someone would want to work for PokerStars. We’ll let them take it from here:
James: “To be part of a company that recognizes and challenges its employees to come forth and try to do things better and have an open mind, I think it’s a real positive for anyone joining a new business. If I were a graduate going into a business now, I think it’s very hard to be listened to and taken seriously, and I think PokerStars is the reverse of that. If someone new comes in with a fresh idea, there’s a lot of people who will listen. It’s something that I’m happy to say has continued with Flutter Entertainment, with people in our executive team like Dan Taylor, Alan Clarke, and Kevin Harrington. Overall that level of transparency and honesty will hold us in good standard and provide a really good environment for new people to work in.”
Manuel: “If you’re looking for something that is extremely challenging but also stimulating, this is definitely the industry to be in. It’s like a constant moving puzzle that you’re looking to solve. Also, if you’re looking for a resilient, stable industry that provides opportunities for growth and learning, PokerStars is the place to be. iGaming is not going anywhere. There will always be the need to deliver an excellent product to our customers.”
From Toronto to Hyderabad, we’re always looking for the best iGaming minds to join the team. Check out our Poker, Casino and Sportsbook team pages to read some more, or head to our jobs page to see all of our current opportunities.
The game is on. Are you in?