Rob Yong is fast becoming one of my favorite voices in poker as he joins a very small group of influential people willing to go into print with an authenticity rarely seen in the game. The man is a modern day Robin Hood, except he doesn’t rob anybody except himself.
He is one of the few people in the game that is focused on the grass roots of poker. Piles of cash do not fuel his visions and dreams. You are more likely to see him sitting on the panel of X-Factor saying yes to a mother of ten with a voice like an angel, than creating a poker business that brings in income at the expense of the less fortunate.
The problem with people like Yong is they sometimes allow their heart to do their thinking. This was certainly the case when he offered €1m to the winner of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) back in the Summer, and he is doing it all over again with his introduction of Online Club Cash Games at DTD.
“When you honestly feel that you cannot take a business any further, no matter how fond you are of that business, you have to walk away and not look back,” Yong states in his latest blog post. “That time comes for me when something I fundamentally believe in doesn’t work out, it means I am out of touch with the customers and need to move on.”
The philosophy and principles behind the Online Club Cash Games has been two years in the making. This is Yong’s brain doing the work whilst his heart takes one or two deep breaths. And yet it’s not long before the roles are once again reversed.
“I feel myself falling out with poker, especially the direction that online poker has taken,” Yong states before continuing, “If this project is not successful within six months, I will be leaving the poker industry and DTD permanently.”
There’s that heart again.
In business innovation is mandatory, but so is failure. Failure comes as a result of frequent variation, and that variation comes as a result of a lot of experimentation. Six months is an experimental phase, and if a business is going to be a success then often it has to fail during that experimental phase. I’m not talking a whopping great steaming pile of failure, but small incremental variations that eventual lead to one hell of a product.
Poker has evolved and whether we like it or not, there are probably more people comfortable with the current playing conditions of online poker than there are detractors; but this shouldn’t stop the evolutionary process. Everyone knows that the people in poker who succeed are the ones willing to take a few risks. In fact the only risk anybody should worry about is not taking any risks.
Rob Yong is a man who takes risks, but he is also an extremely smart businessman. DTD is a hyena and PokerStars is a lion. They both share the same savannah, but it’s the red spade that dictates the rules of the game. Online Club Cash Games is Yong’s way of creating a niche for DTD. He is offering something that Stars doesn’t offer; he is serving the existing environment with a newly evolved business formula, and even smarter than that, Yong is also casting a hand out to the lion. He is opening the doors for co-development. He knows in order for the niche to turn into something much bigger, he needs teeth that are sharper than his own. It is not the meek that shall inherit the earth, nor the aggressive, but rather the cooperative.
Yong is sniffing around his business and he doesn’t like what he smells. He has spotted that the existing environment doesn’t work on so many levels. Most people just stand idly by, complaining, and hoping that the existing environment will change. These people don’t get anywhere in life. They wither and they die.
Yong is trying to change the existing environment by taking action. He has appointed an Online Club Cash Games Manager in Blondepoker Moderator Richard ‘Tighty’ Prew, he is banishing avatars and screen names and instead players have to use their own photo, personal name and location; and only the people playing on your table get to see that information; he has created an instant Skype support system so you can call the ‘floor’ at anytime, there is a special waiting list for higher limit games, a Facebook Group, anyone banned in the live club will be banned online – and vice versa – and there are sponsorship offerings to those loyal to the scheme.
“If we have an online cash game room the same size of our live club within 6 months, I would label this project a success for a small online operator like us.” Said Yong.
Another virtue of the smartest cookies in the jar is the ability to hold your hand up, grab that microphone and admit when you are wrong. I believe Rob Yong is that type of man, and so I urge him to pay attention to me right now.
Recant your statement Rob. You are a rare find and to lose you from the game would be a terrible blow for the community as a whole. Six months is nothing more than an experimental phase, meaning it is already guaranteed to be a success. You have your measures wrong on this one, and I hope over time you realize this before the sand slips through your fingers for the very last time.