Though not widely publicized or known among players, one of the best-kept “open secrets” in the poker industry is that Israel is home to some of the largest online poker operators. Indeed, top international brands like Titan Poker, 888poker, William Hill Poker, and PartyPoker, have upwards of half their total staffs in Israel. The country’s multilingual population of high-tech professionals is uniquely qualified to provide excellent back-end services such as affiliate marketing, customer support, internal marketing, translations, graphic design, and software development. With war now raging, sirens blaring, and rockets flying overhead, Israel’s online poker industry finds itself quite literally under fire.
Online Poker’s Israel Connection
All of those aforementioned online poker brands are highly dependent on affiliates to drive poker traffic (read: players) to their respective sites. Though not necessarily common knowledge, anyone who has ever attended an industry conference will tell you that many of the top affiliate programs are operated out of the Holy Land. Nonetheless, each of these companies seems to prefer to “put their international foot forward”, rather than be known for work done behind the scenes in Israel.
Cardplayer Lifestyle was able to get in touch with some of the top brass at these companies to see if and how their operations have been affected by the conflict. Unfortunately, not a single Israel-based employee we contacted would allow themselves to be publically quoted, citing company policy. It seems that just like a good poker player, nobody in Israel’s online poker industry wants to reveal their hand.
We can, however, reveal to you some general information that we learned:
- A percentage of the employees in each company live in Southern Israel, which is located closer to the Gaza Strip and under heavier rocket fire. Some of these employees have relocated temporarily to “safer locations” and continue to show up at work every day.
- Israeli law requires that those who have served in the IDF also do reserve duty. Though we cannot confirm it, it stands to reason that a number of employees might fall into this category and thus may perhaps be called up as reinforcements.
- Thousands of Israeli workplaces are outfitted with fortified rooms into which employees enter when sirens sound. It would seem as though the offices in which back-end online poker operations take place are no exception to this rule.
We put a good amount of research into producing this article and the information we discovered was truly eye-opening. To say the very least, it’s admirable that these back-end workers continue to provide uninterrupted services to online poker players worldwide under the current extenuating circumstances. That kind of work ethic should be commended and it’s to the great credit of all those online poker operators and their Israeli staffs that they’ve been able to withstand the effects of the escalating situation.
Nobody likes war though and, regardless of whose side you’re on, peace is a much better alternative. As far as we’re concerned, we hope that both sides will know when to fold ‘em and that peace can return to the region.