A recent New York Times article titled Is Poker Losing Its First Flush? is asking some interesting questions regarding the growth or slowdown of poker. Some interesting excerpts from the article include:

Three years into the poker boom, the game's purveyors are out to prove that it is not a mere fad, but a form of entertainment with real legs even as there are signs that the country's poker appetite may be becoming less ravenous. Some industry analysts expect the growth of online poker to slow sharply, and televised poker is already drawing fewer viewers. The Travel Channel says ratings for its "World Poker Tour" have fallen 36 percent in the last two years.

Mr. [Phil] Gordon says he can now make more money, more consistently, from his speeches, books and DVD's than he ever made playing poker. As he stands in the middle of Caesar's poker room, a few poker groupies spot him and rush over to get his autograph, making him something quite other than the back-alley poker tough Steve McQueen played in "The Cincinnati Kid," the 1965 film.

Interesting news to hear, especially with word on the street that PokerStars is up for a $1 billion pound float ($2 billion US) on the London Exchange. For anyone that reads this site often, you'll know that even though it's obvious I'm a fan of Party Poker, I really have nothing but good words to say about PokerStars as well. It's good to see them doing well and hopefully getting something out of the market, in the event that the popularity of poker is dwindling.

One juicy tidbit from that article about PokerStars however, is the mention that Party Poker will be releasing an online backgammon section this week. This is totally a surprise to me, as I was just coming under the impression that backgammon was starting to becoming moderately popular online. I guess Party is really trying to corner the market with their Party Gaming Platform approach, which is meant to be an one-stop shop for everything gabmling related.

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