Skillbet, which has launched an online poker variant, has announced that it has withdrawn its marketing strategies and has decided to migrate to free play to popularize its product. According to the company, its online poker variant can be considered legal because it is different from other online poker variants.

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In Skillbet’s online poker variant, two players play against each other. Each player gets an equal stack of chips and is given a place at two tables with computerized players. The computerized players at each table get the same set of starting hands each. The live players then play against these computerized opponents and the one who plays the best is considered to be the winner.

The variant bears a striking similarity to Duplicate Poker, which did not turn out to be a success. Although Skillbet has announced on online poker forums that its variant is legal in 28 US states, it has already withdrawn from New Jersey, Florida, and New York during the past weeks.

Recently, the company posted on forums that it will no longer market its online poker variant; instead, it will work on developing a social poker game that will combine the rules of the Skillbet poker variant with other social poker games that have become very successful. Skillbet representative Renel Revel posted thus on Two Plus Two Forum, “We are going to spend the next 4 – 5 months developing (what we hope will be) an awesome social play-money game based on Skillbet (sort of a cross between Skillbet and Draw Something or Words with Friends.)”

According to Revel, Skillbet has not been able to effectively advertise its product because poker players have been unable to come to a decision whether its online poker product is legal or not in their jurisdictions. This confusion is partly because other forms of online poker are supposed to be illegal in the US, a point of view that is highly debatable.

Skillbet has also been criticized by poker forum users for using prop players for organizing matches between props with auto folding, a practice that led to an artificial increase in the online gaming site’s poker player traffic. Skillbet has not announced its actual player traffic, but the fact that it has shifted its focus to social gaming and has stopped marketing its online poker variant indicates that its revenue has fallen below a particular level for the company to continue with its original marketing plan.

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