I was chatting with infrequent commenter Dave about some stuff he’s found interesting and he pointed me at Bidibot to take a look. The idea is rather simple, Bidibot lists various perks at online poker rooms and you can bid on them. For instance, you can bid on a $11 tournament ticket on PokerStars. You might only pay $1 or $2 and get yourself a tournament entry ticket worth $11. Not a bad deal.
An example of some of the recent auctions that have settled gives you an idea on how big of a savings you can really get.
$20 credit on UB: Final bid $3.65
$22 tournament entry on PokerStars: Final bid $1.11
$50 credit on Absolute: Final bid $1.08
It looks like you can pick up some pretty decent overlays if you pick your auctions carefully.
In a nutshell it works like this:
Bidibot puts up packages that people can bid on. If someone bids on a package time (10 – 30 seconds) is added to the amount of remaining time. Once the clock hits zero the highest bid wins. According to the website it takes about 48 hours to see your prize show up in your account.
The trick here is that each bid costs you win or lose. So, if I the price starts out at $1.00 and I place the first bid taking the price to $1.01 that bid costs me $1.00 ($1.00 is not a set price per bid, they do offer package discounts, the first 10 bids are free, and you can even bid on 20, 30, or 50 packs). So if I win, I actually pay $1.01 + $1.00 or $2.01. If someone came in after me and placed a bid and took the price to $1.02 and I didn’t place a counter-bid then it still costs me $1.00 and the other bidder pays $2.02 for the prize.
I was listening to Bidibot founder, John Tabatabai (2007 WSOPE Main Event 2nd place and $1.3 million in lifetime cashes according to The Hendon Mob), explain it on PokerRoad and he was talking about being able to see history/stats on other bidders so there is an element of strategy to placing your bids. In fact, they have a bidding strategy area where you can get some pointers.
Obviously getting a good deal on a tournament ticket or even cash is a great motivator but what really excites me about something like this is that it’s very innovative. When I wrote the post “Why Affiliates Will Always Trump Online Poker Rooms” this was one of the types of things I was talking about. It’s outside of the box thinking that online poker sites employ far too infrequently.
Your typical online poker site only knows of one way to fill seats like this, freerolls. Some might get really creative and give out seats or prize packages in promotional drawings based on how many hands or hours your play but nobody has every considered that there just might be an ongoing market for promotions. Better yet, this would have been a great way to run loss leaders for tournaments that they wanted to inflate the prize pools on and they could pay for the entire program on the more popular prizes which brought in more than the value of the prize being given away. This is something that has been sitting in their own backyard for years and some affiliate has come along and basically done what they get paid 24/7 to focus on.
In the end there are thousands of factors that will determine whether this Bidibot idea takes off but at least someone is trying. They’re looking at providing some sort of value back to players and I think more people should be thinking like this.