Every week, the partypoker blog team speaks to a member of the partypoker community as part of something we call Meet The People. This segment gives the blog readers an insight into who plays at the site and who keeps it running as smoothly as possible.
This latest Meet The People sees us talk to Jay Kanabar, who is the Head of Poker Business Intelligence (BI) and Network Operations. Keep reading to discover a little more about Jay, what his role entails, and which three people he would love to play poker against.
Hi Jay, tell our readers where you’re from and where you call home these days.
I live in Buckinghamshire with my wife, but I’m originally from Blantyre in Malawi.
How did you first enter the world of online gaming and what positions have you held in the industry?
I first got a part time job in 2001 when Ladbrokes launched its online sportsbook. I’ve had a few positions in the 15 years since, including, Internet Operator, Information Analyst, Business Analyst, Poker BI Manager & now Head of Poker BI and Network Operations.
How has your bwin.party career progressed?
I joined bwinparty in November 2013 as a Poker BI Manager & was promoted to Head of Poker BI and Network Operations in October 2014.
You’re currently the Head of Poker BI and Network Operations at bwin.party, but what does that role entail? Is there such thing as a typical day?
The role is to oversee the five poker rooms I manage, namely Dotcom, France. New Jersey, Italy and Spain. My role is to manage the overall strategy for the poker rooms from cash games to scheduled tournaments, input into the product, using business intelligence (data) to make informed decisions, and managing the overall ecology and fraud aspects. My team, which consists of nine staff, is responsible to creating and managing the tournament schedule as well as maintaining the cash games and sit ‘n’ go tournaments.
There is no typical day in this office, which is what makes the job exciting.
What are the biggest challenges you and your team face regularly?
Meeting the guarantees we’ve set ourselves since the launch of The Power Series!
How has the online gaming industry changed since you first became part of it?
Everything is now regulated and taxed, plus the environment is more competitive than it has ever been.
How do you see the landscape changing in the coming months and years?
We’ve already seen over the last couple of years that “the big boys” are being forced to merge and consolidate to have a stronger position in the market, this will continue happening. Apart from that competition will be fierce as all gaming companies compete for the same wallet and it goes without saying partypoker to take its number one spot back from PokerStars!
partypoker is dedicated to attracting grassroots players through For The People and levelling the player field. How and why did these projects come about, and do you see other gaming companies following your lead?
partypoker wants its own identity and we wanted to try something different from all the other sites and hence we chose to go down the fair play rules of the game. We’ve seen over the years that there is a barrier to entry for some people as they scared of playing against professionals. At partypoker we are educating the poker population that we are doing everything to make sure that the rules are the same for everyone and that it’s your skill and only your skill that makes a difference.
Thre has been a lot of time spent creating The Power Series, it must give you and your team a great sense of pride to see it so well received. How do you feel about The Power Series?
It’s a love hate relationship! I love the Power Series schedule, but I hate missing guarantees. It’s put partypoker back on the tournament schedule map and everyone is talking about it. We spent a lot of time in creating the schedule and the marketing teams got behind the ambitious schedule and have done an amazing job in promoting it and getting the name out there. I hope to be running daily $100,000 guaranteed tournaments for $109 soon!
The partnership with Dusk Till Dawn continues to thrive, but how much of an important role do DTD and projects such as the Grand Prix Poker Tour hold in the For The People remit?
Very important. DTD are a very well know casino in the UK and having them partner partypoker gives us that edge we need in the UK market. Rob Yong and his team are very hard working and help us reach our ambitions.
What does Jay Kanabar like to do when he’s not busy with work at partypoker?
I play field hockey for Old Merchant Taylors, keep fit by going to the gym, cycling, updating Facebook when we are overlaying on The Kangaroo and the usual cinema, pubs, and cooking!
Do you play poker?
I prefer to play live poker, I spend 10 hours a day looking at the partypoker lobby the last thing I want to do is look at another lobby when I get home, so live poker suits me fine.
If you could play poker against any three people from any point in history, who would you choose and why?
I’ve been lucky to have played poker with some of the greatest poker players. In the past when I worked at Full Tilt we had regular games with Howard “The Professor” Lederer, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Phil Gordon and other FTP pros. While at partypoker I’ve also had the chance to play with Mike Sexton. Having played against some of my poker heroes, I’d turn to some of my other heroes:
- Sachin Tendulkar: I think the little master would be a good poker player; have you seen his expressions when he is batting?
- Nelson Mandela: The man is a genius and I’d like to see if he could talk me into folding a hand!
- Steven Gerrard: I want to ask him how he felt when he scored the goal in the 2005 Champions League, and then how he felt when he slipped in 2014
Finally, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self if you could travel back in time?
Don’t leave Malawi to come to Europe, it’s cold here and rains all the time!
So there you have it folks, a glimpse into the life of Jay Kanabar. If there is a partypoker employee that you’d like to know more about, leave a message in the comments box below or hit us up on social media. Also, if you’d like your five minutes of fame and be a Meet The People subject, you know where to find us.