Regarding your games, specifically Texas Hold em:
AOL Texas Hold 'em poker used to attract thousands of players. There was even a "club" that tracked statistics (("High Stakes Poker Players Club" -- HSPPC).
However, once advertising was inserted into the game, player numbers plummeted. Where it was once common to see 2,000+ players in a single poker tournament, last night, in the final game of the day, there were 78 players.
I'm not sure what you've done, but it appears you're trying to cram more advertising into the game; however, the result is that the "poker table" where players play has been reduced to matchbook size -- on laptops
On my work 30" work screen, there's no difference. At home, on my laptop, I have to go to full screen and expand the screen size to 175% to clearly see the poker table.
Although the chat box then fills about 1/3 of the screen, I can at least see the table.
As a result of this magnification, I can't see any ad at all. Not the worst thing in the world, but other players were grousing about the new format, which got me thinking:
I don't notice the ads, and I usually have an ad-blocker on anyways. When you're playing poker, your attention is focused on the table, not ads, so I had an idea: (i) lose the avatars. They do nothing for the game, and they take up too much screen room; (ii) drop ads from the screen. Nobody reads them. Instead (I know nothing is free, so ads matter to the continuance of the game), run ads when the game is waiting for tables to catch up -- perfect for the 60-90 seconds for tables to catch up. You've got a captive audience, so while the average players won't notice the ads, or blocks them, most players (I'm betting) will sit there and actually watch a 60 second ad while the system waits for players.
For the breaks, (this would take some work), nobody will sit through 5 minutes of ads. It just won't happen; however, if the break featured something related to poker -- say, a short clip showing a famous player (e.g., Daniel Negreanu) talking about poker, or showing some short clip of a really great hand), players might actually sit through this. And of course, you would run a 60 second ad in the middle of that clip).
I'm not sure how advertisers measure their ad investment (is it an actual click to an ad, or do you just need a "body count?"), but I'm betting players will sit through an ad in the middle of the game when there's a break (catch-up or an actual break).
As it is now, you're driving this game in the wrong direction. AOL poker has one of the cleanest interfaces of all the poker games out there, and there's a group of hardcore players who have played this game for years - decades.
As it is now, you're steadily losing players, and the latest iteration will drive away a lot more until this game fades away.