For years online poker sites have been searching for the best place to interact with their players.
Online forums, both official and independent, have sometimes fulfilled that role with varying amounts of success. Poker sites have also tried to utilize social media, which has also been hit-or-miss.
Now PokerStars is taking a page out of video games' playbook by starting its own channel on Discord.
What the Hell is Discord? Isn’t that Bad?
Discord is freeware proprietary VoIP software that was designed for gaming communities. It’s available for almost every platform including Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and even Linux.
There’s even a browser option so you can skip the download completely.
Gamers use it for VoIP over services like TeamSpeak and Skype to coordinate game plans and strategies while playing in team-based environments online.
For companies like PokerStars, however, the key feature is being able to host communities.
It’s essentially like having your own private forum. PokerStars will be able to throw in unique perks for members that would be overused if it offered them on a more public platform.
Bottom line: Despite the name, there's nothing wrong with Discord.
What’s on PokerStars’ Channel Right Now?
Right now PokerStars has 14 different text channels but that number is fluid and will change in the near future.
Here’s a look at several of the more interesting channels:
As you might expect some of the channels are rather self explanatory and you’ll find news and announcements in the news_and_announcements tab.
Meanwhile #padded_tilt_room offers a place for people to express sometimes NSFW rants about bad beats.
There’s no telling if the channel will be successful but there are currently over 100 users along with PokerStars moderators and team Team Online Pros Jaime Staples, Jason Somerville, Randy “nanonoko” Lew and Adrienne 'talonchick' Rowsome.
Why Does it Matter?
For years online poker has had a bit of an identity crisis between gambling and video games. The lines are blurred more than ever these days and over the past couple years you could argue that online poker is drawing ever closer to an eSport than anything else.
Discord is yet another application that will make the transition easier for gamers and hopefully provide a useful service for full-time poker players.