PokerStars has released its latest innovation and, this time, the plan is to engage more than 15 million daily users on Twitch.
Dubbed “Chat Plays Poker”, and going live on September 26, the new product fuses cards and live streaming.
Prior to the launch, PokerStars provided an insight into how the Twitch extension works. During certain streams, viewers will have the ability to see hole cards, and vote on the move that should be made.
The play with the most votes is the one that a phantom player at the table will make on behalf of the “chat team.”
PokerStars Home Game Gets Tongues Wagging
To showcase Chat Plays Poker, and raise money for charity, a special home game took place last week.
Set inside the Run It Up Home Game House and streamed on Twitch, the session included PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker, and host Joe Stapleton.
Twitch expert Jason Somerville was on commentary duty and, capping off the action, was American pro Jesse Fullen.
The cash game lasted for three hours and, during that time, more than 1,500 viewers tuned in. Those watching from their PCs were able to sit in the phantom seat and cast their vote on each hand.
Although the money in play was destined for a good cause, the players were serious about winning. As the session wore on, the blinds were raised to $1/$2, and the “chat team” was able to steal some sizeable pots from Moneymaker.
Twitch has long been touted as a way to generate more interest in the game, but Chat Plays Poker is a new way of utilizing the medium.
Twitch Allows Newbies to Swim without Drowning
Up until this point, online poker operators have used the streaming platform to provide tutorials and live tournaments feeds.
By creating an element of interaction, PokerStars is doing a few things. It invests viewers in the game and, in turn, provides a more immersive form of entertainment.
Beyond that, it simplifies poker. Because viewers don’t have a financial stake in the game, there’s no pressure to vote one way or another.
What’s more, only the move with the most votes wins. Therefore, viewers can give their opinion without feeling as though everything is riding on it.
Finally, the process of voting provides an educational element to the streams. As viewers take note of what the masses think, they inevitably build up a better understanding of the game.
As Twitch innovations go, this may prove to be one of the most effective ways of attracting new players.
The streams may not give novices all the tools they need to be successful at poker, but they will teach them how to swim. And that can only be good for the game.