PokerStars tests video chat in home games

Very limited at the moment

PokerStars is testing the use of webcams at its virtual poker tables. First reported by Poker Industry PRO, “video chat” is currently only available on a limited basis in certain “dot com” and “dot” markets and only in the Stars Home Games offering. It is also only integrated into the online poker leader’s browser interface; the feature is expected to roll out to desktop and mobile apps early next year.

“By listening to player feedback, we have worked on innovating and improving our home games, to provide our community with a more connected, enriched and exciting experience,” a PokerStars spokesperson told Poker Industry PRO. “Home Games’ new offering is now in beta testing in our online lobby. Player feedback has been and will continue to be a key part of its evolution. “

See your poker buddies

Apart from that, no other information was made public. Since I live in the US and do not have access to PokerStars, I was unable to test the new video chat feature, but it doesn’t take a leap of imagination to imagine how it would work. It’s video chat – we’ve all been using it to some extent for years in our day-to-day lives, especially during the pandemic. It is also a feature that can almost certainly be turned off or completely disabled.

As mentioned, it’s currently only being tested in the Home Games product, which is a good idea. Private home games are the ideal situations for using video chat, as friends and family would likely like to see and talk to each other. Even in more serious games, players using PokerStars Home Games are likely friendly competitors and can enjoy the contact.

It remains to be seen if PokerStars will ever consider rolling out the feature to tables beyond Home Games, but I’m guessing the odds are less than 50-50 and even then it would likely only be at specific tables. to video chat, not all tables.

Not a new concept

This sort of thing has been tried before, but never really gained in popularity. Many years ago there was an online poker room – the name escapes me – that was founded as a video chat room, but it never took off (to be honest it is. difficult to run a successful online poker room, so it could have had nothing to do with the gadget). 888poker has used it, and GGPoker introduced “SnapCam” last year, which is not video chat per se, but rather gives players the option of making 15-second videos during games to send to their players. teammates.

But then again, while webcams have never really caught on in online poker, the PokerStars trial is only for Home Games, where people are most likely to want to use them. In public games, players may have privacy concerns or simply enjoy Internet poker because of anonymity. They can also lead to abusive chats and visual displays and some players may just cover their cameras giving them an advantage. Of course, the main benefits for players are that video chat would make poker more social and enjoyable, while also bringing it a bit closer to live poker.

For online poker rooms, video chat can actually be used as a security measure. It can be more difficult for players to have someone else to help them or to give clues as to whether or not someone is using some kind of software support.

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