Poker leagues go social with PokerDIY

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From the social network and web 2.0 perspective, the 80% of the poker league consists of the poker community and 20% of the social network as the players are related both as colleagues and as competitors. The league is based on the achievement process – people must complete various tasks, get points and rank in the leaderboards. The interaction between players forms a social network – they communicate in the forum, update their status, use the internal messaging, write blogs, upload pictures and videos to share their experience and educate the newbies.

PokerDIY is a little bit different from the social network point of view. It provides much more web 2.0 tools than any other poker social network. As the RSS widget is no longer the 8th miracle of the Word, the poker league Facebook application and the iPhone app are definitely worth your attention as they are the first ones in the market. Blogging is not so important at this rather old poker social network, but people still post. There is always a member who has something to say to their peers and to the community.

 

Another basic feature is the scoreboard widget embeddable into a blog or a community member's website which is the perfect way of spreading a word about the tool. Poker leagues can go social very easily with the help of various widgets and applications, especially if they have some active “back-up” from their members on various global social networks – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.

Poker 2.0 interviewed Rodney Joyce, the owner and the creator of PokerDIY – one of the oldest poker communities on the web. Rodney and his team are very busy at the moment developing new poker tools for their community members.

Q. Why PokerDIY? What does it mean?

A. PokerDIY stands for Poker Do-It-Yourself. This applies to running home poker leagues and playing in home poker games. Although our system does cater for online leagues and events we primarily focus on the home poker market. We wanted something short and snappy and Poker.com was taken.

Q. What is the PokerDIY's main goal? What are the benefits of joining the community?

A. PokerDIY connects poker players. It allows you to find home poker games and makes managing your poker league scoreboard really simple.

I think we are different from other websites that are either a MySpace clone or focus only on poker league management. We merge social networking with home poker games, which in itself is a very sociable activity.

The benefits of being a member are that you get to interact with like-minded poker players. Members can join poker leagues, groups and events and share content such a poker videos and home game pics.

Have a look at my own poker league and player stats as an example of what PokerDIY can do.

Q. How did you start PokerDIY?

A. PokerDIY came about in 2005 after I was spending too much time emailing league results out and trying to organize our own home poker league. I realized that there had to be an easier way of doing this and decided to create PokerDIY for our league. Soon other players were finding it through Google and it was obvious that there was a need for a free online service to help make poker league management as simple as it could and should be. I left my job as an Analyst/Programmer in London in 2006 and started working on it full time when I realized it’s potential.

Q. How big is your community? How many new members do you get every month?

A. At last count we have over 41 000 poker players on PokerDIY – we get around 800 new members a month which is great to see. I expect this to increase dramatically as the word gets out about PokerDIY and we improve our services.

Q. What are the main and the most popular features on PokerDIY?

A. The 2 main features are our poker league scoreboards and our home poker classified ads for finding home games. They go well together too – quite often a league host will be running their league on PokerDIY and need players, so they put out an ad, and the reverse is true, although less frequent, when a person finds a home game through PokerDIY and has a deeper look at the league scoring system and wants it for their own home game leaderboard.

Within the poker league component there are many more sub-features – for example you can put your league scoreboard and personal player statistics on your own website/blog or even Facebook profile with our poker widgets and Facebook apps. Our league directors love it - here is an example of a Blogger profile with an embedded PokerDIY scoreboard on it.

Q. What do you think PokerDIY is: poker social network or just a poker community?

A. Interesting question! I guess I think of a poker community as the old-style forums where as a social network is so much more than that and takes communication and collaboration to a much more meaningful level. We want people to engage with each other and make social connections, not just exchange text-based messages. Players can connect with like-minded players and build relationships that are mutually beneficial - it’s similar to a dating or job network, except the end goal is to meet for games or share poker-related content.

Q. How is PokerDIY represented in the most popular social media: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.?

A. PokerDIY is very well represented in terms of visibility and exposure. For example, our PokerDIY Facebook Fanclub is growing quickly and we have just released 2 Facebook apps. We have various twitter feeds for our home poker games and blog posts. You’ll find PokerDIY on pretty much any social platform as I personally like to test each one and see what design/ideas we can expand on in PokerDIY.

For example, PokerDIY takes aspects of all the popular social networks out there and brings it to the poker table. We’ve got profiles modeled on Facebook, real-time status updates that can publish to Twitter, Craiglist-style home poker game classifieds, MeetUp-style Event management, MySpace-style poker groups etc. and the list goes on.

Q. PokerDIY has a mobile application. Tell us more about it.

A. We have not officially announced this as we are still working on the UI/design of the mobile app, but it works and I personally use it at our own home poker game to upload our scores in real-time on my iPhone! It actually started off as a Windows Mobile application but we decided that we’d focus on a browser-based mobile web-app instead as this is the way the web is heading. It means that any platform with a browser could theoretically access our web-app, so don’t be surprised if you see your poker league scoreboard on your fridge one day! PokerDIY turns 4 in November and we hope to have it looking pretty by then, but functionally it works great and you can log in right now and manage your league with it on your mobile. We decided that instead of trying to make a home poker resource site for the mobile we’d focus on the league side of things and give mobile users the ability to manage their league from the poker table. So it’s definitely a web app and not a mobile website.

Check out m.pokerdiy.com from an iPhone or read more about PokerDIY Mobile.

Q. What are PokerDIY's main competitors?

A. We have a couple of competitors who do things slightly differently to us. There’s the Railbirds social network which is growing nicely and looks great. On the home poker front there’s actually a site that sprang up recently called DIYPokerTour.com – I kid you not. I see competition as being very healthy for every serious competitor and of course the consumer. It drives us to improve our services for sure!

Q. How will PokerDYI improve in the future?

A. I don’t want to give too much away but conceptually we are focusing on distributed services (ie. PokerDIY is the back-end platform for poker league management and your own site is the front-end) and our mobile web-application. Usability is a factor that is increasingly sought after with the standard set by sites like Facebook. When my mother can manage her poker league on PokerDIY then I’ll be happy.

The hardest part is advertising our services to the people who could benefit from them the most. We’ll be looking at forming strategic-partnerships with certain poker sites to extend our reach and not reinvent the wheel.

Thank you for a nice conversation Rodney!

I appreciate the chance of being able to talk about PokerDIY and hope that Poker 2.0 readers have enjoyed it as well!

The applications at PokerDYI look really promising. Hopefully Rodney and his team will continue developing advanced web 2.0 tools and applications. Other poker social networks should really pay more attention to various apps, because all services will go social and mobile in the near future. iPhone and Android devices stuffed with various applications (no matter free or paid) soon will be as normal as text messaging, then poker games will also go mobile, and those who will be the first ones to step into the market will have great advantage.