The Pokerchipsquad League

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As no doubt you are aware, I am a member of the Pokerchipsquad forum. I have been a member here for several years now and there has been some big changes since I joined. Let me give you a brief history…..

When I first joined, the forum was called Pokercards Forum. Online poker was still really in its infancy. Chris Moneymaker had still to win the WSOP main event, so the poker boom had still to take place. We played mainly freeroll games, but there was never the number of players entering as there is now. And the majority of people actually tried to PLAY proper poker and win the games – very few monkeys around! We also had some private games set up and were attracting reasonable numbers.

As time went on, all the league players started to play better and it was only a matter of time before we went that bit further and started playing more buy-in games. We had more private buy-in games and still we were getting the numbers.

Eventually, a few of us decided to run our own forums, but all were part of, and were indeed a major part of the Pokercards family. This led to each forum setting up their own private games that all of the Pokercards family could participate in. It also meant that there was at least one private game a day. This meant that people could pick and choose which games they wanted to play. But the big downside was that they had to go through each forum each day to see what the games were. People would rather have all the games listed in one place – makes sense!

I loved running my forum, but realised that it just wasn’t working out. All the sub-forums amalgamated together again under the Pokercards moniker to make it the one family again. All the private games we set up could then be found in the one place.

But slowly, less and less people played the private games, especially once the TFCL (The Forum Challenge League – which the Pokercards forum had an integral part in setting up, although has now been taken over by new management) came along, it got even worse. People would play TFCL games before private league games. They would rather play in a $100 freeroll with 350 players than a $2 buy-in game, where if 50 players entered the prize pool would have been the same. They would have a much better chance to win with less players playing.  Go figure! After a disasterous time with the TFCL the league disassociated itself with it. But still, people would rather play their games.

Moving onwards, we all realised that times were getting tough for us. We tried a lot of different ideas to get people playing again, but sadly, most of it fell on deaf ears. Numbers kept on dwindling. The only time we got a massive turnout was when a freeroll was announced. We would be inundated with requests for passwords to the freerolls. But when it went to buy-ins, all these freeloaders disappeared into the darkness again.

Then the UIGEA bill was passed in the USA.

The Ulawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act came into effect in October 2006. This in itself did not ban people from playing online poker, but did ban them from transfering money to and from online gaming sites. It didn’t take long before the US cracked down on E-wallet sites, and before we knew it, it had hit Neteller – the biggest E-wallet site – who then withdrew from the US market. The problem with this was that many US players had funds in their Neteller account and these assets have been frozen. There is no way for them to get access to their own money!

Cue another drop in players in the private games. It niggles a bit though, to know that there are other ways to deposit/withdraw to internet gaming sites but US players won’t use them. But, I had to ask myself if I would use them if I were in their position. The answer would probably be NO! Who’s to say what e-wallet site would be next to be hit by this legislation, meaning the possibility of losing even more cash!

So now, to the present. Last night, Rich, the forum owner decided enough was enough. He was sick and tired of spending hours setting up private games when less than 20 people turned up to play. He has now scrapped the private games!

I, and many others had seen it coming months ago. We had discussed it and decided it be best to hang on as it could just be a little blip and the players would start playing again. We were just kidding ourselves on really. Each of us in our heart of hearts knew it wasn’t going to get any better, and even more so once the US implemented the UIGEA.

So now, it begs the question….. How do we stop the rot? How can we as a forum recover and get more people back participating in the forum? We do still have a few private games set up by the Aces’n’Faces gang, Poker Ladies and Dallas Poker leagues, but we don’t know for how long.

I know Rich has stuff in the pipeline, but also know that if we don’t get the support we need then he might just call it quits altogether. A forum is a community, and as such should act like a community. We’ve all heard of ‘community spirit’. Sadly, the forum has been lacking it enormously of late. We should all take a bit of responsibilty if we want to keep our forum going. I for one don’t want to see it close down. I just hope everyone else sees it like that and does their best to keep it up and running.

How do you do this? Quite simple! Pop into the forum and see whats going on. Reply to posts that have been put in. If there’s not much going on, then start a post of your own. I’m sure everyone will have something they would like to see discussed. If you can, participate in any of the games that have been set up. No-one is looking for you to play every game – it’s just not possible for most people, me included. Get involved in our chatroom in paltalk. You can chat live with other league members and its free to download!

There are hundreds of poker forums out there, but I’ve still to come across one that matches up to the Pokerchipsquad in terms of quality of members, quality of play and above all quality of integrity. We have rules we stick to religeously and are known as quite a strict forum. But these rules are very basic and you really must be either stupid or just downright ignorant if you can’t follow them. That’s why we have the quality members we have – because they can be trusted!

So come along and have a look and see what you think. If you like it, then tell your friends to come along. Everyone will be made welcome. The more people we have participating, the more our ‘community’ can recover. In a nutshell, we need our existing members to participate more and bring in new members.

As always, I would love to see comments on this, and I especially urge our forum members to leave their comments.

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7 Responses to The Pokerchipsquad League

  1. svcmgr says:

    Well said Gopher.
    I wonder what percentage of players in the league were US players vs others?
    I think a lot of US players have lost their desire to play considering the current state of conditions.
    I know that when your bankroll gets low, it gets harder to play.
    The League has always been based overseas (overseas for me anyway). During the week, games usually start at 5:00 p.m. my time. I am still at work at that time.
    So, weekends are usualy “league times” for me when possible.
    I wonder if activity would pick up if there were a couple of “US” scheduled games? Games that start at 8 or 9 my time, kind of thing.
    I don’t know. I would hate to suggest something like that then still have a low turnout.
    I do know it is a huge commitment of time and effort for Rich and others to keep everything going. Doing this for a few core people hardly seems worth the effort so I understand the decision.
    I would like to see us stay together. I have learned a lot from everyone and they are all real good people.
    I think a good indicator will be how many people voice their opinoins on the forum.
    As they say, “stay tuned”

  2. Blagger says:

    Nicely presented Gopher… but.. I think there is a touch of the “flogging a dead horse” thing happening here. I really can not see a way of reviving something that is so obviously in its death throes.

    Blunt & brash maybe, but realistically honest too, … probably. 😦

  3. svcmgr says:

    I was thinking about my previous comment and I need to change something.
    I was being a little selfish when suggesting better timed US games. If you look at this as a “business”, to me, the best chance for survival would be getting more European players in the league. They, at least, have it easier with getting money in.
    I do feel though that it may be too late, like Blagz says.
    We will see

  4. dagopher says:

    Your right Dave, getting moew European players is the way forward for the forum. If the US sorts itself out over the UIGEA then yes, we have to look to accomodate the US players more, but ONLY when that happens. But, before all this legislation cam into place, I set up games to suit US players – especially the west coast – and still we didn’t get the players.

    Blagz, I disagree that the forum is in its ‘death throes’. Well not yet anyway. Call me an optomist if you want. But if everyone thinks the same as you then yes it will die. But, they should have the balls to come out and say it. It would save a lot of hassle in the long run.

    I came up short of being very vindictive and blunt in this particular blog post, basically beacause it would do the forum absolutely no good. In fact, we would probably lose even more members. But, as should be quite evident, thats not what I’m looking to do.

    Everyone connected with the forum needs to change their attitude if its going to work. If they’re not prepared to do that, then they should leave.

    The league may be dead, but the forum isn’t, as long as we are all honest about ourselves (and to the other members) and show that we want to keep it.

    One last thing… and this is detrimental to the forum recovering. All through the years, with all the members we have had, we’ve had maybe 4 or 5 people who actively made suggestions to improve things. We need everyone to do this now. We must get discussion and debate under way if we are to have any chance of revival.

    As I said, I am a bit of an optomist when it comes to this subject. You know that I am passionate about the forum. We just need more like minded people.

  5. Blagger says:

    I wasn’t referring to the forum mate when I said in “its death throes”. I was referring to the whole concept of league games, private games and the way PCS was going.

    Rich has changed a lot of things over the last 6 months, poker sites, scoring systems, prize formats…. And now 6 months later.. ? In my honest opinion mate it is starting to look like a dead horse being flogged.. On the other hand..

    I don’t think the forum was ever in any danger of disappearing, if Rich had elected to close the forum down I or someone else would have just made a new one and the few that wanted to stay in touch and post stuff would have moved over.

    A forum only needs a handful of active members to be a forum, if it is twenty or two hundred, it doesn’t matter to those that are there posting ideas and exchanging thoughts with each other. It is a social gathering point for 10 people as much as it is for a 1000.

  6. magpot says:

    i have only been around for 1year or so and i think that the forum is alive and well. i think most people read the forum but neglect to reply or comment on the subject at hand for many reasons im sure. i am also sure that the time and effort people like you and others put into the forum with blogs, jokes rants raves and just plain talk will continue i hope more people will participate thank you for your time in bringing this blog

  7. dagopher says:

    Blagz… my bad mate. I thought you meant everything – forum, league etc… basically everything going down the pan.

    With the league, I do have to agree with you. It’s ran its course. The only way I could possibly think of keep it running would be to have prizes for winners – and decent prizes at that. Even then, you wouldn’t be guarenteed good turnouts. Considering Rich has tried this already, albeit with small monthly prizes, it’s still not the answer. Its not as if Rich or any of the staff have the finance to even go down this route again anyway. And the poker sites aren’t going to do much for us considering the turnouts they’ve been getting.

    As for private games, I think a poker forum needs them. I think thats one of the the main reasons people join a poker forum. I don’t think they should be every day of the week though, and should not be tied into any kind of league. Just have them there for anyone who wishes to play beside their fellow members.
    Having passwords within the forum encourages people to come in and look for them, and hopefully maybe drop in a post or two while there. If we had only 3 games a week – Fri/Sat/Sun, that gives people a rest from coming into the forum. It gives time for some posts to build up which people could then reply. With daily games as it is at the moment, people know that there’s not going to be that much going on (since their last visit) so would tend to look for the game password then leave.

    You are correct on the forum front though. If it were to close down, one of us out there would open another one. We all know that the regulars would be there.

    But I stick by my original post. The only way to have a successful forum is if the majority of members participate. If only the minority participate, it will lead to staleness – a bit like we are going through just now.

    Mags… thanks for the comment. I know a lot of people who don’t like posting in the forum, but we have to try and change that, if possible. As more and more of us are finding out, discussion, critique and disection of poker helps your game enormously. Just ask Blagz, Pinkdog, SVCMGR, Netsson, amongst others and they will all say the same.
    Thats the reason all these blogs have started up. We want to LEARN! If we can somehow persuade the other forum members to get involved in this LEARNING process, we could have a truly magnificant community (IMO).

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