Recently, we had an online discussion about the lack of a genuine social experience around online poker. I stressed my view that although poker is by essence a social game, the online sites (perhaps barring Zynga) are pulling their hands from making a real connection between the players (since I’ve started writing this post Pokerstars introduced home games, which is a step in the right direction). This is why I was so pleased to see a product out of the norm, which aims to provide a unique experience in the scope of the social poker world and tries to fill that void. Introducing iTold’em. For the sake of due diligence I must add that I am now a part of this venture, but have joined only because I was very pleased with what I saw and wanted to get involved.
iTold’em is a social network revolving around poker. It tries to centralize anything that may interest you about your friends poker game. Had a good hand? iTold’em’s algorithm will automatically detect what happened in the hand and post it to all your friends (including a replayer and comments). Started a tournament? iTold’em will let your friends know how you are doing in real time, including a hand stream. Saw something interesting? Change your status or chat with your friends to let them know. As one of the co-founders explained it to me: “We want to take everything poker players talk about and bring it online”.
iTold’em collects every hand you play (by reading from the hand histories). Its algorithm suggests interesting hands to share with your friends, which they then view on the replayer. The replayer is where the discussion about the hand can take place. Of course there are privacy settings to ensure you discuss only the hands you wish to. The software does not interfere with the gameplay, and is non-intrusive. In the next few weeks iTold’em will also introduce posting to facebook and twitter directly from the software, .
While the product is still evolving, I am looking forward to seeing what stir it will create. Launching a product is hard, especially when there is no major site behind you. The success or failure of the software relies only on what it provides to players. Though there is a lot of work ahead of us, I am truly enjoying the elements it is adding to the game. I never miss the chance to show off a hand to my friends and let them rip my game apart. Usually we remember only the really unique hands but can’t discuss some of those along the way. We also get caught up trying to remember small details like if the turn paired the board or not. I have no doubt iTold’em enters a vacuum which exists. Now I’m looking forward to seeing if it will fill that void.