«PokerStars comes to Discord, and Eric Hollreiser takes part in AMA

PokerStars takes part in Discord, a text and voice chat service. It was created specially for gamers and it’s absolutely free! Meanwhile Eric Hollreiser becomes one of the company’s employees to host a session of Ask Me Anything.

Not so long ago I started pondering over marketing. I tried to find how it’s possible to change the way people think and feel. In other words, how to influence people’s minds and actions. After spending some time on analyzing I came to the conclusion that changing people’s feelings comes before changing their actions.

And this conclusion does make sense, doesn’t it?

Our thoughts and emotions lubricate our actions and this should be our starting point. Online poker rooms tried to follow this rule by coming closer to their customers, speaking the same language with them and staring at them with such admiration as if their names were imprinted with huge and bright letters.

So, where do you normally look for poker players? At live tournaments or online poker forums. That’s why thousands of representatives of various poker rooms take part in big online poker forums. Though this type of communication is good enough, it’s not ideal. Guess why not? Because online poker forums can be compared with wild and cruel jungle, where even the most polite comments are attacked by real piranhas of players. That’s no good.

That’s why PokerStars chose another direction, and that was Discord. It’s a fashionable chat app, where you can exchange text and voice messages absolutely for free. It’s like Skype or Viber, but Discord founders affirm that it’s even better. This chat app was created because some people were fed up with the old-fashioned options for video gamers when they wanted to chat a little while playing. PokerStars decided to check this place and give it the great insight and see if this app really cares about its customers’ wishes and needs. Discord greatly helps to understand players. When you ask your customers directly about their needs and wants, you can’t be sure that they will tell you the truth. The real truth can only be uncovered when you see, feel and listen to your customers. That’s where Discord can help, because this chat app unites about 25 million players from the whole huge world! And now it also has a spot for the PokerStar channel, which opened in April. Wanna know how you can use it? PokerStar is willing to listen to you, so speak up. Take part in Ask Me Anything sessions, asking questions to real professionals, employed in PokerStars. To my mind, it was a wise decision of PokerStars to open a live line of communication. Since the company changed its attitude towards recreational poker people, its customers definitely wanted to understand the situation, but the company’s Ambassadors weren’t there. And that’s quite clear. Jason Somerville, igor Kurganov and other poker stars are professional players, so we, ordinary players, don’t trust them in questions about goals, decisions and strategies of PokerStars. So Discord is the right door for customers, because it makes the work of the company more transparent and easier to understand. The first one to communicate with customers via Discord was Eric Hollreiser, an employee of PokerStars. He is responsible for corporate communication and he has much to tell. I asked Eric several questions and that’s what I learned from him.

At first, I wanted to know about the situation in the countries, where some issues of regulation took place. Hollreiser assured that poker is a regulated, healthy business. Poker industry is eager to make this market clear and transparent, because no one, including PokerStars, waits for another Black Friday. Eric added that his company negotiated with regulators and legislators of the countries with issues and spent many efforts trying to inform and educate them.

Then our conversation moved to AI, because some people think that it’s the real threat for poker. Hollreiser mentioned that some politicians don’t allow to consider online poker as a game of skill. And they also determine that AI experts use poker as their testbed. Then Eric expressed his opinion on the subject, saying that PokerStars is collaborating with some AI experts concerning the following issues:

1. PokerStars is eager to explore AI in order to understand it better and undertake the necessary measures to defend their system against any problems connected with AI.

2. PokerStars is willing to use AI for developing the system and defending it from AI bots. Hollreiser expressed his opinion that online poker should be the place where a human struggles against a human without any AI interference, but I personally believe that this is the fight where PokerStars is doomed. Poker players are no fools; they feel it when edges sharpen in long terms, so I predict that in the nearest future players will use unbelievable technological innovations in long terms.

Talking about AI, I would like to remind you on Elon Musk, who created Neuralink. This guy very well knows that it’s impossible to prevent AI from reaching the intelligence of the human level, but it’s possible to teach us, human beings, to become smarter, so that we can keep on fighting against AI.

How can this be used in the context of poker rooms? Very simple. If they want to progress, they’d better get support of AI instead of fight against it, because the human mind is doomed in this battle.

Going back to Hollreiser, the next thing I asked him about was the way PokerStars remains the greatest and the most popular poker brand. The biggest trouble the brand is now facing is connected with the great competition in the sector of live tournaments. Eric mentioned that his company doesn’t get too concentrated on worries about this above-mentioned problem. Instead his company is concentrated on planning and executing its own strategy. As for me, I merely don’t see how those two points get separated. To my mind, any strategy should start from analyzing the position in the market, and it’s impossible to elaborate the strategy without understating the position of customers.

Well, maybe the reason for this misbalance is the fact that PokerStars is too great, so it doesn’t have to bother about competition. This absolutely makes sense, but only to some extent, because at this point comes complacency.

This word was used by Hollreiser when he described the recent issue connected with live tournaments. But Eric promised that PokerStars listens to feedback with great attention and is ready to make all the necessary changes if its customers want them. That’s why PokerStars Live, the company’s product, exceeds all the possible desires.

The final point of our discussion was difference between TV ads and online ads. Hollreiser affirmed that TV is not the right place for ads of PokerStars. And, as for me, I totally agree with Eric here, because nowadays TV adverts have become just waste of money. Well, that was our conversation with Eric Hollreiser, and I believe it was pretty worthy and interesting. If AMA sessions of PokerStars keep on running, this can be the great start for the company in understanding true needs and desires of the company’s customers.

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