Odds Shark Top Poker Sites
*Terms and Conditions apply to all bonus offers on this website. Visit operator for details.

First-Ever ‘Chat Plays Poker’ Lets Twitch Viewers Actually Play Poker

Chat Plays Poker Twitch

PokerStars is letting poker fans in on the action through an experimental new feature called “Chat Plays Poker.”

The online poker giant rolled out the new feature on Twitch.tv last week with thousands of viewers tuning in to both watch and compete against a group of PokerStars personalities that included poker legend Chris Moneymaker.

PokerStar’s Jason Somerville, who is considered the godfather of streaming poker on Twitch, acted as the host for the viewers, describing the action as it happened.

Viewers were given 30 seconds to vote on each action. Somerville would then instruct a stand-in player at the table to complete the action that got the most votes from the viewers, whether it was checking, folding or moving all-in.

Chat Wins $119 in Three Hours

In order to take part in Chat Plays Poker, users simply have to be logged in to Twitch.tv and enable it by clicking the option on the left-hand side of the screen.

The game was a $1/$1 No-Limit Hold’em affair with a $100 cap and all profits going to charity. The opponents included the aforementioned Chris Moneymaker as well as poker player/comedian Joe Stapleton and poker pro Jesse Fullen.

Chat would get a chance to decide what to do on almost every hand, although some of the worst hands were automatically folded.

In the very first hand of Chat Plays Poker, the chat decided to open the pot with a $5 bet while holding a paltry 9-5 of hearts and that was enough to win a tiny $2 pot.

The inaugural session ran for about three hours with about 1,500 viewers taking part in the experience. Chat performed admirably over the course of the game and finished with $119 in profit, even after losing on the last hand of the session.

Between the $119 profit and donations, over $1,200 was raised for charity in the game. Chat even got a few chirps in on Chris Moneymaker.

The first Chat Plays Poker session has been archived and you can watch it now. The next episode of Chat Plays Poker is scheduled for October 4 with an even bigger turnout expected.

New Angle for Poker Fan Engagement

Poker has always been a natural fit for viewer interaction.

Since the moment hole card cameras were introduced, televised poker was transformed into an educational experience. Poker fans were given an inside look at how some of the best poker players in the world played in high-stakes scenarios around the globe.

The overall skill level of players around the world skyrocketed as poker fans studied the latest episodes of the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour or High-Stakes Poker.

The game changed again in the early 2010s when a group of Twitch streamers, led primarily by Jason Somerville, decided to use the video gaming platform to showcase poker.

Viewers got a pure, unedited look at what it was like to play some of the biggest online tournaments in the world. It was a transformative learning experience for many players who were able to learn strategies and concepts that used to take years to develop.

Chat Plays Poker, along with PokerStars’ recent forays into virtual reality, seem like the next step in the evolution of poker. It’s one of the first times ever that viewers have been asked to play an active role in a real poker game.

It’s unclear what PokerStars’ final goal is with the Chat Plays Poker but getting into poker can be hard for new players and it’s easy to see how this no-risk style of taking an active role in the game could soften the learning curve.

The line between poker player and poker spectator has never been more blurry.