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online forumIt’s been more than a decade since I first caught the poker bug, and was introduced to the world of online poker forums. Without a doubt, forums such as TwoPlusTwo, PocketFives, and many others offer a treasure trove of information to not only new players, but seasoned veterans who lurk hourly for everything from poker strategy to the latest gossip.

With years of experience as a former Head Moderator with one of the world’s largest poker forums, I’d like to share my insight with PokerUpdate readers who are looking to get the most out of their daily experience on a high traffic forum.

I’ve Found An Online Poker Forum. Now What?

Welcome to the community! Chances are you’ve happened upon either TwoPlusTwo or PocketFives (or maybe both) but regardless, there are a few things you should know before beginning to post.

For one, take a few moments to look at the forum’s Rules, as this will give you a general idea of what content is typically allowed, and which sub-forums are best for posting specific topics.

Poker forums are managed by a group of mostly volunteer moderators who are tasked with keeping each section (or sub-forum) of a high traffic website organized. You shouldn’t take it personally if a new post of yours gets moved into the proper section, or even if you receive a Private Message (PM) informing you that your content has been moved.

Forum moderators are typically granted privileges based on their contributions and are happy to be of assistance, but they DO expect you to read the Forum Rules on your own. Generally speaking, some of the more basic no-noes on any relevant forum include spamming and self promotion links, so definitely stay away from those. Otherwise, try to get a feel for what type of posts are allowed in certain forums beforehand — and let the forum moderators use their time (which they often donate) to contribute in more positive ways than banning spammers.

When making your initial foray into the online poker forum world, the best way to immediately become relevant is to post honest questions and answers. This will get you in the door among the community while allowing you time to adapt to the different nuances of each sub-forum you post in.

New forum users are generally taken aback by what can be perceived as “negative” content on any high traffic forum, but you shouldn’t let this sway you from contributing if you have something to add to a topic.

The truth of the matter is that ALL high traffic forums have their share of great and not-so-great posters (more on this later). These figures increase in accordance with how busy a particular forum is. Usually, if the industry the forum represents is growing, so is the forum — and vice-versa.

Use Forum Customization Tools

Back in the old rec-gambling days, communicating online with others about poker was a similar experience for each user. That is not the case in today’s online poker forum world.

High traffic poker forums have implemented a slew of customization tools that can vastly change the experience of each user based on which content he or she chooses to prioritize.

Everything from overall appearance to posts per page, or even which fellow community members’ posts are highlighted or hidden, can be modified via account customization tools on your favorite poker forum. This makes each user’s experience more streamlined, so take a few moments to toggle your forum’s account Options or Settings to see how you can customize or filter forum information.

Forum Favoritism & Hierarchy

online forumThere are some unwritten rules to any high traffic forum — poker or otherwise. One argument that new forum members often make is that a forum’s moderators (or even staff) will engage more with veteran members. Site representatives have a tendency to spend more time conversing with and validating the views of these longtime contributors when compared to newer or less frequent posters.

Why is this?

It’s because a veteran contributor is valued above a new member. This does not mean that a new member isn´t vitally important to the growth of x-forum, it is simply of measure of respect shown to those who have made their communities more relevant over a significant period of time.

In many cases, established contributing members have gotten to know their colleagues personally and communicated with them directly for years, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that this group would be involved in setting forum policy.

Believe me, if you go into a new forum with the attitude that you’re going to contribute and keep topics on point with well-intentioned posts, then you’ll be recognized — aka validated — soon enough. A forum member’s clout is tied to the number of his or her quality contributions. These can be informative, comical, insightful, or all of the above.

Sharing Information & Seeking Validation

There are two major reasons why the majority of people seek out online forums: sharing information or seeking validation.

News, views and gossip (as TwoPlusTwo would put it) are posted 24 hours per day on high traffic websites, yet it is often the potential validation of one’s opinion that keeps a person contributing in certain threads (the same can be said for mainstream article, YouTube and Twitch comments).

Regardless of whether you have a strong opinion on poker strategy or politics, there is a chance that you will find someone who agrees with you on a poker forum — and this is how online friendships are frequently started.

Individualism vs. Community

There are a lot of misconceptions about the “community” aspect of online forums.

Most certainly, there are certain issues that a vast majority of posters will align one way or another, yet any new poster should keep in mind that what you post is yours! This doesn’t mean that you own the copyright to it, but it does mean that it will identify you… perhaps for years to come.

Online discussions aren’t nearly as anonymous as they used to be, so make sure the content of your posts correspond with the online personality you’ve established on social media platforms and other mainstream sites. Forum contributors DO pay attention to screen names along with the posts linked to them, and WILL shun troll-like behavior such as being overly negative, unhelpful, etc.

Do your best to contribute to an online poker forum and be active in article comments upon beginning your poker story. Look for ways to positively validate thought processes that are in line with you own, and work your way into an online community that could not only significantly improve your game, but lead to the formation of close bonds with your online poker brethren.

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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.