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Since Black Friday, online poker players in many areas of the world have fewer options and less influence over the site offerings. With an ever-thinning market, professional players and long-time fans tend to be left out of ay decision-making processes in favor of attracting recreational players to the online poker fold. Not only do sites make more money from casual players, it becomes easier to strengthen offerings of their affiliated online casinos and sports betting sites via those same customers.

Poker pros have long been frustrated with the trend. And some have decided to take matters into their own hands, using their vast game knowledge to build their own sites. Phil Galfond was the first to seriously float the idea earlier this year, though nothing has yet to come to fruition.

Enter Andrew Lichtenberger, long known in the online and live poker communities as LuckyChewy. He shared the news on December 12 via his Twitter account that his own online poker site was launching for play-money action.

LuckyChewyPoker is up and running, with the beta version available for download.

Inside LuckyChewyPoker

The home pages of the site reveal that play-money poker is available, and real-money games will be “coming soon where online gaming is legal.” According to the site, the online gaming site has been tested through iTech Labs to ensure a fair experience for all players. The single-deck card shuffling was evaluated, statistical randomness examined, and RNG (random number generator) fingerprinted, all in line with the UK Gambling Commission’s standards.

Thus far, in addition to play-money cash games and tournaments, there are options to join the free poker school to learn more about the game and useful strategies, as well as a poker community section called Lucky Chewy PGT (poker, gaming, and trading social community) that offers a place for members to post blogs, create groups and albums, post events and tournaments, and even share videos. And the poker news section features a feed from the ESPN poker news site and other short news pieces.

Lichtenberger is currently open to input from users and members of the poker community. As artwork and interface are being updated over the coming months prior to launching real-money poker, the site operators want to incorporate community suggestions wherever possible. The site is “by the players for the players with low rake and great rewards,” which suggests Lichtenberger plans to stick to that theme.

More Details from Lichtenberger

We had the chance to ask Lichtenberger some questions about the site, and he was quick to provide answers. His dedication to transparency and honesty so far is refreshing.

PokerUpdate:  What was the inspiration for starting your own online poker site?

Andrew Lichtenberger:  To create a sustainable, enjoyable and honest platform for poker players around the world to come together and enjoy the game we all love. We also have a social engine platform that has been developed alongside the poker platform which will serve to engage the community members for feedback and allow for people to create friendships through poker, gaming and trading.

PokerUpdate:  When did you start the process of designing it and putting it all together?

Lichtenberger:  April 2015.

PokerUpdate:  How is the beta testing play-money process going so far?

Lichtenberger:  It is going quite well, and we have received amazing feedback from the community. Our development team is currently working on some very exciting updates, which we will be able to share with everyone once they are uploaded to the platform upon completion in the not-so-distant future.

PokerUpdate:  Where are you seeking licensing for real-money poker?

Lichtenberger:  We are currently in the process of receiving our license from the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission), and we intent to procure a license in India as well.

PokerUpdate:  How can players know that you’re going to keep them in mind long-term?

Lichtenberger:  There is no tangible way that I can prove my honesty and integrity to people who may doubt that I am going to continue to take everyone’s best interest to heart when making choices regarding our platform moving forward. My reputation within poker is what has allowed me this opportunity, and it was out of my love for the community, that has given me so much, that I embarked on this venture.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.