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ChiliConnect: The Answer to Our Problems?

ChiliPoker is an extremely unique poker room and genuinely do things a little differently. Innovative, with attractive brand colours and a unique sponsored pro in Liz Lieu it’s easy to see why they attract a significant number of poker players to the iPoker network. They are a licenced room in France and even host their very own ChiliPoker Deepstack Open.

In April of 2011 ChiliPoker attempted to revolutionize the poker world and launched ChiliConnect – The first social poker application designed by a poker room that could be used to post statuses, share hands, track results and most excitingly make sidebets with other poker players. ChiliConnect was a welcome change in the poker industry that was in dire need of innovation.

Today players and industry experts alike continually complain about the standard of games, unsustainable rakeback deals and a general lack of regard for poker ecology. ChiliConnect has the power to make games more enjoyable and introduce a completely new kind of poker player to the game.

9 months later ChiliConnect has certainly not been as successful as many would have hoped.

ChiliConnect runs in a browser alongside the poker client. It is free to use for all ChiliPoker customers.

Firstly, ChiliPoker probably does not have the liquidity to stimulate interest in the app. ChiliConnect relies on participation and opinion, but the skin itself does not have enough traffic to really get the ball rolling. Successful online businesses become popular because they have the ability to instantly gratify the end user. This is especially true in online gaming, an industry where logic is often overcome by impulse. Nobody wants to wait several hours to find action for their $5 proposition bet and if some users are willing to, they are likely not the kind that ChiliConnect aims to attract.

Although Chili have undoubtedly been innovative in creating the application it would be far more beneficial if it was to be rolled out across the whole network and a lot better for poker than iPoker’s current answer to prop betting, ‘BackBet’. Anonymous tables were originally rolled out exclusively on Ladbrokes and even with a big sportsbook behind the concept it was too small a sample size to impact on the network or to establish if the concept had potential.

ChiliConnect also needs to work with social media slightly more. Instead of attempting to become a social network in itself, it should recognise that its job can be much better done as a plug-in that enhances users’ experience of ChiliPoker and the social network they use. If the application’s main method of communication used Twitter or Facebook as opposed to being insular the app would catch the eye of so many more users. Although some users may want ChiliConnect communication to be separate from their Twitter or Facebook, that option should be easy enough to include and would further enhance the growth of the app.

Finally, Chili should galvanise users into creating action on ChiliConnect, particularly since it is such a young project. A lot of well known poker rooms have used prop players, although they wouldn’t like to admit it! ChiliConnect has no reason to be different and should not give in to defeat so easily. If they are struggling to attract liquidity then free bets should be given more liberally and it might even be prudent to reward regular users of the app with a rakeback reward type system.

It is obvious ChiliConnect is a great opportunity for players and the industry alike and aside from iTold’em there is no other piece of software that comes close. There is no doubt in my mind that poker players need a suitable platform to interact and connect on. The stakes are high and the first platform that successfully solves this problem will be rewarded with a significant market share and a key role to play in the future of poker.

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Jamie Nevin

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