Poker communities, societies and forums developed quickly when the poker boom kicked off in the early 2000s. After the unknown amateur player, Chris Moneymaker, bested so many professionals in the World Series of Poker in 2003, poker suddenly became very popular, and the resulting few years saw a huge explosion in people wanting to play.
Players started looking to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss tactics and other poker-related news; a task made even easier with the Internet. Gaming communities had already existed before the 2000s, but they were much smaller and less organized, once the poker boom began, the game's social side quickly followed in its wake.
ONLINE POKER SOCIETIES
Offline poker communities mostly form around venues where the game is played, whether it be a casino or social club. Since the emergence of online poker, poker communities were quick to spread across the Internet via social media platforms, growing into a global force. Beyond the smaller local groups, there are also a few larger ones that have thousands of members and even organize events.
RecPoker is a poker website that boasts a vibrant community eager to connect and learn from each other, along with training content for poker players. Starting out as a podcast by founder Steve Fredlund in 2017, RecPoker has since grown a vast membership. Some of the content is free if you create an account, but more is hidden behind a paywall. There are also chances to sign up a weekly poker newsletter, forums and offers to join events and community discussions.
BIG AUGUST REC.GAMBLING EXCURSION (BARGE)
BARGE is an online community of mostly amateur poker players who host a yearly convention in Las Vegas, usually during August's first weekend. Members of the community gather to play a series of poker tournaments and other gambling games. The event features a variety of non-poker related activities including dinners, karaoke and other social outings. Famous poker players, including Doyle Brunson, Mike Caro and Phil Hellmuth have been known to participate as well, either as guest speakers or players. BARGE is only open to members of the rec.gambling community, and registration for the event is required in advance.
The first BARGE meeting was an informal gathering in 1991 during SIGGRAPH, a computer graphics convention. Many of the same players gathered again for a poker tournament at the Mirage a year later. Since their first meeting, the BARGE membership has grown significantly and averages roughly 200 participants at each outing. Like many events in 2020, COVID-19 restrictions forced BARGE to go entirely online, and it remains to be seen whether the group will return to their standard live format in 2021. Read more about BARGE in Lee Jones’ recent article.
The Internet has thousands of websites devoted to poker and general discussions about the game. Some are great with large communities all devoted to helping each other learn and improve their poker skills, others are ghost towns, or full of online trolls that should be avoided at all costs. There are many to choose from, and quite a few are devoted to a certain game type or a specific play style. Gaining membership in these groups is usually fairly simple, and only requires an account at the website.
PokerNews has updates and information on all the latest poker news, while also offering media content and podcasts about poker and the industry in general. Aside from news, they also have people who report live from various poker tournaments. There isn’t really a community or social aspect to PokerNews, but it is a good source of poker-related content.
Running for over a decade, YourPokerDream is an online poker community that focuses on keeping its members up to date on the best tournaments, promotions and deals. They also offer support for members who have any poker questions.
PocketFives is a long-standing poker community that caters specifically for people who enjoy playing multi-table tournaments. Home to many successful tournament players, their forums are full of discussions on the best way to play tournaments, drawing on the experiences of the entire community. The other parts of the website contain the top worldwide and country rankings in online tournaments, and reviews of other online poker sites.
Similar to PocketFives, Huang is a community of poker players aimed at coaching other players who want to concentrate on Sit’n’Go tournaments. They offer forums for poker discussions, free videos and different tools to help train their members to become better at the Sit n Go poker format.
Beasts of Poker offers a wide variety of poker articles, blogs and reviews of poker websites. Their forums offer the chance to talk with like-minded poker players, and they also claim to have a stable of professionals and entrepreneurs who will occasionally field questions about poker.
Rio is mostly a coaching site that offers poker material from seasoned professionals. There are also articles on how to improve poker skills, and forums where players can join and talk about poker topics.
THE BIGGEST POKER FORUMS ON THE INTERNET
Forums are a fast and simple way to connect with players around the world, discuss poker and share information. Generally, it's a requirement to make an account to post or view the topics, but it varies between websites. Forums talk about every aspect of poker, from strategy and bad beats to poker coaching and legal matters. A few have become massive, boasting thousands of members and transcending the online world, resulting in live events and social meetings.
Arguably the most well-known poker forum on the internet, TwoPlusTwo has sub-sections for all game formats and active discussion on a wide variety of poker subjects. Most of the breaking news in the poker world can be found on this forum, and some of the top sections include breaking news and gossip. Unfortunately, with so many people online, trolls and keyboard warriors can hijack threads. Regardless, TwoPlusTwo is one of the most comprehensive online forums for poker.
Cardschat has one of the biggest poker forums on the internet with over two hundred thousand members. Members regularly post topics about live poker, cash games and tips for beginners. There are also community hangout sections where players can discuss other topics, or just chat socially with like-minded people.
PokerStrategy was once one of the most active forums on the internet, nowadays it’s a ghost town. There are still thousands of threads from its heyday covering all aspects of poker, but there is very little new information being posted. There are still areas where general discussions can be had, and new threads can be created, but answers might not be instant like on other forums.
Donkr has members all over the world, but its forums aren't very active anymore. There are reviews for online poker rooms and forums that have loads of poker information, but there are other forums that are more active.
POKER AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has invaded nearly every aspect of people’s lives, including poker. There are online social media groups with tens of thousands of members that share daily posts, poker tips and general poker stories. Nearly every form of social media has a poker community.
Facebook has countless international pages and groups devoted to poker, sharing everything from tips and videos to promotions and poker scenarios. Some are exclusively for people living in a specific region or country, but many are happy to accept players worldwide. Because of the global reach of Facebook, it remains the top social media platform for poker. Even online casinos have started getting proactive, creating their own Facebook pages for players and members to join.
YouTube was initially just a small platform where people shared their videos. Now it is a global juggernaut with billions of videos, according to YouTube, 500 hours of videos are uploaded every minute. While the poker videos are only a small drop in the ocean of content, there are still plenty of content creators and channels that upload poker videos with tips, game analysis, tutorials and poker news. Communities have formed around the most popular content creators and channels with the comment sections full of people discussing poker.
The Reddit community is already very active, with chats and forums loaded with discussions on virtually every subject you can think of, including poker. Memberships in the poker subreddits number 100,000 and continues to grow. A few hundred members are online at all times of the day, and they are willing and able to discuss all poker topics. Posts can be made somewhat anonymously, allowing newer players to ask questions without feeling too self-conscious. Previous topics are still visible and can be viewed at any time, offering a wealth of information from a very vocal social media community.
‘RUN IT UP’
Jason Somerville was one of the first poker players to capitalize on the video streaming platform Twitch. Previously, the platform was primarily for video game content, but Somerville quickly changed the game with his channel 'Run it Up'. Over time, a community formed around the channel which numbered well into the hundreds of thousands.
His success inspired more poker players to create their own channels, and before long, poker became a viable streaming option. Sponsorships from high-profile poker sites soon followed, and the poker community received a considerable boost and another platform to exchange ideas and watch content. 'Run it Up' eventually became so successful, Somerville created his own poker series that has hosted multiple events.
OTHER FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Poker isn't just confined to these platforms; there are options to follow famous poker players on Twitter as well. New social media platforms debut every few years, and while most disappear without much fanfare, a few stick around long enough to create communities. Poker has one of the most vibrant and friendly social communities in the world, the key is to find them, wherever they may be, and whatever platform they are using.
This is a reference article to poker communities and forums in general. It is for entertainment only and is in no way related to, nor a reflection of, Global Poker, its views, products, content, or its games.