ICE 2017: PokerStars set to launch new play-at-home app

ICE 2017: PokerStars set to launch new play-at-home app

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The app will be released on iOS and Android platforms simultaneously

PokerStars has been developing a ‘truly communal TV poker experience’, which is set to launch as a play-at-home app later this year.

The PokerStars: Big Screen Edition app will connect with Google Chromecast to allow players to play poker on TV with friends in the same room through their smartphones. Communal information is shared on screen, with hole cards and betting mechanisms hidden on phone.

Speaking at ICE VOX, Head of Creative Labs for PokerStars Daniel Lehnberg said that PokerStars was re-imagining the live poker game for the 21st century by applying their vast online poker experience to ‘alleviate some of the friction points’ of live poker.

Presenting the case study ‘Designing for TV as a medium for the first truly communal betting experience', Lehnberg said: “The live poker experience is marred with a slow pace of play, complicated rules, hand resolutions, and edge cases. You need to buy and set up equipment like tables, felts, chips, and cards, and then store it somewhere when you don’t play.

“And if you’re playing for real money, you are faced with the challenge of managing money and doing reconciliation of funds. All of these friction points are problems we solved with online, and so why not apply those to live poker as well?”

PokerStars’ Creative Labs division devised an app as an answer to that question, breaking away from the traditional ‘one device for one user’ approach in doing so. The concept was also built on the fact that smart TV is used as platform in more than 1.5 billion households worldwide. Last year, 52% of households in the US had a smart TV, which is effectively an internet-connected computer specialising in entertainment.

PokerStars has used HTML5 to create the app, which provides the benefits of a ‘designed for TV first’ product rather than simply replicating their existing offerings. Lehnberg said that PokerStars viewed this project as a play money small bet and an extension of its existing business, both reaching out to new markets and serving established poker fans.

The app will be released on iOS and Android platforms simultaneously and PokerStars intends to test the concept in live card rooms and home games.

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