CardsChat offers a variety of services to recreational poker players including news, resources, and a wonderfully friendly online forum. This week we had the pleasure of speaking with CardsChat’s long-time Forum Administrator Debi O’Neill. We interviewed Debi to learn more about the site’s offerings and about future directions for CardsChat.
Interview with Debi O’Neill of CardsChat
Heather: CardsChat has been around for about 15 years now, is that correct? Tells us a bit about the history of CardsChat? How was it conceived and by whom?
Debi: Yes, we celebrated our 15-year anniversary this past September! CardsChat was launched in 2004 by Nicholas Kisberg, it was right before the big poker boom when online poker was in its early stages. Players were looking for places to discuss poker and Nick wanted to provide them with a great site for that, where a friendly poker community could be formed.
Heather: And how long have you been with CardsChat? What’s your role there?
Debi: I have been with CardsChat since 2006 – so it will be 14 years this October. I’m the forum administrator and oversee the community as a whole. I love it!
Heather: CardsChat is both interactive – with forums, tournaments etc. – and informational – with extensive news feeds, instructional articles, and poker site reviews. How does that all fit together in what you’re trying to achieve now?
Debi: We want our members to find everything they want in one location. At CardsChat, users can find the best sites to play at, participate in events with members from around the world, keep up with things within the industry, get involved in discussions on the forum and improve their poker skills.
Heather: That’s a great suite of offerings. What aspect of your site do you think is underutilized?
Debi: I’d say our strategy articles and guides. This year we’ll be working on improving the overall layout of these pages and adding even more engaging content for our users. We want to provide our members with the best possible opportunity to improve their skills; we’ll be doing that by adding lots more strategy tips and guides.
Heather: That sounds excellent. I actually just came across your wonderful Home Game Checklist in my work for Advanced Poker Training. Previously, I didn’t know that CardsChat provided those types of resources.
You emphasize CardsChat being a “friendly” site, a rarity for Internet forums. With nearly 300,000 members, how do you keep things friendly?
Debi: We make sure our new members feel welcome right from the start and assist them in any way we can. We have a great team of moderators who try to ensure that discussions remain friendly in the forum. As a community, we also have a very low tolerance for trolling and discourage negativity from the start.
Heather: What role do you feel CardsChat plays in the poker community at large?
Debi: CardsChat provides a friendly community atmosphere for beginner and intermediate poker players to openly discuss poker strategy. We also instill a sense of “family” and belonging among our members which is something they don’t find in other poker communities.
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Heather: When is member activity at its peak – during WSOP, other times?
Debi: During the WSOP we definitely get a big boost in activity – it’s an exciting time for poker players! We also see a boost in December and January, most likely due to more people staying inside and being online during the colder months.
Heather: That makes a lot of sense. What can we look forward to in the development of CardsChat over the next few years?
Debi: You’ll see more training opportunities for our members over the next few years. We will also be launching our first training course soon. We have a lot of other exciting things on the horizon – stay tuned!CardsChat provides a friendly community atmosphere for beginner and intermediate poker players to openly discuss poker strategy.Click To Tweet
Heather: Finally, do you play poker yourself? If so, what are your favorite games and venues?
Debi: I do play poker – I played a lot of online poker before Black Friday. PokerStars was always my favorite site. I slowed down a bit after that but started playing more live poker in Las Vegas. Though I am very busy with CardsChat now, I still manage to make it out there twice a year. I only play NLHE tournaments. Some of my favorite poker rooms are The Wynn and The Aria. I play a few WSOP events at the Rio every summer.
Heather: We love visiting Las Vegas during the WSOP as well. What a great opportunity to meet up with your community and get some poker in too. Anything else you would like to tell us?
Debi: We are very excited about reaching 300,000 members in the next 2-3 months! We are very thankful for each and every one of them, we have amazing members from all over the world. Our next goal will be half a million members!
Heather: We can see that you are very close! Thanks so much for talking with us, and good luck getting to 300,000 and beyond.
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