Doug Polk has a new grudge on the go. Unfortunately, it could be hard for him to take on this opponent in a heads-up duel 4 rollz. The ex-poker pro’s latest beef is with the blockchain tech company Polkadot.
“Apparently the cryptocurrency ‘Polkadot’ is launching a poker site,” tweeted Polk last week. “Guess what they are calling the platform? Polker.”
He’s either mad that they haven’t brought him on as a sponsored pro, or they did, and his fury is part of a long-con viral marketing plan. However, his off-the-cuff tweet makes the former option more likely.
This all seems a bit cheeky for a company operating in the overlap between crypto and poker. That realm is Polk’s jam. And he’s got brand recognition for days in both areas. If this was done innocently, someone should check on their market research team, because I imagine no one has heard from them in a while.
“Found a random article,” the retired poker pro tweeted, along with a link to some coverage of Polker put out by blocktelegraph.io. What’s odd is that he seems to be giving Polker more air time than Polkadot itself.
This may just be because Polker is still in its early stages. If you dig deep enough on the Polker website you will find that the software is still waiting on licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Quebec.
What are Polkadot and Polker?
The final product looks ambitious. Not only will it be a blockchain-based poker site similar to the much higher profile Virtue Poker, but it will also sport all manner of bells and whistles. The finished platforms will have a VR option, with the whole thing put together in Epic Games’s Unreal 4 engine. There will be all the NFTs you’d expect. And the Polker team has put together a highly gamified rewards system that looks like an necessarily baroque version of PokerStars’ box rewards.
Min Yi, the CEO of Polker, emphasised that this was the sites USP.
“Polker gives players a truly engaging gameplay experience by utilizing 3D animation, VFX and NFTs,” Yi says. “However, the heart of this project is the transparency and provable fairness we bring to online gambling. Above all else, it is vital that our players know they are competing on an even footing.”
Polker may only be the second such site to ever launch. Virtue Poker went live this week, and the Polker team must be watching it fledge in the market with fear and trembling. It is the first indicator of how rough their ride is likely to be after launch.
If Polker sounds ambitious, that’s nothing compared with Polkadot’s expressed goal to entirely rebuild the world wide web.
“Polkadot will enable a completely decentralized web where users are in control,” its About Page announces. “By empowering innovators to build better solutions, we seek to free society from its reliance on a broken web where its large institutions can’t violate our trust.”
Can Polker succeed?
There are a couple of red flags that make one wonder if the team behind this effort really know what they are doing.
Not only did they appear to be unaware of Doug Polk‘s surname, but they abbreviate their site to PKR in much of their bumf. They don’t seem aware that PKR was a 3D poker game quite similar to theirs, which proved so unpopular that it went out of business in 2017. The PKR.com brand may even still be owned by Videoslots which bought all the PKR assets at the time.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of poker community input. The Team Page lists legal and PR advisors, but no players or even industry-related poker advisors.
Virtue Poker got Phil Ivey to shill for them. Polker doesn’t seem to be engaging with poker players at all. An odd choice given that poker players will be the entire market for Polker’s product.
Perhaps Polker should be trying harder to get Doug on their side. Maybe they could even learn a thing or two.
Featured image source: Flickr by Marco Verch Professional Photographer