Matt Waxman Shares Details on New Poker League POKERithm
There’s a new poker show in town!
POKERithm, which debuted two weeks ago, was created by World Series of Poker bracelet winner Matt Waxman. It utilizes duplicate poker across four teams of four players. Basically, one player from each team is sat at a table with 100,000 in chips and plays a single hand. That same exact hand – the cards are preset – is also played out at the other three isolated tables. All told, 16 players participate per episode.
After each hand, the chips won or lost by a player are added to a team’s total. The stacks are then reloaded to 100K and another hand is dealt.
There are eight teams –The Archers, Grit, Hooligang, Moxie, The Positives, VikingX, The Soulvers, and Pioneers – each with at least eight players, one of which serves as a team captain.
For Season 0 (because it was a proof of concept season they opted not to include it as an official season) will be 20 regular matches – eight teams will play 10 matches each – streamed weekly culminating in a championship match. New episodes will air every Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST.
Here’s a trailer for POKERithm:
Q&A w/ Matt Waxman
PokerNews recently caught up with founder Matt Waxman to learn a bit more about POKERithm.
What inspired the idea and how did you bring it to life? Can you take us through POKERithm’s origin story so to speak?
I've always enjoyed watching and competing in sports since I was a kid. I've also loved eSports. When I realized I wasn't cut out to be a pro athlete but had some poker success as a young adult, it became such a great outlet for me to compete. I know a lot of other players who share this story. I've always thought that poker could be so much more. The public perception is that it's just a casino game with gamblers, but the truth is that I've met some incredible humans through poker and the best players are incredibly skilled and hard-working individuals who deserve all their success.
So, why not organize a league that can pay them and appreciate them for competing instead of making them travel around, paying expenses, getting raked, and putting up tons of their own money for buy-ins. Don't get me wrong, there will always be that old school element of poker associated with some shady characters and that wild west type of vibe, but I just know it takes a lot to be great at our game, just like any other major competition, and I believe there's room for us to look at poker a little differently - a more wholesome approach. Something that could draw a lot more sponsors and people who love strategic thinking, but may be risk-averse.
How did you go about getting players to participate? What was that whole process like?
I reached out to everyone I knew in poker to see if they would jump on a call to talk about "a project I've been working on" and asked them to participate in the beta testing for POKERithm.com. Soon we're gonna release the platform to the public. It has the same format as our show (just no teams). 16 hands, 100K stacks. First 8 hands 500/1,000 with a 500 ante, the last 8 hands 1,000/2,000 with a 1K ante.
To rank players, there's a patented algorithm that weighs four factors, hence "POKERithm". I asked the top qualifiers of the beta testing if they wanted to compete in a pro league in Vegas that summer (2019). We ended up needing some extra people because it was filmed during WSOP in 2019, and schedules got hectic
We settled on capping teams at a maximum of 10 players. All the matches were shot in June and after a few episodes, we got into a good rhythm and had a real production on our hands. The best feedback was that the players were all really enjoying competing in the concept and talking about it a lot in our group chat.
Are there any specific players or big names that you were excited to have participated?
Of course. I can't speak highly enough of everyone who competed in Season 0. Obviously having WSOP Main Event champ and multiple bracelet winner Joe Cada in the mix was great and Andrew Lichtenberger is literally one of the greatest no-limit hold’em minds of all time. There are tons of extremely accomplished players competing in this show, so it was a real privilege to have them all give so much support to the concept.
Who do you have doing commentary?
I've been doing the commentary and we have a different player who guest hosts each week that plays in the match so our viewers can get to know our players a bit better. We also have a hand analysis segment where our guest host reviews an interesting hand they played during the episode.
What is the POKERithm app?
If you go to POKERithm.com you can play in the first version of our software. Making an account only takes an email address, but if you want to qualify for the league, you'll have to provide more information. No downloads, you just play off a web browser. But right now, our game doesn't work for phones or tablets, you need a computer's web browser.
What do you envision is the future for POKERithm?
When I play my favorite video game, Rocket League, I get amped up about my ranking. It's just a game, and I could never play against the pros, but it gets me excited and I take a lot of pride in how good the game tells me I am. I want that for our poker site. I want people to get happy or angry about decisions they make and strive to be better at poker, but I also want them to be competitive because they love the game and not because of financial reasons.
I think a lot of people are intimidated by poker and our industry is limited with its audience because it costs money to play seriously, and if you don't know what you're doing, you'll lose your money. POKERithm could be a place where people take free-play poker seriously for a ranking like other video games, and there's tougher competition the better you get, but it's also not intimidating for new players to come and compete.
Finally, check out Episode 4 of POKERithm to get a taste of what to expect moving forward: