DD Poker 3 Released, Interview with PokerSoftware.com

Date: 2009-02-04
Author: Dan Cypra

DD Poker recently released its third version and, much to the delight of poker software enthusiasts around the world, its price tag is extremely affordable: free. You can play practice poker against the program itself or battle it out against others through an online interface. DD Poker 3 comes complete with an odds calculator, hand replayer, and full stats display to examine and improve your play. It even has a built-in clock to run your very own home game, all for free. PokerSoftware.com sat down with Doug Donohoe, the program’s designer, to learn about the development of DD Poker 3.

PokerSoftware.com: Why was the decision made to develop DD Poker 3?

Donohoe: DD Poker 3 was a natural outcome of the decision to change our business model to free software.  There were several changes made to the game itself and our backend servers.

PokerSoftware.com: Explain how DD Poker 3 differs from the previous version.

Donohoe: It helps to understand that DD Poker 3 is more than just a game you install on your computer.  A large component of it is the DD Poker website.  There, players can see games that are available to join, games that are running, and historical games.  They can see who is atop the leader board, search for players, and see who has hosted the most number of games.  In addition, players can chat about various topics in our forums.  The website is the basis of the online community.

Version 3 includes changes to both the game and website. On the game side, our customers have long enjoyed taking screen shots of great hands.   However, this requires screen capture software or dealing with Windows’ cumbersome key combos.  Version 3 has a feature built into the game that allows players to take a screen shot at any time and then save it to a file. 

We fixed a couple of minor bugs, including a problem in the CalcTool where the deal distribution wasn't fully random for large simulations. We have also upgraded the installer and uninstaller.  On Windows, we now support Vista and the installer and executable file are "signed" so people know that they have an authentic Donohoe Digital product.

On the website side, we combined "www.ddpoker.com" and "online.ddpoker.com" into one dynamic site.  We added new features, including the My Profile page, where players can perform account maintenance on the website.  We added the DD Poker Store where players can purchase logo merchandise or donate to support our operations.  Finally, we have laid the framework for future website changes, including integrated forums and other social networking features.

PokerSoftware.com: Talk about the decision not to charge for the software.

Donohoe: Our biggest competition is the free, play money online poker rooms that are sponsored by their real money counterparts.  It is very hard to compete against free, especially companies with huge revenues that can afford to advertise on television.  We have a unique product that we feel people will really like once they have used it for awhile.  In particular, users of the software can set up private tournaments of their own design and compete against either people they know or serious poker players who are part of the DD Poker community.  By offering it for free, our hope is to gain a wider audience and convince people who like the game to donate to support it or purchase a DD Poker T-Shirt. 

Our existing customers have formed a friendly community.  They even self-organize a trip to Las Vegas each November where they play in a DD Poker players’ tournament and enjoy the city’s thrills.

PokerSoftware.com: What features are you expecting to add in the future?

Donohoe: Next, I'd like to integrate our forums into the website.  Right now, we use a third party company and players need a different login.  It would be nice to have the same login and be able to comment on specific games.  We'll also keep an eye on how the "free" nature impacts the quality of the online games.  We may need to add a player ranking so hosts can choose who joins their games (for example, players with a minimum number of games or a certain skill level).

PokerSoftware.com: Explain what players can expect from your customer service.

Donohoe: Visit our forums and you'll see high praise from our customers regarding our excellent support.  We try to resolve problems as quickly as possible.  We have extensive online help for common problems.

PokerSoftware.com: How’d you get started with the company?

Donohoe: I formed Donohoe Digital to focus on building fun software (a change from building e-commerce software out in Silicon Valley).  Our first game was a conversion of the board game “War: Age of Imperialism.” It was a finalist at the 2005 Independent Games Festival.  At the time, I had been playing poker at local tournaments in the Bay Area and occasionally in Las Vegas.  At one tournament, I had a "eureka" moment.  I realized that poker was growing in popularity, but there wasn't any great software to practice on or play online with friends.  Thus, DD Poker was born.  To this day, we are still the only peer-to-peer poker software and the best for playing custom tournaments with friends.

Check out DD Poker 3 today.

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