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To Agree or Disagree, Is that The Question?
If you were to look up the meaning of the word 'Discord' you would find out that it means the state of not agreeing or sharing opinions. It's probably a great name then for the online platform where a huge amount of poker debate and discussion takes place each and every day. We are talking of course about the PokerStars School Discord Channel where players from our community come together to agree, or disagree, on how our wonderful game should be played optimally. If you haven't heard of Discord and would like to find out more about it then you can check out this introduction to the platform here.

Since it's introduction by Lee Jones back in 2017 it's going from strength to strength and grown immensely in popularity. In this interview for PokerStars School we catch-up with long-time contributor Kevin 'Scoobydubiou' Bilmes who can be found almost daily posting hands for review and commenting on the posts by other members. How did he first get into poker? What's his favourite format? And why does he like Discord so much? All is revealed below...

PokerStars School: Tell us a little about yourself, what's your background, where do you come from, age, job etc...
I am 49 years old and was born in Montreal, Canada. I grew up in Brantford, Ontario and now reside in Kitchener. I lost the job I had recently selling hardware, lawn equipment and water treatment when the company closed, which lately affords me more time to play on PokerStars.

PokerStars School: How did you get into poker?
I started a new job at an electronics store about 13 years ago and was invited to a home game by a group of friends I had met there. I had not played before and wasn't even sure of the hand rankings, I, of course, started losing hands right away until someone said to me "look at the board and try to think of what the other players might have" and it just clicked. There were 8 of us sitting at the table and I won the 2nd sit and go that we played. From then on I was hooked. I went home and deposited $20 on PokerStars, fired up a 45 person $1 sit and go, and won that. After that, there was no looking back.

PokerStars School: When did you join PokerStars School, and in what way has it helped you improve your poker game?
I joined the School almost exactly 6 years ago. The articles and training videos found there are an invaluable tool to improve your poker game and should be sought out by a new or rec player looking to increase their profit. The live training videos are great as well and I would be remiss to leave out the region-specific Master League games that I play, which are run by the Poker School and offer points based leaderboards and award very generous T$ prizes. I won a big prize in February and am on track to hopefully win an even bigger one in March!

PokerStars School: You are a regular on the PokerStars Discord channel. Tell us what you like most about this platform?
I find being able to chat in real time with other poker players through the Discord platform to be more my speed than the forums for discussing poker strategy. There are quite a few very knowledgeable individuals there who can help you dissect a hand or even tell you if you might have bet too much on the turn. Also, I enjoy the camaraderie I share with the discord regs when the conversation veers toward other topics. It can be quite a fun place to hang out, chat and meet new people to talk about poker or a variety of other topics.  Also, we have started using the voice channel, which has added another element of fun to the Discord server as we rail and cheer each other on!

PokerStars School: Would you post many hands there for review?
I do post a few hands per week for discussion when I am uncertain if I played a hand correctly and would like to hear the opinions of others. There are usually many responses it is certainly an invaluable tool to improve my game. One of the people who responds a lot is someone who made some of the training videos on the School site. Shoutout at TheLango!

PokerStars School: What is your favorite format? Is it tournaments, sit & go's, cash games, or spin & go's?
I play MTTs more than anything else. They are the most exciting to me, and if you can get deep enough, can offer the biggest prizes. When I am on time constraints it is 1 or 2 table sit and go's all the way.

PokerStars School: Do you follow a strategy when you play poker? Sort of like a checklist while you play?
My basic strategy is to learn the table as fast as I can, eg. who is raising light, calling light etc.  Who is opening wide or every hand, and then, of course, use that information to enhance my own style of gameplay around theirs. Of course, being an MTT player my gameplay strategy changes as the blind progress and stacks get shallower. My count is so high right now (around 17K tourneys and sit and go's on PokerStars) that most of this happens fairly automatically and I don't really need a mental checklist.

PokerStars School: What tips or advice would you recommend to other players just starting off.
Being a Discord regular, I see a lot of new players come and go, many of them asking for advice, and a lot of them with lofty goals already in mind. My first piece of advice to new players is to not start off with the goal of going pro in 6 months or a year (as a few have confided in me). This is an unrealistic goal.  The key is to learn the game as best as you can and then use the tools available to get better and better at it. Luckily for PokerStars School members, there are articles and videos that start at the basics and go all the way up to advanced training.  I can't say enough as to what an invaluable tool these are. They cover pretty much every poker topic and are designed to improve your game.

The tools are all there. All you need to do is utilize them and you will become a winning player. Also, I should talk a bit about bankroll management for new players. If you are a new player and making your first deposit, make sure you only deposit as much as you are willing to lose because a LOT of new players usually lose their first deposit. However one of the ways you can avoid this is to play within your means. Try to have 100 buy-ins for whatever you start off playing. This way, as the learning process settles in, and you lose some along the way, you will still have many buy-ins to continue learning and progress towards becoming a better and winning player.
Wish Kevin the best of luck a the tables by leaving him a comment below.

Player 'Scoobydubiou' has been credited with T$25 as a token of thanks for sharing his story. Would you like to share your story? See here for more details.

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