Ever heard of Nerd Poker?
If so, you surely love it.
If not, you will soon. In fact, you are now.
Where traditional Hollywood players once gathered for golf and drinks, it's video games now. Online gaming session Nerd Poker was founded by gamers/Hollywood Insiders Derek Douglas, left, Ben Fritz, Kevin Chang and Justin Marks, who decided they wanted to network with other gamers while playing Gears of War.
Two years ago, Chang, an executive at Misher Films, and Variety reporter Fritz were chatting about their frustration over the players who challenged them in Gears of War on Xbox Live. They called Marks and Douglas, a William Morris agent in the videogame department, and decided to sign on for weekly gaming sessions together and invited other friends. Soon dozens were showing up. The group now has about 95 members and has become “an opportunity for networking that has led to dozens of business meetings, and even a few deals,” according to a recent LA Times article.
"While the aim was not necessarily to do business, I think the casualness and the lack of pretense made us all really close," said Chang. "And who wouldn't want to do business with friends?"
"I've blown up lots of people I've worked with," Fritz added.
The Nerd Poker group now has breakfasts and dinners at major gaming events such as the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and at ComicCon. In June, the group held a weekend of nonstop gaming called Nerd Fest that was attended by 130 nerds!
"Networking at a certain point becomes a roll-your-eyes, can't-wait-to-get-out-of-it affair," said Marks. "This has never felt like that."