Having lived in the online poker world for about four years now, I was starting to wonder if any real innovation would enter the online poker arena. Throughout the middle of last year, I was unimpressed with many of the newer entries to the online poker realm. Many seemed very formulaic, and still many others seemed like they were thrown together without much thought to game play, or certainly to customer service. Two online rooms have caught my eye recently as really trying to make a difference in the online poker world, and one of them is Everest Poker. The first thing you notice is an incredible attention to detail with respect to the graphics. Many of the leading online poker rooms still feel clunky to me, but I have been playing there so long that I have gotten used to it. Everest is the first room I have seen where the graphics rival that of “real” video games, and are very slick, and sophisticated. Obviously, great graphics alone are not going to draw players to play at a particular room, but it is a good start. Another distinguishing feature of Everest Poker is the multilingual chat feature about Free Sports Picks. This feature is unique to the online poker world. Whatever a players country of origin, the chat can be converted to that players language (you select your language upon install of the program). I played at a number of tables to try to get a feel for the play of this site, and all the chat I saw was in English. I remember really shaking my head some three or four years ago thinking “Man, I’m playing poker in my living room against someone in Germany”. Today, I shake my head thinking “Man, I’m playing poker in my living room against someone in Germany…and I can TALK to him in his language” Recently, I sat down with an executive from Everest Poker to talk about Everest’s experience in entering the online poker realm. PN: When was Everest poker launched, and when did it go live for real money? EP: Everest Poker had its beta launch on July 1, 2004, and its official hard launch on July 30, 2004. PN: The graphics are the richest I have seen. Was this a focus early on? EP: Graphics were a crucial focus, naturally, but as part of the larger consideration of user-friendliness. We felt that with many competitors, viewing the tables and following the action as it progressed around the table was less than ideal. We wanted to eliminate as much confusion as possible on the part of our players. Our 3-D design, combined with the rainbow-colored timer, Action Summary and Results Window, makes it very easy on users’ eyes and easy for them to follow what is happening in the game. PN: One feature that I think is great is the multilingual chat. Can you explain how that works, and how the idea came about? EP: Chat is definitely a “must-have” feature in multi-player games and online poker, and since we support multiple languages, our thoughts naturally progressed toward how we could let players from different countries and native languages communicate with each other. The “F” keys are our first quick & easy solution to addressing that problem, and we are working on more extensive multi-lingual functionality as well. PN: I think the ‘find a table’ feature on the front page is a great idea. What started this idea? EP: Again, in studying our competitors — and thinking ahead to a time when our list of tables and tournaments would be very long — we felt that sorting the column parameters was still not ideal in terms of maximum efficiency. Even for many players who know exactly what table size, stakes and limit type they’re looking for, there’s still the matter of finding an empty seat! Our table wizard addresses all of that with a single click. PN: I notice you have many free rolls. Players don’t have to make a deposit to play for real money. Will this be a feature of the site for the foreseeable future?