Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Poker Podcast Line-Up (Part I, 6-10)

Thought it time to round up some current poker podcasts and bring 'em in for questioning. The line-up is as follows (ordered alphabetically): All-In Poker, Ante Up!, California Poker Radio, Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio, CardPlayer's The Circuit, Full Tilt Poker's Tips From the Pros, Netbettor, Phil Gordon's WSOP Poker Podcasts, Poker Diagram, and Rounders.

Will post my reviews in two parts. I've ranked them 1 through 10, giving each a rating corresponding to a Hold 'em hand holding. Here are the bottom five:

Poker Diagram6. Poker Diagram
The brainchild of a couple of witty Londoners, Henry and Zog, who came up with the novel approach (since emulated by others) of podcasting a kind of “play-by-play” rundown while one of them (usually Zog) participates in an online tourney. The pair have been producing shows for nearly a year now (they’re approaching 40 episodes total). They tinker with the format occasionally -- playing Omaha instead of Hold ’em, for instance, or playing on a different site than their usual Poker Room -- but for the most part stick fairly closely to the rubric with which they began. As a result, the episodes (which run from 30 minutes to over an hour) all tend to sound alike. Thus while you’ll probably enjoy the first few, you may grow weary after awhile. Still, these two are quite engaging and interact effectively, with the conservative-minded Henry often chiding Zog for playing too loosely. They also have produced their own cool music for the opening/closing and the bumpers, and have one of the more clever podcast introductions you’ll find (“This is London calling . . . raising . . . and folding!"). Rating: 98 suited; worth playing in favorable circumstances

Full Tilt Poker's Tips From the Pros7. Full Tilt Poker's Tips From the Pros
Yet another way for Full Tilt Poker to exploit the growing gang of professional players (Lederer, Ferguson, et al.) it has gathered under its logo. Like the FSN television show (Full Tilt Poker Presents Learn from the Pros), these brief clips (10 minutes or less) are geared toward providing instruction to novice players. Nine shows are currently available on the FTP website. A couple are interesting enough, although ultimately the tips they provide are all fairly obvious and/or stale. You might be the sort of person who will be curious to hear the one on “Money Management” in which Chris “Jesus” Ferguson describes how he turned $1 into $20,000 playing online -- don’t believe, however, that you’ll really “find out how you can too” (as the website claims). Rafe Furst’s advice about playing big slick is probably also worth checking out. Rating: Ace-rag offsuit; can be played, but unlikely to prove profitable

California Poker Radio8. California Poker Radio
Hosted by the dubiously-named Bobby Spade, CPR is a weekly show out of San Diego that appears to have begun airing last December. The show is overburdened by long introductions and bumpers, commercials, and a host who often seems about ten months behind the times when it comes to the poker world. (The 45-minute shows are also split into three files, adding to the tedium of downloading and firing up this one.) According to his website, Spade is a professional voice-over “artist” and motivational speaker who can also be hired out as a master of ceremonies for your special event. As such a profile might suggest, Spade possesses plenty of energy and enthusiasm (not to mention a radio-friendly voice), but never really seems to have much to say other than to repeat what we’ve all heard dozens of times before. (His executive producer, Sergio, occasionally chimes in, but also has little to add.) CPR does bring in a steady stream of big-name guests (e.g., Tom McEvoy, Mike Sexton, Roy Cooke, Phil Gordon, Greg Raymer), although Spade tends to dominate the interviews with his own partially-cooked observations about whatever point the guest brings up. Still, if you’re interested in a particular personality you might check out the archives to see if he or she has been on the show. Otherwise, California Poker Radio can be discarded unless you’re desperate to hear anything poker-related. Rating: a pair of deuces; can be played on occasion, but keep expectations low

Netbettor.com9. Netbettor
This podcast is associated with the Netbettor online site, the stated purpose of which is to help players “get paid, not played.” Among its various offerings one can find a handful of short (6-10 minute) instructional clips devoted to Hold ’em and Hold ’em only. The clips feature host Shelley Downs reading articles penned by her brother, professional player Guy Downs. (Indeed, this has to be the most clinical-sounding, carefully-scripted podcast of the ten.) The clips are interesting, but not terribly gripping. None of the advice they contain is out-of-line, but none is particularly new either. Rating: K8 offsuit; play only if you are having a hard time staying awake

All-In Poker with Brian Mollica10. All-In Poker
Not so much a poker show as a somewhat inclusive-sounding meeting place for listeners and contributors to the show’s online forum (where all are invited to “bang the boards” -- sheesh). All-In Poker is part of the “MySportsRadio” sports podcast network, a family of amateurish shows produced by wannabes from all over this great world of ours. The show is sponsored by Titan Poker, although I wonder if the site really wants to be represented quite this way. Episodes are produced with great frequency -- the 25-30 minute shows appear at least twice per week -- and the show has been around for several months (nearly 100 episodes). Brian Mollica hosts the show solo, playing sound clips phoned in by his small but clearly devoted posse of fans. He claims to be 27 years old, though he sounds more like a precocious preteen who found his daddy’s tape recorder and now spends time recording himself imitate sports radio jocks and used car commercial announcers. Forget about learning any strategy or picking up on any news here; indeed, you may well feel marginally dumber with each episode. Rating: 72-offsuit; play only for sh*ts and giggles

Okay, you five . . . outta here. Bring in the others. Come back and learn how they made it through the interrogation tomorrow . . . .

Images: PokerDiagram, Full Tilt Poker, California Poker Radio, Netbettor, All-In Poker.

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