Friday, February 23, 2007

The Caveman, Cub, and Donkey Are Back

PokerWire Radio debuts this SaturdayFans of the old Circuit hosted by Scott Huff, Joe Sebok, and Gavin Smith will be glad to learn that the trio is returning with a new show on PokerWire radio (located at the PokerWire site). According to Huff’s MySpace page, the new show will make its debut this weekend at the L.A. Poker Classic. Joe Sebok also has made an announcement over on his blog. According to Sebok, Huff “will be jumping on board only for the Los Angeles shows, to give us a solid kick in the ass, and also so we can get the proverbial band together once again. Rest easy though, as we will be transitioning to a new and quite able host for subsequent shows.”

Good news for just about everyone, I’d think. Everyone except those involved with the current Circuit.

For various reasons, the new crew has had a rough go of it since it restarted the CardPlayer poker podcast back in mid-December. One factor plaguing the new Circuit from early on has been the hosts’ near-obsessive, oft-expressed concern with how the show is being received. One could allow for such self-consciousness early on, and indeed, during those first few shows from the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the hosts gained some points by sharing on air some of the early negative feedback in humorous ways. But constant reminders of how “good” the show is (not to mention frequent references to its status as the top poker podcast download on the ’net) haven’t played as well.

Then came that much-ballyhooed video “exposé” in which CardPlayer accused a Bluff reporter of allegedly appropriating content from the CardPlayer site. The video is “authored” (so to speak) by Circuit co-host Rich Belsky. (Belsky is also an agent who represents Mike Matusow, John D’Agostino, and Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh.) As anyone who has seen the video can attest, the evidence it presents is highly dubious, not least because of CardPlayer’s use of an “anonymous eyewitness” -- with pixellated face obscured, Cops! style -- explaining what “it seemed like” we were watching. While the Bluff reporter’s actions depicted on the video are ambiguous, the intentions of CardPlayer and Belsky were crystal clear. Having observed an opportunity to slight a competitor, CardPlayer ran with it.

With the coming of PokerWire radio’s show, we’re starting to see such unseemly insecurity surface yet again over on The Circuit forum (located on the CardPlayer site). Since The Circuit’s revival, several threads have been devoted to various criticisms of the new hosts and certain episodes. A few contributors have been supportive, but the overall tenor of the feedback has been unfavorable.

I joined the CardPlayer forums last summer and have taken part in discussions about The Circuit only sporadically. Like many, I have been less inclined to follow the discussions over there since Scott, Joe, and Gavin left the show. I happened to go back over yesterday, though, and saw that late Wednesday afternoon a new thread had begun titled “Why keep deleting our posts?” The original poster, rj2658 -- probably one of the single most active contributors to the CP forums -- writes “I’d just like a member of ‘The Circuit’ to explain why they are deleting all of our posts regarding other radio shows. If you are going to continue to do so, I think you at least owe an explanation to your loyal listeners.”

Several others responded, echoing the complaint that their posts mentioning other poker podcasts had been deleted from the forum. After a half-dozen such posts, Circuit host Konan Luce posted an explanation that “the posts that were removed had links within directing people to competitors’ sites” and that “as is standard with most forums, links to other sites can be considered spam.” Some immediately pointed out that a few of the deleted posts had referred to other shows but had not contained external links. Furthermore, as rj2658 explained, “all you have to do is delete the links, which is what most of our forum moderators do. There is no need to delete entire posts or entire threads.”

Curious enough that The Circuit would actually consider other poker podcasts to be direct “competitors” -- as if people choose poker podcasts the same way they choose, say, a family doctor or computer operating system. And while forum moderators are correct to remove unwanted “spam” links unrelated to the discussions they contain, to remove simple references to other shows seems overly tyrannical. Now threads and discussions about the new Poker Wire show are starting -- and disappearing. And at least one poster, Justin “jshronk” Shronk who interned for the show last summer and has continued to contribute frequently to the forum, has apparently had his user ID banned. (He reappeared late last night as “shronkdaddy.”)

Should be interesting to see what comes next over on the forums. Meanwhile, I do look forward to the new PokerWire show. Best of luck to the Caveman, the Cub, and the Donkey in their efforts to negotiate space in this eccentric world of poker media. Can be difficult, sometimes, with that elephant that calls itself the “Poker Authority” in the room.

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4 Comments:

Blogger MacAnthony said...

It's too bad that the new hosts are handling these situations in such a poor way. If you are going to make a publicly accessible forum, it should be for the public and censoring the content is just a poor way of handling, what they must perceive, as negative information.

I still listen to the show but I in no way consider it the same show. I'm always considering cutting down the podcasts I listen to, though, and right now, they aren't real high on the list.

2/23/2007 1:46 PM  
Blogger derbywhite said...

Shamus

The guys are back!! That's the best news I have heard for ages.

2/27/2007 10:54 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

MacAnthony -- agreed. You heard the Circuit this week? Strange stuff . . . .

Derbywhite! Good to hear from you, man!

2/28/2007 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree

2/15/2008 5:29 PM  

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