I stepped forward and said I was a listener who just wanted to say hello. When I mentioned Hard-Boiled Poker, Wade said “Oh, yeah . . . I know you. Come on around.” I stepped into the booth and took a seat behind the laptops and microphones.
Hold ’em Radio first went live in early 2005, initially broadcasting from Austin, Texas. The internet station carries numerous live poker shows, most of which are also made available as downloadable podcasts and via RSS feeds. The station has broadcast something like two dozen different regular poker shows over the last two years.
I found Hold ’em Radio sometime last year, and while I’ve sampled several of the shows my favorites have been Keep Flopping Aces (hosted by Amy Calistri and Lou Krieger) and Beyond the Table. (Beyond the Table has recently gone “independent,” although my understanding is that its old shows will continue to be archived in the Hold ’em Radio “vault.”) A new show, Poker Psychology, hosted by Dr. Al Schoonmaker, also looks interesting, having already brought in Mason Malmuth, David Sklansky, and Barry Tanenbaum as guests.
The station made the move to Vegas to set up shop there in Binion’s just a few weeks ago. The move is an excellent idea, and should mean an increase in the number of big-name guests on the various shows.
As I took my seat I could hear an interview playing over the speakers inside the booth. Wade double-checked the status of the file, then we chatted about various topics. We talked a bit about the station’s new digs and the logistics of operating an internet radio station. Wade mentioned how Sklansky had been in that week (for the Schoonmaker show) and how contrary to expectations he had been a fun interview. (Will have to check that out.) Wade also noted the station’s plans to start video streams of shows in the near future.
We discussed Beyond the Table, the travails of getting money in and out of online poker sites, and a bit of Omaha and Stud strategy. Wade has a warm, inviting personality -- probably the best sort of profile to manage the many different characters who appear on Hold ’em Radio. That fact -- along with our many common interests -- made it a true pleasure just to sit and shoot the breeze with him for the half-hour or so I ended up sticking around. Here’s a shot of Wade in action behind the mic:
(If you look in the upper-left portion of the picture, you can barely make out the table where I had just finished playing, still full of the same players.)
I told Wade how I’d enjoyed listening to Lou Krieger’s interview with Howard Schwartz, owner of the Gambler’s Bookshop, from last summer -- you can find it here -- and how that was my next stop. Wade recommended talking to Howard and seeing if he’d show me some of his archives in the back of the shop. We talked a bit about the station’s Friday night parties when they host tourneys over on Cake Poker and broadcast live, and Wade showed me the nearly empty bottle of tequila kept under the table for such occasions.
As I got up to leave, Wade invited me to come back the next day for some live broadcasting. “We’ll put you on the air,” he said. I said that sounded like it would be a lot of fun. I thought I might come back, too, but ended up not being able to make it back downtown on Saturday. I noticed the sign for “Benny’s Bullpen” to the left and asked Wade if it were okay to go up the stairs to see what was going on. He said it was fine, but nothing was really happening up there. He was right.
I came back down and waved goodbye to Wade as I walked back through the poker room. It was around 2 p.m. I ended up grabbing a super sloppy chili-and-cheese hot dog and a Coke there at Binion’s before making my way back out to Fremont Street.
Next stop, the Gambler’s Bookshop.
Labels: *on the street