Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Two Hundred Posts Later

200th postAmid those “Shamus in Vegas” posts, I mentioned getting to visit a bit with Tom Schneider, poker pro and co-host of Beyond the Table, as he satellited his way into the WPT Championship at the Bellagio. During our conversation, Tom asked me why I started writing the blog. Kind of how I first got acquainted with the Beyond the Table guys -- they talked about poker blogs on their show once, I wrote something about it, and we have been in dialogue ever since.

Responding to Tom’s question, I recall starting off with an “I don’t know,” then murmuring some applesauce about participating in the “community” or the like. I remember thinking afterwards I had a much more articulate, interesting answer to that question to share, but something had gotten in between me and that part of my brain. Could have been the sight of Shannon Elizabeth at the next table.

During those Vegas posts, the first birthday of Hard-Boiled Poker happened past. And this here is the two hundredth post. Ran a quick count at the end of April and found I’d written something like 180,000 words altogether. A couple of hefty novels’ worth of prose, that. Or four of five of those penny dreadfuls I like. Having devoted so much time and energy to this here enterprise, you can imagine how the “I don’t know” response would tend to dissatisfy yr humble servant.

I’ve written the “what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here” post before, of course. More than once, actually. In fact, during the first few months of the blog I often consciously had to resist that self-reflexive, lookee-what-I-found-here-in-my-navel urge.

Had a few decent efforts along those lines, though. In “An Existential Pause” (marking the three-month anniversary), I wrote about a conversation between Cincinnati Sean (of Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio) and Iggy, the “Blogfather,” about poker blogs and their purpose. (Speaking of anniversaries . . . happy birthday, Ignatius!) In “Milestones” (the 100th post), I tried again, relating the whole blogging thing to a kind of existential record-keeping. And that post about the Beyond the Table discussion -- “Who Wants to Write About Poker?” -- also tried to tackle the question in a different way. (Some terrific, insightful comments from other bloggers on that latter post, by the way -- check ’em out.)

So I won’t reiterate those thoughts here. But I will try again to answer the question Tom asked me. And against form, I’m gonna be succinct.

First started the blog with an idea that doing so might help me improve as a player. Soon realized that was only a small part of what the blog was about. A few months in, I saw the posts naturally segregate themselves into those sections that run along the right-column, with the “On the Street” posts (about hands) and those “Shots in the Dark” (about theory) being the only ones specifically related to the original purpose. Nearly a third of the 200 posts have been responses to “The Rumble” or how poker is discussed and debated in sundry locales (e.g., mainstream news, websites, blogs, podcasts, senate floors, what have you).

Haven’t had too much occasion lately to discuss poker pros and celebs (or “High Society”), although that will probably change once the WSOP cranks up again next month. And I’d like to try to write more about what I’m reading (“By the Book”) -- both poker-wise and hard-boiled-wise -- but that often takes special effort.

What I like most about keeping the blog -- I’ve mentioned this before, too -- is the way it helps me link up (literally and figuratively) with others similarly fascinated by poker and all it touches. Aside from the flurry of posts here over the last couple of weeks, I’ve basically followed an every-other-day routine whereby I’ll write one day, then read what others are saying the next.

As I said a couple of months ago in “Community Watch,” “This here is a complicated, overlapping set of communities where (one might argue) we all eventually get around to hearing from each other. Unlike the world of print media, we ain’t so bound by time and space -- or even other factors that make it hard or even impossible for us otherwise to communicate with others. Here the interaction seems more alive (if that makes sense), and usually more meaningful.”

Now that I think about it, I suppose my response to Tom was somewhat accurate after all. I don’t know exactly what the blog is for, but I do know it puts me in contact with a lot of folks whose company I very much enjoy. So thanks for reading . . . and keep writing yrselves.

And we’ll all make sense of it eventually.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I´m trying to get my blog going more regularly. Time is a problem but more than that I´m trying to get a sort of a structure to work with. Or at least got some rough outline for the immediate future (i.e. some stuff to talk about).

This is my second blog. The first was more general, a fair amount being about the emotional side of playing poker, trying to beat the game with the intention of earning some money with it.
That intention is still there but first and foremost I love the game. The two-from-hole-card/three-from-the-community-cards makes the game unique among poker variations. Pot limit is very suited to add to the complexity because every bet changes the dynamics. With limit you know what your opponent can bet. The same goes for no limit.

So bottom line, I love the game and I can´t keep my thoughts to myself, therefore I blog. And there is the social part. In my offline circle of friends and family, I know only one the likes Omaha, the rest is no limit Texas Holdem all the way to the point that some of them feel that that is the only real poker game and the rest falls in the category of Follow The Queen and Deuces Wild. Now i could go off and say how the supposed complexity of NLHE is highly overrated..... but I won´t :D

5/09/2007 3:23 AM  
Anonymous richard said...

Whatever your reasons, all I know is that you should keep blogging. You're doing great.

There are so many great poker blogs out there, full of personality and insight and humor and everything, that it's intimidating for me, which is one of the reasons why I'm more than happy to be a reader.

5/09/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger Dremeber said...


Congrats with your 200th post. Not many of us bloggers survive long enough in the blogger regions to accomplish this milestone.

While reading your post, I asked myself the same question “Why do I blog about Poker?”. I think I started the blog to share my experiences with the world, with the back in my mind hoping on some affiliate money (that bubble is already popped). Also I consider it a logbook of my poker achievements or in my case the lack of them. Was also hoping that it would improve my poker play (again a bubble popped). Still I keep on writing cause I like as I like to read other blogs. Like many of us I have great ideas for my blog, but I just don’t find to time or motivation to do it. Finally I set myself some goals. That's a start I guess.

Keep on blogging,

5/11/2007 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats Shamus.

If someone can find me a better blog out there than this then please do.

Well done Shamus and here's to the next 200


5/15/2007 10:06 AM  

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