I first started listening to BTT back in the fall of 2006. Had been snooping around on the Hold ’em Radio site looking through the different shows and happened to download one of theirs. Found myself cracking up at a story Schneider told about playing a high-stakes mixed game in which Jean-Robert Bellande was doing a bit of angle-shooting. Grabbed a few more episodes and quickly came to appreciate both Askenasy & Michalski’s quick wit as well. I also really liked hearing how the poker pro responded to various questions/concerns presented by the two amateurs -- a neat dynamic, really, that seemed to me like another way the show distinguished itself from others. Pretty soon BTT became one of the shows I’d listen to immediately whenever a new episode appeared.
After a few months of listening I wrote a post about one episode where they had an interesting discussion about poker blogs. (Yes, aside from the laughs, they had some genuinely thoughtful discussions on there about all sorts of poker-related topics from time to time as well.) The guys responded to my post, and we’ve been in contact ever since.
Around March of last year the group moved away from Hold ’em Radio and began producing the show independently, no longer recording episodes live. About a month later I ended up in Vegas right around the time of the big $25K buy-in WPT World Championship at the Bellagio, at which time I got to meet Schneider as he played a qualifer for the main event. (Here’s the post describing our meet-up.) The Donkeybomber did manage to win his seat into the ME there and ended up making a decent run before busting out shy of the cash.
Schneider clearly must’ve benefitted in some intangible way from our meeting and/or the good vibes that came from doing the show, as he would go on to win two bracelets in last summer’s WSOP on his way to being named WSOP Player of the Year. Got a huge kick out of seeing him do so well. I know his co-hosts did, too. I ended up writing a few items here about Schneider’s odyssey, including a description of his first bracelet victory in the $2,500 Omaha/8-Stud/8 event, “Oops, I Won a Bracelet.”
Somewhere along the way I also began writing up “summaries” (so to speak) of episodes that were posted over on the Beyond the Table website. My favorite one of those was for the episode titled “Live and Otherwise” in which the guys took on the challenge of trying to record a show sans edits. Here’s my synopsis:
Following a pattern established by arena faves Frampton, Kiss, and Cheap Trick, this episode of Beyond the Table captures the group in a rare live performance. With no edits, overdubs, or other studio gimmickry, “Live and Otherwise” finds BTT returning to its off-the-cuff, improvisational roots.(No one caught my Shakespearean allusion there at the end, as far as I know.)
The set gets going with a raucous medley of blues-based numbers, including soon-to-be-classics “Queens Done Done Me In (Again)” -- featuring a solo from Little Tommy Schneider -- and the Askenasy-penned “I Think My Hair Has a Mind of Its Own.” The group then transitions into a surprisingly peppy version of “House Hoppin’ Blues” chronicling Dan’s recent move Vegas-ward.
From there the boys turn topical, with rockers “Flight of the Dragon” (noting David Pham’s having locked up Player of the Year), “Enjoying the Game” (an homage to Chip Reese), and “Guilt Trip” (regarding the Vaughn-Mizzi account-purchasing affair). As an encore, the group surprises the audience with a new title, “Fortune’s Steward,” a brief romp recognizing Falstaff, author of PokerStage and tireless organizer of the recent WPBT Winter Gathering.
Will definitely miss listening to new shows, but I appreciate how difficult it is to crank out these on a regular basis. Kind of amazing, really, to think how much free fun the BTT guys gave us over the last couple of years. Thanks for that, fellas. And for everything else, too.