Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Show Must Go On: QuadJacks Live

QuadJacks LiveI was, oh, 3,200 miles or so from where I am today. It was sometime early Saturday morning, around 3 a.m., I believe. I had just worked what I’d normally describe to have been a “marathon” of a day helping report on the LAPT Lima event. That’s when I first dialed up the QuadJacks podcast, the one I’d seen a few folks referring to on my Twitter feed among all of the other frenzied back-and-forthing happening on “Black Friday.”

They’d been on since early evening, at least six or seven hours, I guessed. Then I tuned in the next night. They were still on. I’d tune in once more during the wee hours of Monday morning. There they were again. In fact, they’d never left the air.

I started to rethink the significance of that term “marathon.”

And aside from a few breaks here and there to re-air interviews or to relocate over on Justin.tv, the gang is still at it. Led primarily by “Agent” Marco Valerio and Zekda “Zekday0” Art, a rotating cast of co-hosts, “panelists,” and guests have incredibly kept the conversation -- about “Black Friday” and its aftermath, as well as just about everything else to do with poker’s current affairs -- going for nearly two weeks now.

That first weekend the show felt something akin to a trauma counseling session, the kind of thing that might follow a natural disaster or some other calamity in which a large group of people are affected, with victims invited to call in and share their stories.

What had happened was hardly a disaster. But the sudden news that those who ran the largest U.S.-facing online poker sites were facing federal indictments and thus the sites were closing their doors to Americans was nonetheless highly unsettling. And disconcerting, given all the uncertainty regarding consequences for so many of us for whose lives are affected one way or another by online poker.

It was good to hear people talking about it all. Even if no one really knew much for certain about what was to come.

QuadJacksBy the time I got back to the U.S. and continued checking in, the show had evolved into something different, perhaps even more constructive. I like how Zimba (of Cardrunners) explains how “with a mix of humor, outrage, education and community, QuadJacks created an uninterrupted forum for the poker community to react to the incredibly disrupting news.” Having moved beyond the initial shock, the show had emerged from those first few days to become a kind of meeting place to share news and opinions about the fast-changing story. And more than a few grins, too.

Like many, I kept listening.

Yesterday I spent some time trying to compile a list of people who have appeared on the show, enlisting the help of Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers to do so. Then I saw Zimba had already put together a comprehensive catalogue of the many poker pros, industry insiders, media types, legal experts, and others who have appeared thus far. Click here to see the list of more than 80 contributors. (I believe Zimba continues to update the list as more folks appear.)

I’m a long-time listener of poker podcasts. Indeed, you could say the whole idea of starting this blog -- fifth anniversary tomorrow! -- was partly inspired by hearing Cincy Sean and Brent talk about blogs on the Lord Admiral Card Club show way back when. I’ve always thought podcasts provided something important to the poker community -- a uniquely immediate medium that served us in ways that were distinct from news sites, blogs, television shows, and other modes of communication.

Thus was I perhaps more predisposed than most to like the QuadJacks radio show. But during this second week of the show -- by which it has now further evolved into a sort of an ongoing 24-hour poker news channel -- I’ve been especially impressed by the level of discussion often on display.

I’m not saying every single time I’ve tuned in I’ve been thoroughly entertained and/or enlightened. But that has definitely been the case more often than not.

Wombat PokerWhere will QuadJacks and the “Wombat Nation” -- named for Wombat Poker, an imagined utopia of a poker site where we all can play and no one can tell us we can’t -- next proceed? Who knows? My sense is whatever form the show subsequently takes, its further growth will not happen carelessly, but with thoughtfulness and care.

For example, last night/this morning, the panel -- which included Zimba, Karak (“Lawdonk”), Mark Gahagan, SrslySirius, B.J. Nemeth, and Marco -- engaged in a lengthy discussion of the poker media and its various biases, most of which could be traced back to the advertising dollars of the online sites.

As I’ve written here many times before, I agree such compromise is generally the rule when it comes to the productions of the “so-called poker ‘media’” (as the Entities over at Wicked Chops so call it). I also think there’s nonetheless still a lot of solid reporting being done by some of those who “write about people who play cards” (as Benjo describes what he does).

All on the panel agreed that the relative “independence” of QuadJacks (at present free from advertisers) is preferable when it comes to the business of unfettered reporting and/or editorializing. But I liked how all didn’t therefore automatically dismiss all other efforts to report on the poker world as without value. And there was also a willingness shown in the discussion to rethink what QuadJacks is “about,” too.

Such self-reflection at least partly explains how QuadJacks has been able to keep the sucker going this long, I’d say. Keeps me listening, too.

Click here to listen yourself.

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2 Comments:

Blogger TenMile said...

Happy Birthday, H-BP

4/27/2011 5:47 PM  
Blogger Tim(tern) said...

I am listed as a professional poker player over on Zimba's list, I believe I can say one of my life goals is complete.

4/28/2011 11:14 AM  

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