Friday, August 14, 2015

Tuning In: A Few Recent Poker Podcasts

Was doing some work in the barn today and listened to a few poker podcasts while I did.

I first went back about a month to hear Bill Chen’s segment on Episode 371 of the Two Plus Two Pokercast. Chen’s always an interesting one to listen to -- very relatable for me, not because of the depth of his analytical thinking, but for the place of poker in his life as something very important but not all-consuming.

Then I checked out the latest PokerNews podcast -- Episode 326 -- which started with some discussion from Donnie and Rich about the recently completed PokerStars Pro Tour in California and then featured a enjoyable conversation with WSOP National Championship winner Loni Harwood. All interesting and fun and a good quick catch-up on recent events in poker.

Finally I dialed up a podcast I hadn’t tuned into for a while -- Ante Up! -- which just last month made it a full decade’s worth of podcasting. I used to listen to these guys -- Chris Cosenza and Scott Long -- constantly back when they first started out and wrote about their shows here fairly frequently, too. Tuning in again, I had to grin at how much the show had remained the same with the familiar mix of personal anecdotes about their own play, a run-through of news items, and some strategy talk.

They aren’t numbering their shows, but 10-plus years’ worth of weekly podcasts must add up to well over 500 by this point. Kind of brings to mind the story of this blog (into its 10th year now) which I know by this point readers sometimes drift away from and then return occasionally, perhaps surprised to see things still chugging along as usual.

The episode I grabbed was from a couple of weeks back, the one in which they discussed Matt Savage’s recent Facebook poll and discussion inviting players to weigh in about what they thought constituted an excellent tournament structure -- the 7/30/15 episode.

If you didn’t follow that whole discussion from Savage, the Ante Up! show is a good way to catch up with its particulars. (Indeed, as one of the few not on Facebook, I’ll admit I didn’t quite follow the entire structure discussion.) They get into it about the 12-minute mark and the discussion lasts about 15 minutes.

By the way, according to those responding to Savage’s poll, the most-important to least-important factors when it comes to creating an excellent structure were determined to be (1) time; (2) levels; (3) player ability; and (4) chips, or starting stack.

Savage agreed that of these four, the number of chips in the starting stack should be considered the least important -- since the length of levels and schedule of blinds/antes increases can obviously make a “deep” stack less deep, relatively speaking. Meanwhile, Savage agreed with the importance of having well measured levels (e.g., not skipping steps along the way), and that the length of levels does in fact have a lot to do with how great and/or appropriate a structure is.

Gonna have to get Ante Up! back into the regular rotation here. Have always enjoyed the way Chris and Scott approach all things poker, representing as they do the perspective of the great majority of us -- i.e., non-pros who greatly enjoy playing the game and following the stories surrounding it (including the stories involving those who are pros).

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