Thursday, December 03, 2015

Cards from Coast to Coast

Had a chance not too long ago to have a fun conversation with poker player and author Ashley Adams. He has been writing about poker for some time including authoring a couple of strategy books and contributing some strategy articles over at PokerNews. He also hosts the House of Cards Radio podcast, a weekly show that often features interesting guests. In fact just last week he had WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen not long after his big win.

Ashley has been playing poker for over half-century. Since the early 1990s, he’s been especially dedicated to the game, having played in many different countries and all around the United States. About a decade ago he realized he’d played in more than half of the states in the U.S., and soon thereafter made it a goal to try to play in all 50 of them.

About a month ago Ashley achieved that goal, with Oregon being the last state in which he managed to play America’s favorite card game. At the very least he’s tied a record, for certain. A couple of weeks later he and I had a conversation about his journey, and you can read the interview over at PokerNews here: “An American Odyssey: Ashley Adams Completes 50-State Poker Tour.”

Our conversation covered a lot of ground (pun intended). I asked him to comment on different playing styles in different areas of the country, kind of half-anticipating some generalities about “east coast” and “west coast” games. But interestingly he pointed out how the game has been somewhat “homogenized” over the last decade or so, primarily because of the “boom” and spread of televised poker, as well as the overall increase in knowledge of strategy.

Ashley has plans to write a book about his poker journey, which I think is a great idea. I also can imagine making use of such a book in my “Poker in American Film and Culture class,” where we learn a lot about how poker was played in the past in a few regions -- in particular New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Nevada, and California, and a little bit of New Jersey -- but don’t necessarily get too much into contemporary poker culture including home games (an area in which Ashley perhaps has a more varied experience than just about anybody).

Check out the interview for more.

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