Friday, April 30, 2010

Poker Blogs, ca. 2010

What is a Blog?Writing that post earlier this week marking four years of Hard-Boiled Poker got me thinking once again about poker blogs -- most specifically how the poker “blogosphere” has changed over that period. I mentioned there how when I started mine there were a number of poker blogs already out there to serve as possible models. Back then it seemed just about anyone who played poker and enjoyed writing even just a little had a blog goin’.

I remember writing a post very early on -- titled “An Existential Pause” -- in which after just a few months of blogging I tried to explain the various purposes I thought a poker blog could serve. I had heard an interesting conversation on the old Lord Admiral Card Club podcast between Cincinnati Sean and Iggy, a.k.a. the “Blogfather” of poker blogs thanks to his long-running Guinness and Poker blog. I took their conversation as a cue to offer my own thoughts about what a poker blog was, or could be.

At a time when I was still trying to figure out what kind of blog mine would be, I suggested “a blog can be any number of things -- a personal diary, a virtual soapbox, a promotional tool, a news outlet, a discussion-starter, a confessional . . . you name it,” concluding that, “ultimately, a blog shapes itself according to the personality of its creator.”

I also added at the end that I had already found the process of writing the blog to have been somewhat illuminating, insofar as it required a bit more self-study than I might have otherwise performed. I was speaking mainly about my poker game, really, although the idea would obviously apply more generally. “Writing a poker blog is like being a detective,” I suggested. “Raymond Chandler once described the detective story as ‘a man’s adventure in search of hidden truth.’ All poker bloggers are shamuses, really. Investigating themselves.”

I continue to subscribe to a number of poker blogs today, although if I had to generalize I’d say that the idea of starting and maintaining a poker blog occurs much less frequently now to players than it did four years ago. Folks are much more likely to start Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, or find other ways to satisfy that impulse to chronicle and/or communicate their adventures, if they have that impulse.

Still, there are plenty of good ones out there, demonstrating that same variety of approaches and angles to all things poker that keeps me following along. Just to give a small sample, let me mention ten bloggers who are among those I tend to click on first over in the reader whenever I see they have published something new. While I’m at it, I’ll mention particular, relatively recent posts from each which are indicative of why I like following ’em.
I always click on a new post from Tommy Angelo whenever I see he’s added something to his blog. Gonna reach back a few weeks to March to point you to a little poker anecdote-slash-riddle of his, which itself saw Angelo reaching back several years to share the story: “You No Gamble” (March 15). Speaking of Angelo, Episode 13 of the Gambling Tales Podcast went up earlier this week and on that one I joined Special K and Falstaff to discuss Angelo’s book, Elements of Poker. Check it out.

Amy Calistri has sort of moved out of the “poker blogging” game, having entered the so-called “straight world” of business investing. She still commments from time to time on the poker/gambling world, though, bringing with her the perspective of someone with a lot of poker reporting experience. Earlier this month she wrote a neat post titled “Frugal Detective Work” (April 4) which wasn’t really about poker (although it begins with an anecdote about Andy Beal), but provided a nifty little example of puzzle-solving that I think should appeal to poker players. And fans of detective stories, too.

Julius Goat’s blog is a great one for fans of the TV show “Lost” and/or video clips demonstrating examples of “awesome” or “crazy.” Other fun stuff there, too, including a new installment of his long-running, award-winning Stupid System strategy guide, “Stupid System 013: Rush Poker” (April 7). Okay, I made that up about the award. Although really, I think anyone who has been following the series would agree the sucker deserves some sort of recognition for its important contribution to our collective poker knowledge.

Most of you know the prolific Poker Grump, I assume. Lots of good stuff from him again this month, including more stories from his adventures at dozens of different Vegas cardrooms. I especially liked one such recent tale, “Beware the Newbie” (April 16), which concerns his having recently played with an absolute novice. The newbie experienced some especially good fortune in the session, thereby producing some very entertaining moments along the way. A well-chosen picture of Mr. Magoo illustrates that one.

Pokerati celebrated its sixth birthday not too long ago. Dan Michalski’s site (to which I occasionally try to contribute) is a great one for breaking poker news, one recent example being his post reporting “Rogue Payment Processor Arrested in Las Vegas Accused of Laundering Full Tilt, PokerStars, UB Money” (April 17). Many times the comments to posts over there add quite a bit to the stories, such as was the case with that post.

Dr. Pauly’s Tao of Poker is of course always a must read, for many reasons. I’ll point you to his “Dispatches from the Mohegan Sun” from a couple of weeks ago: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Kind of a preview of the sort of thing we can probably expect to see from Dr. P. once again from the WSOP -- namely, the sort of off-the-beaten-path, stuff-you-can’t-get-elsewhere reporting on poker that often reveals much more about what really happened at a given event than one can get through the usual channels.

F-Train is another blogger whose posts are consistently thoughtful and thought-provoking. He’s also one who will sometimes report or comment on matters one doesn’t generally find being talked about elsewhere. For example, his recent post titled “Tilt Transfer OK?” was an eyebrow-raiser, I thought. There he commented some on Full Tilt Poker’s current legal tribulations, most specifically that federal grand jury investigation we heard about a few weeks back.

There have been a few more eyebrow-raisers over on Haley Hintze’s blog over the past week, too. Haley continues to add to her “Just Conjecturin’” series regarding the insider cheating scandals at Absolute Poker and UB. In the past week, she’s moved over to provide some startling evidence regarding the AP scandal in “Just Conjecturin’, Volume 11: Meanwhile, Over at Absolute Poker, It Seems Scott Tom Really Did It” (April 24) and “Just Conjecturin', Volume 12: The Absolute Scandal and the Day Occam Rolled Over in His Grave” (April 28). I know I’m not the only one hastily clicking on her feed whenever a new post arrives.

Since having covered the NAPT Venetian back in February, I’ve been enjoying following Thomas “gnightmoon” Fuller’s blog. Fuller made the final table of the Main Event there, which finally turned up on ESPN2 earlier this week. He took that occasion to write a little something about the experience in “NAPT Venetian TV Premiere” (April 25).

Finally, I also like checking in over at the ESPN Poker Club to read what their bloggers, including Gary Wise and Andrew Feldman, have to say. Yesterday Feldman opined a bit on the low turnout at the WSOP Circuit event at Caesars Palace this week in “WSOP Circuit Continues to Struggle” (April 29), providing some insights into what’s going on with that tour and with the professional tourney circuit, generally speaking.
That by no means covers all of the blogs I’ve been following of late, but those were some posts that kind of stood out for me as particularly interesting and/or entertaining.

Two more blogger-related bits of news to pass along. One, I am working on creating a separate page here for my ever-growing “Blogroll.” Have a few too many outgoing links here on the main page, and so am doing a little bit of tidying up. Will keep you updated on that.

Also, in the near future my weekly Betfair poker column will be including some contributions from a number of your favorite poker bloggers offering their thoughts about the upcoming WSOP. Will let you know about that, too.

Meanwhile, click on some of them links above and enjoy yourself. Then go have a good weekend.

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Blogger Pauly said...

Thanks for mentioning the Tao!

4/30/2010 10:47 AM  

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