Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Catching Up with Kevmath

Spent the afternoon in the cold and wet, driving posts around the perimeter of the “back forty” as part of the new fence we are building back there.

The conditions are actually ideal, as the ground is soft and thus easier to breach with the tall, green metal T-posts I’m hammering down into them. Got about halfway around the sucker before the skies opened up for real, chasing me from the pasture and under cover.

Progress was made, however slowly, one post at a time. Kind of like this blog, I suppose, where I have been planting post after post after post for a good while now.

Listened to tunes for much of the time I was working, although early on I finished listening to the latest installment of the Thinking Poker podcast hosted by Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis. They’re up over 100 eps now, and this week after talking strategy for a while (as usual) they had Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers on as a guest.

On the show Kevin tells the story of how he first got involved in poker in the early 2000s, as well as the interesting path that led him to become known as the “answer guy” on Two Plus Two where he posted frequently and eventually became a moderator. It was a post-after-post-after-post life for Kevin, too, for several years before he finally found his way into poker media, eventually becoming the Manager of Poker Information for BLUFF.

Along the way Kevin tells about being interviewed by Tatjana Pasalic back in the fall of 2010, the first time a lot of us finally got to see him after years of interacting with him online. He also describes the experience of covering the 2011 WSOP for BLUFF. I remember getting to meet Kevin in the person for the first time that summer, although I knew him well before that. In fact, when listening to him talk about that interview with Tattytats I remembered having interviewed Kevin some months before for Betfair Poker.

I went searching for that interview today, but discovered it doesn’t appear to be on the Betfair Poker site anymore. So as a supplement to this week’s Thinking Poker podcast (and as a quick trip down memory lane), I thought I’d repost that interview here.

Thanks again, Kevin, for the interview! And thanks as well for everything else you do to for the poker community.

* * * * *
“Kevmath Adds It Up: A Chat with the Poker Forum Moderator”
[Originally published at Betfair Poker, 19 February 2010]

The internet provides endless opportunities for people with common interests -- like those of us who enjoy poker -- to find each other and swap stories, share information and strategy, and engage in other types of socializing. Just as the online game has affected how live poker is played, the internet as a whole has changed the way poker can function as an occasion for social interaction, too.

Online poker forums are one such example of a place where poker people can virtually mix and mingle, with those over at Two Plus Two being far and away the most popular choice for many.

I occasionally participate in the discussions over on 2+2, though when visiting I’m more likely to read than post. I tend to follow forums such as News, Views, and Gossip (or NVG), Beats, Brags, and Variance (BBV), Tournament Circuit, Internet Poker, Poker Legislation, Televised Poker, and Books and Publications. I’ll also occasionally stop in over in the Limit Hold’em section and Small Stakes PLO forum to eavesdrop on strategy talk, or goof around in the Other Topics section where one can easily waste a lot of time.

Like just about everyone who visits the 2+2 forums, I often run across contributions by the poster “Kevmath,” a.k.a. Kevin Mathers, a frequent poster and moderator at 2+2. Mathers can also be found posting from time to time over at the especially-informative Pokerati blog, and has additionally written articles for PokerNews. Last summer I had the chance to work a few times with Kevmath during the WSOP when he did some behind-the-scenes stuff to help out those of us who were reporting on the Series.

It only takes reading a few posts from “Kevmath” to recognize him as a highly reliable “answer man” when it comes to all things poker. As such, I thought he’d be a good person to field a few questions, both about 2+2 and the poker world in general.

Short-Stacked Shamus: What forums do you moderate over at 2+2?

Kevin Mathers: I moderate the TV poker forum, the Tournament Circuit/WSOP forums, and with others moderate News, Views, and Gossip (NVG).

SSS: NVG is the most popular, yes?

Kevmath: Yes, News, Views, and Gossip is considered “the forums” by most people, as that’s where most of the discussion of events going on in the poker world takes place. It’s a mish-mash of information from the poker media, public opinions, and other hilarity all rolled up into one central location.

SSS: What exactly is a moderator’s responsibility at 2+2?

Kevmath: Posters who make valued contributions to a particular forum are often considered for elevation to moderator status if they are interested. My role as one of the moderators is to help enforce the rules in the forum, and attempt to keep things in control without being too overbearing. NVG in particular generates a lot of traffic, and sometimes two or more people come up with the same idea for a thread, or someone decides to spam or post something really inappropriate. So it’s the moderator’s job to merge threads, delete threads that are just really stupid or inappropriate, or move them to a more appropriate forum.

SSS: Kind of like herding cats at times, I’ll bet.

Kevmath: Yeah, it’s often difficult to moderate effectively, as you’re trying to keep things as civil as possible without being too overbearing to those who are likely to be negative about a certain topic.

SSS: Poker forums -- and 2+2 in particular -- obviously play an important role in poker today. How would you characterize 2+2 forums’ contribution to poker?

Kevmath: 2+2 is great for just about everyone who has an involvement in poker. If you’re looking for strategy, there are plenty of forums dedicated to all forms of poker, and broken down even further by the stakes you’re playing. There are forums dedicated to major tournaments, as well as finding information on tournaments that are focused more towards players at a casino near them. Another large part of 2+2 are the many forums about topics unrelated to poker (sports, politics, business and investing, health and fitness, travel, Vegas, etc.).

SSS: What sort of topics tend to get the most attention? That is, which threads end up attracting the most posts and views?

Kevmath: Probably the monthly High Stakes threads, especially if someone who is unknown makes an appearance (Martonas, Isildur1, etc.). The latest antics of FullFlush, Hellmuth, Negreanu or any major poker professional also usually get a lot of looks.

SSS: What is the most memorable or significant thread since you joined 2+2?

Kevmath: Definitely the ones detailing the scandals at Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker (summarized in the UB sticky in NVG).

SSS: How about the funniest or most outrageous thread?

Kevmath: The funniest threads I’ve read have been the various photoshop threads that turn up in NVG, such as “If They Never Played Poker...“ or “French businessman in Bobby’s Room“ (a.k.a., the “Cyril” thread). Since I’m not as familiar with the strategy side of 2+2, I’d suggest readers to take a look at “The Best of Two Plus Two“ forum, which features several classic threads from across 2+2.

SSS: In what other ways do you follow the latest poker news?

Kevmath: I’m usually following the larger poker blogs, poker news sites, and stuff that turns up on my Twitter feed.

SSS: What are your thoughts about the current state of “poker media”?

Kevmath: Too often, the poker media appears to be more focused towards the sites that fund the magazine through their advertising, and avoid being too critical. Another part of poker media I’m not a fan of is the need to be the “exclusive” provider of live updates. While it helps draw traffic to the site, the updates often focus on a select group of players (e.g., people they know, etc.). When those players are gone, they’re struggling.

SSS: Okay, one last question... speaking of the media, what poker stories and/or issues do you foresee being the most written about and discussed in 2010?

Kevmath: The regulating of online poker worldwide, especially the U.S., will be a big one. It will be interesting also to see how the World Series of Poker will do without Jeffrey Pollack as Commissioner. Other stories to watch should include watching how PartyPoker does with the World Poker Tour, seeing whether PokerStars can continue their world domination of tournament poker with the new North American Poker Tour, and Annette Obrestad’s WSOP debut this summer. And whatever major scandal (real or perceived) may come to light.

Much thanks to Kevin Mathers for taking the time.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I can't recall the timeline, but the interview with SSS was either just before or after my "first" interview with the long-departed Poker Show by Jesse May and Matt Braughton done at BoylePoker.com. Those were the days, and thanks for reposting!

12/23/2014 5:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Through the power of Google, I found the Jesse May interview, it's posted on Pokerati (fortunately) http://pokerati.com/2010/03/the-art-of-moderation-22mathers/ the audio link is below.

12/23/2014 5:39 PM  

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