A couple days ago I had a brief Twitter exchange with Lance Bradley, Editor-in-Chief of Bluff.com. I had just finished reading his recap of the action during Day 1A of the World Series of Poker Main Event. The opening sentence of his recap struck me not just as “good solid poker reporting” but also as excellent prose, conjured up by a truly talented writer. So, I gave him a big thumbs-up in a Tweet and he later replied that my compliment was much appreciated. This brief exchange got me thinking about how we poker fans and recreational players – and even lots of professional poker players – have come to take the poker media for granted. Therefore, I’ve decided to make this poker op-ed piece all about saying thank you to the poker media people who make the game of poker so enjoyable for us to follow.
There Are LOTS of People in the Poker Media
According to the Las Vegas Sun, 386 media credentials were issued for the WSOP this year. The WSOP began back on May 29th and will only conclude in a week or so (before resuming in 4 months for the November Nine). That means that hundreds of poker reporters and journalists will have been calling the Rio Las Vegas their home for upwards of a month and a half. While, indeed, many of these people already reside in Las Vegas, the majority of them have had to uproot themselves from their homes to be on-site during the WSOP.
While it may seem like a dream to the casual poker player and fan to be in Las Vegas for the entire World Series of Poker with a front row seat to all the action, make no mistake about it – the poker media are working… and working damn hard!
Nobody applies for a poker media position hoping to become a millionaire. Almost without exception, these are people who just love the game and, as such, are prepared to make personal sacrifice for it. Whether it means braving the freezing temperatures at the WSOP for 6 weeks, heading out to cover tournaments in far-flung places like Council Bluffs, Iowa, or holding steady and remaining professional as they record video segments with whiny players complaining, griping, and telling bad beat stories, what the poker media people do for the sake of supplying us with the information we crave as poker fans is commendable, to say the least.
24/7 Poker Reporting Means 24/7 Poker Reporters
Let’s say you visit a website like Pokernews.com just before you go to sleep, around midnight, to have one last check of the day’s poker action. You ever notice that there’s still live coverage going on of a WSOP Final Table? That means that a poker reporter, who’s likely already been on duty for 10–12 hours, is still right there doing the play-by-play so that you can follow the proceedings.
Just as one example (there are plenty of excellent ones), take this year’s WSOP Event #7. While grinding heads-up for a bracelet for 7 hours is probably one of the most draining experiences possible in all of poker, live blogging the hand-by-hand action is arguably no less of a challenge. Kudos to Chad Holloway; it’s that type of focus that probably helped him ship a bracelet of his own in Event #1.
Let’s say that on a sunny Sunday morning you take your kids out to play in the local park. You fire up WSOP.com on your mobile to see who won the previous night’s event. Right there for your reading pleasure is a concise, accurate, and full final table summary and poker tournament recap. Chances are this recap was written just a few short hours before (i.e., 2 or 3 a.m. Saturday night) by an exhausted, but dedicated, employee of the world’s greatest poker brand. Remember that it’s people like them (behind the scenes) who help to make the WSOP so special for all of us.
Let’s say you’re at work on some random Tuesday, just looking to take a short break by reading an entertaining poker article. Then, you happen upon a masterpiece about poker legend Doyle Brunson written by the incomparable Brad Willis. Articles like those don’t just entertain you; they move you.
Here’s How to Be More Proactive and Say Thank You to the Poker Media
I’ve blogged in the past about why you should tip poker dealers. But it’s not exactly like we can tip poker media members. Just as poker dealers appreciate the extra chip or two, I’d like to believe that poker media members would really appreciate our thank-yous. How can you thank them? Here are a couple ways:
- If you’re playing in an event they cover, and especially if you’re a professional poker player, walk on over to the poker media zone at some point (they call this the “Mothership” at the WSOP) and shake some hands. Learn people’s names and thank them for a job well done – even if they might’ve accidentally got your chip count wrong.
- If you’re lucky enough to ever be featured at a TV table because you’re playing with a famous poker player, during a break in the action, approach the cameramen and TV crew members and tell them in person how much you appreciate the work they’re doing.
Even if you’re “just a regular poker fan” who doesn’t ever play in the events but enjoys following the game through the reporting, video clips, and articles produced online via the major poker media outlets, you can say thank you, too:
- Follow poker media members on Twitter and Tweet to them that you liked reading/watching their latest piece.
- Comment on their articles – whether you have something nice to say or not. Even if you’ve found a mistake or typo, let the writer know; chances are they’ll be happy to fix the error and be grateful that you’ve read their work so closely.
The Best Thank-You is to Spread the Word
Especially in the Internet age, where statistics can be tracked, I’m pretty sure that nothing makes a poker writer happier than knowledge that their work is being read and consumed by real people. Reader engagement is arguably the holy grail of all writing, as the more widespread one’s articles get, the wider the smile gets on the face of the writer.
I speak from personal experience. Having written for Cardplayer Lifestyle for over 3.5 years now, nothing makes me happier than when I see my articles shared via social media and commented on by our fans. When Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth retweeted articles I wrote back in February and May, respectively, each time I felt like I was literally walking on a cloud.
The poker media produce content for fans’ consumption every day of the year. Though I dream about it, I unfortunately can’t be watching the poker events I love unfold in person. So, I rely on them to inform me so that I can stay current on everything going on in the world of poker. That they do so day in and day out, without fail, deserves recognition, appreciation, and heaps of praise – I salute you all.
I’m just one fan. It’s my hope that this article gets seen by poker fans the world over so that you, too, can start saying thank you.