As 2018 draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on what a great year it’s been here at Cardplayer Lifestyle. With about two weeks left until the dawn of 2019, I’m proud to have accomplished half of the 10 poker goals I set out for myself at the start of the year (Nos. 1, 3, 6, 7, and 10, for the record), and to have made anywhere from a little progress to substantial inroads with the other half of my goals. Reviewing this site’s output, I was thrilled to see a record number of articles published, with about half of them being written by our excellent freelance contributors and myself having penned the other half.
Just realized I’ve published more than 200 articles this year. A record, by FAR. It’s been a busy, awesome 2018. 😀 pic.twitter.com/bD3AP5yDuK
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) December 17, 2018
Taking stock of what one has done over a calendar year also allows for time to appreciate the highlights. With that in mind, I decided to compile a list of the 10 articles I most enjoyed producing for you in 2018. In (mostly) chronological order, then:
Poker vlogging superstar Andrew Neeme is beloved by tens of thousands of fans the world over. He does the poker community a great service by continuing to draw more and more people to the game with passion and enthusiasm that’s effervescent in his incredible videos. Also, he just happens to be a damn nice guy. I spent a good many hours putting together this top 10 list, which required combing through his scores of vlog episodes, and I don’t regret a single moment of having done so.
The orthopedic ward of a hospital isn’t often the scene of smiles and laughs, but for a few special hours on a Saturday night, a group of home game poker players were able to spread some positive vibes. When your fellow poker buddy is laid out in a hospital bed, the cavalry comes to the rescue with chips, chairs, and good cheer. Naturally, this was a post I wish I didn’t have to write, but in retrospect I’m quite happy I did. Also, it features some exquisite photos by my good friend Moshe Friedline.
If you ever get the chance to sit and chat with an older poker player, I highly recommend the experience. I imagine that in all likelihood you’ll find yourself being able to connect strongly, with poker as your common bond. I had such an opportunity in February, meeting Cardplayer Lifestyle’s Senior contributor, the nonagenarian George Epstein, in Los Angeles. It was a highly enjoyable experience, to say the least.
I’ve written a good few April Fools’ Day posts over the years here at Cardplayer Lifestyle, but this one took the cake by a mile. It’s extra special when the subjects of your writing can take a joke and enjoy what you’ve produced — thanks, Matt, Jaime, and Bill! — and even more so when you manage to actually fool hundreds of people on a day where they’re specifically on the lookout for online chicanery. To top it off, at the time I had no clue that the Staples brothers and Bill Perkins would, in fact, actually book a second bet a mere few days later.
It’s one thing to try and fundraise for charity. It’s another to meet in person those people less fortunate for whom you’re attempting to raise money. One of my goals for 2018 was the Running Well Challenge, to run 1,000 km and raise $10,000 in pledges for Save A Child’s Heart. Back in April, I visited the charity’s headquarters and got to meet firsthand dozens of children brought to Israel from all corners of the globe for life-saving heart surgery and treatment. This is the story of my experiences that day.
One of the larger editorial projects I undertook this year was a multi-contributor effort at reviewing what — at the time — comprised the entirety of PokerGO’s original programming (beyond their live streaming offerings). We released the 10-article miniseries over 10 days this past summer. Links to each of the individual reviews are available within this “hub post.” Since then, PokerGO has added additional original programming to their collection. Perhaps at some point, we’ll add some more reviews to our miniseries…
Attending the 2018 Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony was an honor and a privilege. Beyond the event’s beauty and pageantry, however, was an underlying message that the poker industry needs to take to heart. It’s time for us all to stop lamenting that there aren’t more women in our game, and to step up and start doing something practical about it. Let’s start putting the time, effort, and resources into making “wishful thinking” a reality to create a second, sustained poker boom.
I feel like this was the most important article I published in 2018 and that noticeable efforts have been made with positive change most certainly afoot as we march into the New Year.
8. Interviews with Poker Media Trailblazers Dan Michalski and Paul McGuire (tie)
I might’ve started this site back in November 2009, but poker media was alive and well long before Cardplayer Lifestyle came on to the scene. Like tens of thousands of others, I was a big fan of their respective Pokerati and Tao of Poker blogs that used to bring us all the poker news that was fit to print back during our game’s boom years in the 2000s. I’m a big believer in learning from and paying respects to industry trailblazers plus I’m also a sucker for nostalgia. As such, it was a genuine thrill to have interviewed two of the best from that era, Dan Michalski and Paul McGuire.
Twitter is a great tool to help someone express oneself, but oftentimes tweets require the proper context to be fully appreciated. During one of my trips to Las Vegas this summer, I sent out a couple tweets about one day apart referring to a couple of the poker sessions I had had. Together, when one knows the full context surrounding them, they tell quite the poker tale. In this article, I give the context of those poker tweets. If you haven’t yet read this story, I hope you enjoy it, as it sure was fun to put together.
A video interview with Molly Bloom, now known the world over for having famously organized private poker games for celebrities and Hollywood elites. Her bestseller autobiography was made into the hit Hollywood film “Molly’s Game,” directed by Aaron Sorkin. I had the opportunity to speak with Molly at the 2018 Unibet Open Bucharest about the dramatic changes in her life over the past few years, the state of her involvement with poker these days, and — of course — get her thoughts on the feature film.
This was my favorite interview of the year to have conducted. Learning just a few hours in advance that I’d have the opportunity to speak with Molly, everything just clicked here perfectly — from my preparation, to the interpersonal dynamic between us, to even the lighting in the room. A dynamo of a human being, the conversation Molly and I had left a lasting impression on me. No wonder then that it has also been 2018’s most popular interview read/watched on Cardplayer Lifestyle.