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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Good Lives On - Remembering Lou Krieger

Shakespeare was wrong about this one.  He said, "The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred." When Lou Krieger passed away one week ago, the outpouring of positive messages was immediate and overwhelming.  But what was even more powerful was the realization that he had impacted so many people on such a deep, meaningful level that he will never be forgotten.  So many stories were shared and the same theme pervaded each one -- Lou was a rare breed.  A once-in-a-lifetime guy, who made everyone a little better for having known him.  

He made so many people feel special knowing that he was there for them and could always be counted on to help. Unselfish, giving with his time and his talent, supportive, encouraging, passionate, and so very smart.  That so many people could retell so many similar stories of having gotten their start from Lou, or getting that little encouragement when they needed it, or that extra help that made a huge difference.  The word mentor seems inadequate to describe someone who took so many people under his wing and made each feel as if they were the most important personal connection he had.

My story with Lou was not that unusual.  I pestered him for months for a writing job and he worked his magic to find a place for me.  He supported and encouraged my writing and made me think I was far better than I was.  He always looked for other opportunities for me and brought me onboard whatever projects he could. Our working relationship quickly turned into a friendship as we would spend hours on the phone talking about everything under the sun – often forgetting all about poker.  Eventually Lou asked me to be his cohost on his poker radio show Keep Flopping Aces and though I have stage fright, I couldn’t say no to him.  And the last year and nine months has been an absolute blast, from our planning sessions at the beginning of each week to the show each Thursday to the post show recap.  We had a great routine.  It is devastating to see it come to an end.

Lou was born Roger Lubin and lived an entire life -- I recently discovered two folk songs Lou had contributed to a record in 1962! Check it out here -- before adopting the Lou Krieger pen name and becoming the "poker guru" -- author of best-selling poker books and hundreds of poker articles, poker coach, editor, radio host and ambassador of the game.  There is not one person in the poker world who doesn't admire, respect and like Lou Krieger  -- and this is a group of people I doubt I could get to agree that the sky is blue.

Following the announcement of Lou's death, first on Facebook by his family and then relayed through Twitter, the reaction was a mix of shock and deep sadness.  But since so many of Lou's poker friends are writers, many took to their computers to put into words a little of what they were feeling.  Please take the time to read these terrific tributes from Nolan Dalla, Martin "Short-Stacked Shamus" Harris, Haley Hintze, Earl Burton, Dan Katz, and yours truly.  In addition, the poker media shared the sad news, and you can read what PokerNews, CardPlayer, Betfair, PokerFuse, PokerBlog, BluffEurope, RuffPoker, and members of the 2+2 Forums had to say about Lou.

Thought Lou was my editor as well as "project director" for a number of writing assignments, my favorite part of our working relationship was doing the radio show.  It was another example of Lou being Lou.  He invited me to be his co-host and always propped me up and sang my praises and made sure to make me an equal partner even though, of course, he was the draw!  Last week instead of the show I expected to do for that Thursday and hundreds of Thursdays to come, we instead put together a tribute show for Lou.  We invited some of his friends to come and share stories and it was a great chance to share our grief over his loss as well as our joy in getting to know him at all. 

I know of no one who was as encouraging and supportive of other writers as Lou. So many of us wouldn't be doing what we do if it weren't for Lou Krieger. He went to bat for his friends and was loyal in the extreme. I'm going to miss our talks and how riled up he'd get when the discussions turned to certain topics! He had such a passion and love for life; he was simply the best there was and there won't be another like him.  But I'm comforted knowing that the good that was Lou will live on. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Keep Flopping Aces Finds New Home

Lou Krieger and I have settled into our new home over at Hold'em Radio.  You can find our weekly poker talk show "Keep Flopping Aces" there live every Thursday at 6PM Pacific/9PM Eastern.  We are usually interviewing someone in the poker world about the latest news and gossip or waxing rhapsodic about the glorious future when online poker returns and the poker boom starts anew.

There is a live chat room where you can post your questions, comments, or just say "howdy!"  So please stop by and check us out HERE.

ESPN Unveils 2012 WSOP TV Schedule

Preeminent sports cable channel ESPN will once again be televising the World Series of Poker, providing viewers both hours of virtually live coverage as well as packaged taped episodes. 

The schedule has three bracelet events, including the mainstay Main Event, airing over fifteen weeks.  Its 2012 television coverage will begin on July 3rd with the first ever million dollar buy-in event, the Big One for One Drop.  The final table of that event will be broadcast live at 3:00 PM Eastern.  The entire three days of coverage will also be aired in three hour-long episodes.  

The Main Event coverage begins on August 14th and will run two hours of coverage each week until October 23rd. On October 30th, the final able will air live with hole cards on ESPN with a fifteen-minute delay. Lon McEachern, Norman Chad, and Kara Scott will be back as the broadcasting team for the season.

The other televised event will be a new one, the WSOPC National Championship.  That will be shown as two one hour episodes on August 7th.

While ESPN will not be showing as much live coverage from the Rio as last year, WSOP.com will provide a live stream of other bracelet events.  They will use a two-camera setup with audio of the tournament director calling the action  for most of the non-flop games, and a six-camera setup with commentary by David Tuchman and guests for Hold'em and Omaha games.

Here is the tentative television schedule:

Date Time (ET) Show Network
**Tue, July 3 3 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: The Big One for One Drop ESPN3
8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: The Big One for One Drop ESPN
Tue, July 31 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: The Big One for One Drop ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: The Big One for One Drop ESPN
Tue, Aug 7 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: WSOP National Championship ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: WSOP National Championship ESPN
Tue, Aug 14 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Aug 21 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Aug 28 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Wed, Sep 5 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Sep 11 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Sep 18 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Sep 25 8 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Oct 2 9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
10 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Oct 9 9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
10 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Oct 16 9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
10 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
Tue, Oct 23 9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
10 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event ESPN
**Tue, Oct 30 9 p.m. 2012 World Series of Poker: Main Event Final Table ESPN
**Programming presented virtually live (on a 15-minute delay)
Please note this schedule is subject to change.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

PokerRoom Sends Shocks As It Returns to the Market

by James Guill

Many online poker players where shocked as they learned that PokerRoom was reentering the online poker market. PokerRoom reopened their doors recently after closing down just two short years ago.  Today’s marketplace is competitive, so many wonder if the online poker site can survive, but after viewing the new PokerRoom, the answer is simple – yes, they can.

The interface on the site is extremely easy to follow and is considered one of the most user-friendly interfaces in the online poker industry. Unlike other poker sites, PokerRoom is laid out in a way that it is easy to find a game, so there’s no need to spend countless hours viewing instructions on how to locate a game. Many other poker sites use extended filters, which only complicate the playing game experience, but PokerRoom’s games are labeled correctly and with just a couple of clicks, avid poker players are playing in minutes.

PokerRoom is known for offering a spread of cash poker games, not just the traditional games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Such games include Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, Stud 8 or better and Five Card Draw. For users who like to play a variety of games to advance their poker skills, then PokerRoom is a great place to go to.

The tournaments that are made available on PokerRoom are now improved with expanded offerings and are still considered the best games to attend online. Some of the expanded offerings include: turbo tournaments, deep stack events, heads-up tournaments and six-handed events. PokerRoom still offers the traditional Sit and Go tournaments as well, but be on the look out for even more fun tournament games as the online poker site continues to evolve and grow to offer more than other sites.

One of the concerns for PokerRoom reentering the market was the amount of traffic and the ability to support the vast amount of games. During the day, as many as 4,500 cash game players and 35,000 players in tournaments are on the PokerRoom network, so it is safe to say that the site is still one of the largest poker networks on the Internet. Whatever time you decide to play, you will most likely find a game to play in.

One thing that hasn’t changed was the amazing support that PokerRoom became famous for. Users can contact the staff through chat, email or through telephone and it doesn’t matter what time of the day or night it is as PokerRoom’s support staff is readily available 24/7. Plus, the PokerRoom Community is still alive, but it never really left. Many poker topics are available that span several years and those include articles and hand discussions.

PokerRoom was the leader in cash poker games for over 10 years and now they have returned after a two year absence. The site is better than ever and it’s easy to become a member. The registration process is easy and free, so sign-up today with one of the oldest players in the poker industry. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Should Make it All Clear

Many articles have been written about the Department of Justice indictments against principals of the big three online poker sites and their payment processors and we're all pretty familiar with most of the relevant facts. So along comes onlinepoker.org to create a handy graphic that will show you everything you need to know about Black Friday and its aftermath:

Visit OnlinePoker.org to find more information on online poker.

Over Almost Before it Began

It wasn't long ago that I posted about becoming the new co-host on the Internet radio show Keep Flopping Aces.  I was looking forward to putting my stamp on the show and adding something to an already terrific show.  In my brief time on the show, I brought on a friend, fellow poker writer James "compncards" Guill and had the chance to interview PPA executive director John Pappas and WSOP media director Nolan Dalla.  Tonight's guest is Martin "short-stacked shamus" Harris, who I knew from my days at Poker News.  I thought this was the beginning of an exciting ride combining meeting new people and catching up with people I've worked with in the past.

But, alas, the Department of Justice has its own plan that has changed the lives of many of us in the poker industry.

Turns out that Rounders Radio, which carried our show, received its money as an affiliate of one of the indicted big three poker sites.  When that money dried up, they had to quickly change gears.  Their new business model is not to originate live programming, but to offer links to poker podcasts.  So the days of live internet radio are over for Keep Flopping Aces.

Here's the article that Lou and I published today at http://www.pokerplayernewspaper.com/, as we added ourselves to the ever-growing list of victims of Black Friday:

We’ve been bringing you all the news about Black Friday and its effect on various segments of the poker world since the event first occurred only two short weeks ago. We’ve even brought you a segment on “Winners and Losers,” in which we listed those poker elements and institutions that were harmed by the Department of Justice’s declaration of war on online poker, as well as a much shorter listing of those who appear to have benefited—it’s a much shorter list, indeed—from Black Friday’s unintended consequences.

And we were able to do this objectively, since we were among a precious few left unscathed by these events … or so we thought.

Until two days ago, we had a weekly radio show called Keep Flopping Aces that aired every Thursday night at 9 p.m. Eastern Time (6 p.m. Pacific) on www.roundersradio.com. We discussed poker strategy, interviewed poker players, poker writers, people involved in the politics of poker … you name it; we covered it.

But no more. Rounders Radio took a big hit with the disappearance of the Big Three online rooms from the US market. And with that big financial hit, came a hard decision. The station could no longer afford to produce live shows, and we became a victim.

So tonight, April 28, 2011 marks our last live broadcast. In its place, Rounders Radio will become essentially a podcast library and repository. Their newly redesigned web site says, “We are here to bring to the best directory of poker podcasts from around the net! Please have a look around and enjoy all the great poker content. You will find poker shows that cover the news, teach poker, pro interviews and everything else.”

We will try to keep our show alive by doing podcasts on a weekly basis, but it’s probably not going to be the same as live radio. We’ll miss the interaction with a listening audience, and the fun of doing a live show—complete with bloopers, silly comments, questions and insightful comments from our regular listeners around the globe, and everything else that goes with it.

Still, if we can contribute to the poker community by podcasting what otherwise would have been a live show, we’re happy to do it. Many of our listeners may not even recognize a difference at all. Most Rounders Radio shows had more listeners who downloaded them as podcasts after they were broadcast live than listened to it in real time, and ours was no exception.

But it won’t feel the same. And until things change, you can add our names to the list of those who lost out as a result of Black Friday’s terribly misguided efforts. ::sigh::

Sigh, indeed.

Taking Money out of PokerStars -- Breaking Even Feels Good

With my hopes of ever hitting that big online poker pay day now just a memory, I closed out my PokerStars account today. Since Black Friday the status of US players’ funds held by the big three poker sites has been in question. While no one ever came right out and said the money would be long gone, that was the fear at first. With a 52-page federal indictment and criminal counts seeking up to 30 years in jail, it would not be unrealistic to assume the sites and/or their payment processors had absconded with our money.

But, no, the money is there. At least, that is what Full Tilt and PokerStars has assured its US-based players…or should I say, former players. But efforts to actually obtain a refund were met with various explanations and statements — but no cold, hard cash.

That changed today, at least at PokerStars. When I clicked the “Cashier” button, instead of excuses and promises, I was led to a page where I could actually cash out my account. Now, I have in there about what I deposited, being an ace at break-even poker. And it’s somewhere between $1 (under which PS explicitly will not reimburse you) and number that requires a comma to be written out properly. In other words, it’s not a huge deal.

But the fact that less than two weeks after the indictments — which were the poker world’s equivalent of an 8.0 earthquake in a non-retrofitted house — PokerStars was already able to process payments is a positive development. While it does nothing to resolve the question of why the Justice Department thinks the most important thing on its plate is stopping people from playing poker on their computers, it at least demonstrates that what seemed like the worst day in the history of US poker may not be a complete disaster.

Other positive developments. If you love and miss your old sites, you can go play there again. No longer will the dot com sites for PS or FTP greet you with either an error message or a scary posting from the FBI.  No, you can go there an play just like the old days, with the teensy difference that you can only play for play money. Think of it like having to quit smoking. Instead of going cold turkey, you can at least enjoy a phony, electric cigarette that somewhat resembles your old enjoyable habit.

The fact that the Justice Department was willing, so soon after declaring the poker sites Public Enemies #1-3, to enter into an agreement returning their domain names is possibly a sign that the Justice Department is not as up for the fight as their initial salvo would indicate.

Only time will tell how the federal case will play out. But at least for now, we know that the only potential victims of this otherwise victimless alleged crime — the poker players who were temporarily deprived of their funds — will be compensated. I will update you and let you know how long it takes for the check to come in the mail. Wait, did I say the check is in the mail? Should I worry?