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.