02 June 2006

Do Poker Bloggers Matter?

Day One back in the home office is in the books. It was a busy day to be sure trying to get things up and running. Today will be an additional test as we'll have one of our graphic designers here working as well as our IT guy getting the network back up and running. The contractor is also working on the poker room as well. Any further ideas on the room are welcomed. I'm headed down a track suggested by Falstaff and Dr. Chako for neat lighting, probably something like Tech Lighting above the table.

There was an article in Sunday's NY Times on the Yearly Kos Convention. This is the first gathering of leading liberal bloggers including the Daily Kos which was started by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and is now the fifth most popular blog around. It attracts roughly 600,000 visitors each day. Admittedly, my head is in the sand as I don't know anything about liberal or conservative media. I don't watch the news, and I don't scavenge the web at any of these sites they mentioned. I didn't even know the Huffington Post or any of these others hugely popular sites. I knew the world revolved around me, but I thought it also loosely revolved around us, the poker blogger galactic. I figured Pauly had to wear a disguise in airports to escape the paparazzi. So maybe that bubble is burst. But do we matter?

One thing I told Sweetie is that blogs have to have significantly increased the number of readers and writers out there. Maybe it's had a detrimental macro-effect on book sales (eating up available time to read), I don't know. But so many folks I consider good and really good writers wouldn't be writing without a blog. It's right in my sweet spot of reading, bite size chunks.

But do we matter to anyone but ourselves? We seem to be quite a diverse crew, maybe we lean in certain directions. Maybe we're more left than right. Maybe we're more degenerate than not. We're a subset of subsets, poker bloggers in the world of bloggers and poker players. In our daily life for many of us, we are a hidden niche in the larger, normal world. Poker players and poker bloggers in the bigger world of our church. In the bigger world of parents and coaches of the youth baseball league. In the bigger world of school teachers. For some of us, it's no big deal; for others, it's pariah (if that's the right use of that word).

Does it matter if we matter? It obviously does with the pending legislation to take away our deadly nectar, online poker. Beyond that, does it matter if we matter? Does anyone else care, and should we care? Our we the Borg of the poker world, or are we bench monkeys?

Do we matter to poker? Well, PokerStars would say yes, as would all the other sites (see banner ads). The poker world has its information providers like CardPlayer and PokerPages. They have their thought leadership in 2+2. We're not a PAC, an association, or an organization. We're not organized with any common beliefs or anything. We document our thoughts, our frustrations, our big wins, our wipeouts, our rants. We are big sharks and big fish, grizzled veterans and neophytes. We have no initiation process, just get stumbled upon after someone leaves a comment.

Do poker bloggers matter?

A couple of final things heading into the weekend. I'm fairly certain I'll be missing out on Okie-Vegas due to China falling through (sorry guys). I am looking at hitting Vegas in the near future, either during WPBT or WSOP. I also may host an area game to celebrate the poker room being finished. I'll provide more details later. Also, anyone who knows where to find some good poker photos, I'd like to get some for the Poker Room.

Also, what's with Word Verification? They've added the requirement now to post each time (did this a couple weeks ago). Look, these aren't words, you know? Change it to Scrambled Letter Verification for crying out loud...

Finally, Friday's recipe, Salsa. Again, very easy to make but oh so great. My brother-in-law requested it over the weekend, so I'm putting it up here. Very straightforward: three or four cans of diced tomatoes, chop an onion (more or less depending on how much onion you want), a few green onions (you can put a couple whole ones to stick out of the bowl as it looks pretty cool), garlic (again the little jar already crushed), oregano, black pepper, pour juice from a jar of jalapenos plus half a jar of jalapenos (you can cut them up if you want-more or less to alter heat), two cans of those little green peppers that are already sliced (in the Mexican food section), cilantro (fresh is ideal although I've even used some weird gel last time), cut a lime in half and sqeeze the juice, then put the two halves in the salsa. Heck, toss anything else you want in there. We've switched from Tostitos to Santitas as the chip of choice. Hope to squeeze some poker in this weekend as well. I'm at -$0.00 for June, down from -$1,999 in May, so it's a big improvement so far.
Have a great weekend.

ADDENDUM: In case you needed more info that the end of the world is near, here is the video of the lady who auctioned off the birth of her first born daughter, with the winning bid going to Golden Palace Casino (thanks to Casino Expat for the video).


Blogger Linda R. Geenen said...

yes. on everything. yes on bloggers. yes on salsa. everything matters. we are what we are. we carve out a space that we can fit into and we try to make it bigger to accomodate all of our thoughts and things we love. it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about our space - but it does matter to us.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Felicia :) said...

That is a great picture. I had forgotten all about that one. I was holding Pauly's hand behind my back, btw, which is why my arm is at such an odd angle.

Hey, that was before I got my boobs cut off, too! Can't tell much difference, can you? LOL!

8:29 AM  
Blogger BadBlood said...

Regarding poker pictures/photos - Try to find some recent CardPlayer magazines. There is usually a special photo section covering the big tournament held that month with some really great photos. I'd imagine it would be cheap to cut them out and put them in cheap frames.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

No papparazzi chases me, thank God. But the way I see it, I'm a big fish in a tiny tiny tiny pond.

The only places where I've gotten noticed are in casinos, particularly poker rooms... in Vegas, California, Barcelona, Foxwoods, and AC.

Part of the reason I enjoy LA so much is that I'm the least famous person there. I cherish the anonmity (although that does not include walking into one of the LA card rooms where there's a good chance I'll be spotted).

And I love walking around NYC because it completely humbles me.

Blog might have mattered yesterday and today... but all that will change in a few years.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Caring if poker bloggers "matters" depends on what you want to get out of your blog as a reward.

Do you want friendships? Poker discussion? Fun tournaments?

Or do you want fame? To be recognized? To be popular?

If it's the first set of questions, then we matter. If it's the second set, we don't.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I think poker bloggers matter greatly to each other, which is why many of us pursue this whole thing in the first place. We play together, chat it up, learn poker strategy, etc. It's a wonderfully close-knit group and something that is really a thrill to be a part of.

Much as I'd like to say otherwise, however, I don't see much more macro importance to our group, outside of our own community. But I don't think most of us care about it outside of our community, either.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Scott Cunningham said...

Blogs, in general, are valued by the people who make them as much as by the people who read them. So they do matter in that limited sense. They facilitate relationships among people who are spread across the world, but who usually have certain things in common - poker, political orientation, etc.

They appear to matter, too, in a broad social sense. To take one example, when Dan Rather showed documents purporting to prove Bush shirked military duty, bloggers desceneded on the documents and within 24 hours, had proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the documents were fakes, which was the impetus behind Rather's retirement. And even then, it wasn't any one single blog driving that phenomenon - it was thousands of small ones, and several medium to large-sized ones, doing it. Blogs - the small, medium and large linked ones - appear to bring together disaggregated knowledge through hyperlinks. So, I agree with Linda - they matter. They matter in an individualistic sense (most of them are labors of love). They do serve as training grounds for writers, as you point out. They do have macro effects. By including comments and through hyperlinks, there's even a kind of natural referee style of critiquing that goes on with them, too.

As for whether they've had any macro effects, such as causing people to substitute away from other forms of media and entertainment, I read a study two years ago that made the argument that some of the substitution had gone in the direction of television to blogs, though I'm sure there's also been other forms too like literature and non-fiction reading. Like you said, we only have 24 hours a day, and if one is spending several hours on blogs, they are necessarily spending several fewer hours elsewhere. For many, though, that's less real work they're probably doing! But it's probably also cutting into leisure time as well.

Whatever, I suspect it's a very positive social force. It has helped create real friendships and a sense of community in a time where people are moving a lot and work a lot such that it's difficult to become as invested locally as maybe 50 years ago. Not for everyone is it that, but for some and a lot I suspect. And, too, they are a permanent feature of the political landscape as evidenced by their role in Howard Dean's surprising primary run.

12:25 PM  
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4:52 AM  

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