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I fell in love with poker when I saw the diversity in it. There is an innate equality to everyone starting with the same number of chips in a tournament. Players of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, and background can sit together as equals. Competition ensues, and players can then use skills to create an edge or advantage over others. But everyone starts on equal footing.
Playing tight means playing right! Of course, it refers to playing safely, not too loose and free with hard-earned money. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a risk sometimes, make a bluff, or take advantage of another player’s weakness. But hold tight to what matters.
I always had a bit of gamble in me. My father was a stockbroker by day and played the ponies when time allowed. He taught me how to read a racing form when I was eight. But it wasn’t until I took a part-time accounting job at this little startup company called the World Poker Tour that I took more than a passing interest in poker. I began to see the range of people playing in tournaments and the fascinating stories they could tell. And I wanted to help tell those stories.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Sexton for an article many years ago. It was at the Rio during the WSOP, and I met him at a casino bar area to chat. When he began talking about what poker means to him, more specifically what it means to be considered a legendary ambassador of the game, he couldn’t hold back tears of joy. I saw exactly he felt about the game, in his eyes more than his words. I’ll never forget that moment or the impact it had on my relationship to poker.
I’ve been following the poker industry for about 20 years and writing about it for about 18 of them. I’ve written about everything from players to laws, and quite a lot in between. I may not know how to play poker very well, and I certainly won’t try to write strategy articles, as no one would want that.
Twitter is a great source of information about poker news and trends. I follow quite a lot of people in poker, set up a lot of Google alerts for certain topics, and scan all of the poker news sites as often as possible. Sometimes, I check poker forums like Two Plus Two to see what people are discussing, but I try to stick to news sources to avoid the noise on forums.
I don’t know what the future holds for poker. I sense that live poker is experiencing another boom of sorts, with the live scene on fire with opportunities. Casinos and tours are trying to raise the bar consistently, and that benefits players. As for online poker, I fear it will never reach poker boom levels in the United States again.
The need for states to legalize online poker on their own and then the need for their governors to sign the multi-state agreement is proving to be very difficult. And without a poker advocacy group like the Poker Players Alliance to lobby for poker and explain online technology to lawmakers, there is little hope for much expansion.
Nearly one dozen years after Black Friday, only seven states regulate online poker, two of which haven’t even launched any sites yet. Technology should be driving that movement, but lawmakers don’t understand terms like geolocation and poker liquidity. For now, Americans can stick to live poker, where options are everywhere all at once.