Yesterday, the annual World Poker Blogger Tour (WPBT) tournament was played in Las Vegas. There were only 23 runners, a far cry from when the weekend could attract so many people that the tournament had in the area of 140 runners.
I wonder if we are are the verge of a new revolution in poker. Vlogs now seem to be the latest venture by a number of poker players. I may be mistaken, but it appears that Trooper97 ("What up? It's The Trooper.") might be the Chris Moneymaker of poker vloging.
Anyway, poker relationships are quite unique. I started this blog over ten years ago -- right when poker was riding the wave of popularity across the globe and certainly in the United States. I, like many others, played online poker virtually every day. And not just for a few minutes. Somehow my wife did not divorce me during this time when it seemed that I lived and breathed poker almost every minute of the day.
At that time, I had a number of poker friends and acquaintances that were part of my daily life. Most had a poker blog, so significant time was spent reading all the blogs each day. Posting was frequent, the gossip flowed, hand histories were posted and analyzed, and good cheer and friendly digs ruled the day.
The highlight of the week happened every Wednesday night when The Mookie, a private tournament for bloggers, took place. It was like having a prom every week. No matter what I was doing, I tried to be home Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. Central time for the weekly social gathering. There were also other blogger tournaments, but The Mookie was the king! I never actually met Mookie, a guy from Texas who kept stats, posted the results and even featured the winner in a blog post. And if you won, the next week's tournament featured you or your blog's name!
I have to tell you, many of the poker bloggers were really talented poker players. Winning The Mookie was tough. I actually won it the second time I played it and figured that I would just crush it every week. Ha! I didn't win another for over two years! Check out this picture from ten years ago that I used to advertise "The Mookie - Lightning Strikes:"
There have been many ups and downs since that time. A couple of bloggers turned bad and cheated some of their friends. Many just faded away as poker's popularity faded. The restrictions on online poker that were thrust on many of us via the U.S. government dealt a crushing blow to much of the poker enthusiasm. There were some relationships that were tattered for one reason or another as, after all, we are just people. But, I have to tell you, when problems arose, poker buddies always seem to have your back. The support I got from my poker buddies when my son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer many years ago was unbelievable.
Toward the end of the poker boom, a newer crowd of poker bloggers started appearing on the scene. Some of those people remain some of my most treasured friends and are actually some of the people who still read this blog. For those friends, I am particularly thankful.
I have met many online poker buddies in person because of the WPBT and subsequent trips to Las Vegas. It is always interesting meeting online friends in person. And the most fun? Being able to actually sling some cards in person with these friends, whether in Las Vegas, Reno, the Wisconsin Dells, St. Charles, MO or any other place that has a poker room ready for action!
As for my future poker schedule, aside from infrequent trips to my closest rooms, East Peoria, IL's Par-A-Dice Casino and Harrah's Joliet, I do plan on playing at these distant casinos over the next two months:
December 17: Ho-Chunk Casino, Wisconsin Dells
December 26-30: Harrah's New Orleans
January 23-27: Las Vegas
And finally, thanks to the people who read this blog. If there are any people from the "old" days, make sure you pop in on the comments occasionally so I know you are still around.
Onward and upward!