Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fading Away

You could claim as one of the casualties of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) the poker blogging community, although that wouldn't be entirely true. The UIGEA certainly did serious damage: it's become more difficult to move money in/out of online poker sites, and perhaps more importantly, to transfer money between various sites. Many poker players - including me - used something like NETeller as a waypoint to move money from a healthy bankroll into a dwindling stake at another site or to create a new account if there was interesting tournament happening somewhere we weren't registered. Can't do that now, and the consequence was that many people just focused on one or two sites, and if/when their bankroll faded at a site, why so did they.

But while the UIGEA probably deserves the lion's share of the blame, you could probably also chalk up the rapidly shrinking poker blogger community to such things as the community getting older - not in the graybeard sense, but in the "growing up and having kids" sense. Two of my favorite podcasts, Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio and PokerDiagram both went down because kids and responsibilities overwhelmed the weekly poker game, which in turn was what drove their respective podcasts.

And, like all fads - and the Texas Hold `Em craze was a classic fad - at some point it seems like everyone suddenly wakes up and says, "Exactly why was I investing in tulip bulbs again?" A lot of people - including on occasion, this person - thought that they might have what it takes to make scads of money from poker, but instead found that whatever it takes to be a consistently successful poker player was beyond them. Me, I found out I was a hobbyist.

Wil Wheaton lost interest in online poker, PokerStars laid him off, the Wheaties collapsed (although several other games sprung up to take its place); and more and more poker bloggers started to cash in - some officially calling it quits, like Maudie, some just fading away, like PokerDiagram. Maudie, btw, has broken cover, come out of the closet, taken off her mask, opened the kimono, or whatever revealing metaphor you prefer, and officially announced her Yes, a blog blog, where she's no longer Maudie, but yes Herself, Kym. I've known about that "other" blog since she started it, but now that Kym has made it public, I can talk about it. Go and visit.

The only other poker blog I regularly followed was Iggy's Guinness and Poker site which has seemed to be in the throes of ugly self-destruction for the past several months. As someone noted...

"... [Iggy] has now basically reduced himself to three things: Quoting in full (although usually not linking) the occasional newspaper article on something poker related, quoting in full articles related to the US presidential race, usually with a very obvious slant of pro-Obama, con-Hillary, and posting poker stories by Johnny Hughes. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of his posts are in the second category. And if you’re wondering what exactly it is Iggy writes himself in all of this, you’re touching a good point. I think my post here today contains more words than he’s written himself in the past year...."
Iggy sheepishly admitted to the truth of the criticism, and then blithely continued on with the same stuff. As far as I can tell, the only reason he keeps G&P going is for whatever income the various affiliate links he has on the site still bring. It's certainly no interest in poker.

I did a quick tour through Maudie's and Iggy's blogrolls to other poker blogs I occasionally visited. A few are still gamely going on - some seem to be writing about things other than poker, the poker players seem to write more about bricks-n'-mortar play than online. Some claim the reports of their death are greatly exaggerated and that they'll be back. A few are - or have - winded it up.

Life goes on.

1 comment:

Kym said...

I can't help but think we are like a society/community caught in hyper-time - evolving naturally, but in a fraction of the time a physical one does.

The UIGEA took the wind out of many a poker-blogger's sails, mine included. Add to that, once the 'community' got large enough, it split along natural lines with groups that formed out of friendships and the conversations born on the blogs were carried on offline.

Nothing wrong in that, but now it seems there are those that are critical of those groups as 'cliquish' and exclusionary. Quite the high-school drama, if you ask me.

I don't know that I've put PP completely to bed. I expect I'll have something to say - like the review or '21' (which, it seems, I'm alone in with my favorable opinion of the flick).

In the meantime, I am really enjoying getting YAB on its way. It's fun to relive the excitement of seeing the hit count rise in the stats. I actually have two whole subscribers now (including myself) as reported by Feedburner!