Positive Tweets for the Mental Game of Poker


Trolling celebrities on twitter


Jeffrey Haas Interview Is Live

Sorry for the delay on this one peeps, my interview with Jeffrey Haas of PokerStars is finally live on PokerStrategy.com. I mentioned it last week in my blog prior to the publish.

PokerStrategy.com Column: The Death of Poker Sponsorship

The end of the poker patch?
This is a two part column that appeared in PokerStrategy.com earlier month, about the changing face of poker sponsorship.

Poker is changing dramatically right now - the game is getting regulated, social media is finally starting to come into the picture, and every poker room is looking at ways in which to make the poker economy healthier.

We had a fantastic blog this week from our CEO, Dominik Kofert, on his vision for the future of poker, in which he envisions a future where poker is marketed as a hobby and entertainment, rather than a sport or career.

Many poker rooms are introducing initiatives that penalize winning players, or at least, reward recreational players more. Elsewhere, many of the former "heroes" of poker are dramatically falling from grace, in particular, those embroiled in the Full Tilt scandal.

For whatever reason, the high profile professional player is no longer the centre of the poker universe.

Which compels me to ask, what is the point of poker rooms sponsoring players anymore? We are constantly hearing about the profits of poker rooms declining year on year, yet many rooms still insist on investing heavily on sponsoring players to wear their patch for them at tournaments.

What do sponsored players bring to a poker room?

The Hendon Mob were early
pioneers of poker sponsorship
In hindsight, using part of your marketing budget to freeroll someone into poker tournaments seemed pretty silly in 99% of the cases. For years it was the knee-jerk reaction of any aspiring new poker room to go out and put a patch on a reasonably successful player - it was just something that people did, without really questioning why.

What actual value is derived from sponsoring someone to play poker? There are a handful of players out there who could, in 2012, possibly influence someone to play on a site by representing it - the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Tony G, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson - and that list is decreasing all the time. Not many other poker players have a genuine fan-base like this, or what we can really call "star power".

Beyond the players who are regularly on TV and are actually well known by the mainstream audience, what actual value do the vast majority of "I-won-an-EPT-sponsored-players" bring to the table?

They don't attract new players to the game, because most of them are complete nobodies outside of poker, so they could be anyone to a non poker player watching them on TV. 

Likewise, what value do they have to existing poker players? The chances are that anyone who has been playing poker for a while has already made their choices where to play, based on software, softness, VIP deals, traffic etc. If, all of a sudden, sponsored player X takes down the next leg of the WPT, I may find that interesting, but it will not in any way influence where I decide to play poker.

As a player, I am much more interested in the things I have mentioned above that concerned me. If I am going to switch poker rooms, or play more on an existing one, it is going to be increased rakeback, bigger guarantees, softer games, better promotions, or improved software that will do it.

The Black Friday effect

Could the FTP sponsorship model
ever be sustainable again?
Which brings me onto why I can't see the traditional poker sponsorship model surviving in 2012. Not only is the community only concerned with the parts of the poker room that affect them, the modern poker player wants to know where their money is going. Black Friday shined a worrying light on what was happening in the back offices of online poker rooms, where our money was, and how it was being used.

We want our rake going back into promotions, software, rakeback, and marketing to bring new players to the table. I feel it was going this way anyway before Black Friday, but the perception of sponsored players by the poker community in the future will probably be "why is that guy playing with our money?" - and after the whole Full Tilt debacle, can you blame us?

I think part of the widespread acceptance of sponsorship in the past was probably down to a flawed sense of deserving. Sponsored players were perceived as being accomplished, talented and hard-working; we didn't question why they got to play on our dime, because we felt their superior poker abilities meant they deserved to wear the patch.

This just does not wash anymore. The integrity of poker players is being scrutinised more than ever, no longer are they worshipped or idolised. Many former heroes have become villains since Black Friday, especially the ones who are thought to have benefited at the expense of all the players with money stuck on Full Tilt.

Full Tilt's entire model was built around sponsored players, their hook-line was "play with the pros" after all, and when they went down, there were about 250 sponsored players on their books. When you consider many of the traditional sponsorship deals are worth in the region of $100k a year, is there any wonder the site imploded like it did with figures like that?

In 2012, the only real benefactors from the traditional poker sponsorship model is the sponsored players themselves. I hope that the community would never stand for another sponsorship model like FTP's again, and instead urged poker rooms to put more of our rake into the things that bring new players to the tables, and our own experience much more enjoyable.

Finally, before I receive a sackful of hate mail and angry tweets from the hundreds of sponsored players out there - I will be following this up with a second part, which will focus on the sponsorship deals that still have value in 2012.

Part 2
boris becker
Celebrity poker players
bring star power to the table
Earlier this week I painted quite a negative picture of player sponsorship in today's poker climate. I suggested that most player sponsorships were a waste of customer rake, which could be used for much better purposes than to freeroll an already successful player into some tournaments.

Today I would like to focus on some areas of sponsorship that still have value. I still think in some of cases, the money could be better used elsewhere; but these are by no means a waste, or at least, are much better than others.

One of the main reasons for my attack on the current state of player sponsorships was that most of the sponsored players do not actually have the star power to encourage new players to take up the game, or existing players to play more/switch rooms. The vast majority of well known poker players are still complete nobodies to the rest of the world.

The obvious exception here are the sponsored players who are already celebrities. The rich and famous folks from the world of sports and showbiz, who have achieved the holy grail of poker sponsorship without actually having to back it up with poker ability.

It may suck that a hard working grinder with some real success behind them struggles to find a sponsor, but Boris Becker can just show a slight interest in the game and land a PokerStars deal, but Boris will do so much more for PokerStars than most players ever could.

Ready made fan-bases

liv boeree
Liv Boeree is a
sponsor's dream
Stars like Boris Becker, and 888poker sponsored player Shane Warne, bring with them a ready made fan-base, they actually have a demographic of supporters who are ready to be converted into poker addicts.

Celebrities also make it onto TV, and into newspapers, on a regular basis. Should they make it onto said TV or newspapers wearing a poker logo, that is worth much more than a regular sponsored player taking down a WPT event.

I always pose this question when weighing up the relative worth of a sponsored player. If you were to open a poker room tomorrow, who would you prefer to endorse your room: Phil Laak or Lady Gaga? If your answer is the Unabomber, you hate money.

You do not have to be world famous to have some sponsorship leverage as a poker player, but you do need to have an additional appeal beyond your ability to play cards. A great example of this is Liv Boeree, who is first and foremost a player, a very good one at that, but has several qualities that can bridge the gap between poker and mainstream appeal.

She is an attractive girl, which not only wins her fans it also gets her mainstream publicity. She has an great back story as an astro-physics student, which makes her interesting to write about. Finally, she is also a talented guitarist and heavy metal fan, which has seen her become something of a celebrity in rock music circles.

Then of course there are the handful of players who can genuinley be considered celebrities just from the world of poker. Players like Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, and those who are famous in their home countries like ElkY and Joe Hachem. These guys are seen as the faces of poker, and have  enough star power to deserve sponsorship on that reason alone.

Loyalty based sponsorship

Randy Lew is part of the new
breed of sponsored players
Finally there is one area where the typical hard working grinder, with no claims to celebrity, can still expect sponsorship and add value at the same time, is the "in-house loyalty pro".

Many poker rooms have realised that there is much more merit to giving out their sponsorship deals to the guys who have helped fund the marketing budget in the first place. PokerStars, PartyPoker and PKR are all examples of rooms who have rewarded loyalty with sponsorship.

This model has a number of benefits. First of all, it cultivates a sense of loyalty and community at the room itself, the players can feel an affinity with the pro because he is one of us after all.

Secondly, it gives players of all levels something to aspire to, and gives them a reason to play (and rake) more. PokerStars, for example, did not just pick out the biggest profit winners for sponsorship, they also picked out low stakes players like chipstar1 and high raking grinders like nanonoko.

The third benefit is that the players will actively look to promote the poker room for free. I know lots of players who wear PokerStars or PKR patches at tournaments for free, simply because they really want to make it onto the sponsored team, and are working hard to prove they deserve it.

Finally, maybe the best reason to justify the deal in the first place is that they have already paid for part of it with their own activity at the tables. It is much easier to quantify the value of a newly sponsored pro when they have already raked most of what their deal is worth.

Ultimately the key to a valuable sponsorship deal in 2012 is to have a second appeal beyond your ability to play poker itself. Are you famous outside of poker? Are you an attractive woman? Do you appeal to a demographic that poker is trying to attract like women, video games, or regions where poker is less popular? Do you have a huge fan base on social media? Are you paying an immense amount of rake already?

There are still plenty of poker sponsorship models that add value to a poker room, there are still reasons why the community should be able to get behind a sponsored player without being bitter that their rake is paying for their free ride. But being sponsored simply because you are good at poker simply does not hold weight anymore in 2012.

by Barry Carter

50% Mobile Traffic By The End Of 2013?

I was lucky enough to interview Jeffrey Haas of PokerStars this week about their new mobile poker app product.

It's a good interview and I urge you to take a look at it. The one thing that really stuck with me was when he mentioned he thought PokerStars traffic would be 25% mobile app based by the end of this year, and 50% by the end of 2013.

I tweeted this very suggestion yesterday, and the overall response I got was that nobody believed it. I probably agree with Haas on this one, partially because he did a very good job of persuading me.

First of all, there is a massive difference between traffic and revenue. I don't believe a mobile app will account for the majority of revenue at any poker room for a very long time.

About 80% of the rake at a poker room is generated by about 10-15% of the players. This is obviously going to be the winning, mass multi-tabling grinders, who rely on huge monitors, powerful PCs, and software like Hold'em Manager running in the background.

No way you will see anyone getting to SuperNova Elite on an iPad or iPhone.

But as for traffic, I buy that one. Laptop sales have been in decline ever since the iPad and other tablets were launched, and while I can't see laptops dying out, they certainly are decreasing at an alarming rate. Not only this, but people are getting tablets who would never have otherwise bought a computing device, because they are so easy to use, which means a new demographic potentially being introduced to online poker.

I hope Haas is right, even though I am a pretty die-hard PC/laptop man myself, because it can only mean new players coming to the game.

UPDATE: Sorry guys the interview is not quite live yet, will be soon. 

Mobile Poker and Player Notes: One is a game changer, one isn't.

It's a big day for online poker in my opinion, with the launch of a PokerStars mobile client that uses the dotcom liquidity. Yes, this is not the first mobile poker client, not even the first for Stars, but it is so impressive, and uses the biggest player base in poker, that I think this could be a huge deal.

Not to be outdone, Bodog apparently have shaken up the online poker industry today with a revolutionary new addition......player notes.

Yes you read it right. In a joke of an announcement on CalvinAyre.com, they are actually trying to make out their player note facility is a 'game changer'. The best (and by best, I mean, worst) thing about these notes is that they do not even transfer to the next game - as Bodog has recently made the move to 100% anonymous tables.

Unlike many of my peers, I don't hate this new model by Bodog, I think all anonymous tables is a well intended idea if nothing else. But to make a song and dance about such a mundane poker feature from a decade ago, especially when you are in fact, pointing out its limitations compared to every other poker room, (Whose notes do transfer over to the next day) makes me question what the hell is going on over at Bodog. It is just, well, bizarre.

It only seems fitting that they chose the day PokerStars brought out such a promising change to the landscape of online poker, to announce such a non event like this.


Linking To Rival Poker Media Sites


One of my poker industry heroes, Bill Rini, picked up on something in my last blog which I wanted to expend upon, and that is the practice of poker media sites linking to other, rival, poker media sites, in their news reporting. And of course what I mean by this, is poker affiliate sites linking to other poker affiliate sites. 

A few years ago, this would be a tantamount to treason on a poker website. If a new poker writer made the noob mistake of innocently linking to a rival website, or a non affiliated poker room, in a story, then they would get a severe dressing down. 

Of course it makes sense why that would be. If the website in question had worked hard to create content, get good affiliate deals, and bring in traffic; why would they ever want to divert traffic to someone else who could get them to sign up to PokerStars? This was at a time where people were buying/selling/trading/bartering links like cigarettes in prison. 

The times have changed. The poker audience is much more sophisticated, and poker news is significantly more complex. I don't want to go into the debate about whether an affiliate site can have true journalistic integrity today, but it is clear we have turned a corner where linking is concerned. 

There is simply so much going on in the world of poker that we have to report the most important findings, and that means linking to rival poker media, and non affiliated poker rooms, who have broke the news. The Full Tilt scandal was a perfect example, PokerStrategy.com,PokerNews.com, and twoplustwo.com, were all getting exclusives that impacted the storyline. 

Given the gravity of the story, it would have been irresponsible not to link to each others findings, even though the three bodies could be considered rivals. 

It is not just ground breaking news like Black Friday where poker news sites are readily linking to each other. I mentioned yesterday that 'News In Brief' features are seeing this happen every day, and often on much more whimsical stories. 

Ultimately poker media sites do not want to out of the loop with any stories that are taking place in poker. We have got to the point where we have realised that rather than pushing our traffic away, never to be seen again. If we provide a good enough source of news and/or affiliate deals, the audience will keep coming back for more. 

It also shows, in my opinion, a great deal of integrity that we are prepared to take such a risk in the name of good news reporting, and I think the audience get that. 

Of course, the absolute worse thing you can do is still carry the story, without giving proper citations. Although the typical reader probably wont notice, your peers in the poker media will, and expect a cold war on twitter and snubbing at WSOP and PokerStars parties forever more. 

News In Brief Poker News Articles


In the last six months, I have noticed poker news websites are opting more and more for the 'news in brief' format. This is where, rather than writing up a single news story in its entirety, the writer opts to provide a round-up of several news stories from the day, with a quick summary of each. 

So for example, yesterday at PokerStrategy, our own version featured the story of Brad Booth calling out Phil Hellmuth, the Mizrachi brothers opening a dealer school, an update from the PokerStars cruise, an interview with Patrik Antonius, and a story about  a poker related gun range shooting game.

The first of these aggregated poker news articles appeared back when I was at PokerNews.com, in what is called the Nightly Turbo - I'd love to take credit but it was Matt Parvis and Elaine Chaivarlis you can thank for that. We have also been doing a version of it for some time at PokerStrategy.com called The Daily Rewind, and in the last few months I have seen a great number of other sites following suit. 

I, for one, really like this format of poker news reporting, because I think it achieves a lot in a short space of time. 

First of all, there is simply too much news to report story by story these days. The poker media is a limited resource, we cannot possibly expect to cover every single story taking place in poker like the BBC or CNN can, so aggregated news stories are a great way to include a lot of stories into your daily reporting. 

Likewise, a lot of news stories are certainly worthy of mention, but difficult to make into a standalone news story. A complete nobody winning a moderately noteworthy tournament for example, worth a mention, but difficult to turn into compelling writing. 

I also like them, because those sites that do them well treat the audience like an adult and actually link to other websites. There was a time when an affiliate website would never link to anyone else, but the very nature of these articles means you have to provide the original source of the news to allow the reader to go off and discover more about the story. Being confident enough to link away to a potential rival, because it is in the best interests of giving the reader the whole story, in my opinion gives the original site a great deal of credibility.

The best reason for this sort of poker news reporting is that it reflects the way we want to consume our media these days. We want to know everything, we want to know it now, and we want to bypass a lot of the crap and be presented with the core information. 

I must say it is a pet peeve of mine when people will not read a long piece of text and demand the 'cliffs' instead, but I think I am in the minority there. 

The format also makes them very easy to consume. They tend to have very nicely broken up text, lots of pictures, the core information right at the start. 

I know that on paper makes the audience sound like a five year old, but the reality is that one of the biggest challenges faced by poker media (And, in fact, anyone who produces web content) is getting people to stay on the page for more than a minute. The average reader does not even pull the scroll bar downwards on a news article, but these attractive snappy features are much easier to digest and have a much better time on page score. 

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 6: Network


I have always had a mild loathing for the term 'networking' - I just see it as a very Dave Brent-esque term - but there is little doubt that it is important in any industry. Often the difference between those poker writers that find work and those that don't is simply being on other people's radar. 

It is a tremendously easy time to contact anyone in the poker media, most people have a facebook or twitter account, or a website with a 'contact' page, with which they are happy to receive messages. Poker is not a world where the six degrees of separation rule applies, I would actually say it is closer to two or three degrees. If I am trying to contact someone, it is rare I don't know someone who knows them, and the chances are you probably have a better network than you think.

But first and foremost, try and contact people from their twitter/facebook/blog/website - the arenas where they have given their permission to do so. 

The benefits of networking are enormous. Networking will get you work offers, interviews, invites to events, exclusive stories, and much more. Also, having a prior history with someone gives you an edge, a context, for working with them in the future. I recall I approached PokerNews several times trying to get work, but it wasn't until I met the then-editor Paul Sandells at a poker tournament that my (constant) attempts to secure work bore fruit. 

Which brings me onto an obvious, but ignored, piece of advice - get out of the house. Get yourself down to the big events, get to your local casino, go to Vegas if you are thinking about going anyway. Meeting people in person is so much more effective. It can be very easy to think you can do it all from the comfort of your PC, but real life meetings are the best ways to leave a lasting impression. In the poker media, it gives you credibility.

That doesn't mean you should spend a fortune travelling the globe to get to these events, but you should definitely go to the ones nearby. There will always be something happening in your area at some point. I didn't go to Cannes for the WSOPE, but I always went when it was in London, and always venture out to EPT London - you just can't pass up great poker writing opportunities like that when they land on your doorstep. 

Who to network with? Everyone. There is no right and wrong, and you certainly should not assume that the best opportunities come from the people highest up. Most of my most reliable contacts in the poker media are not the big bosses, they are the guys doing the work on the ground floor who actually have the time to talk to you. 

One group to certainly mix with are the PR people and the agents. Be warned, more often than not they are trying to get you to write about something they are promoting, but what that also leads to is exclusive news and interviews. They usually have access to poker rooms, events, and top players. As long as you have your bullshit detectors ready and working, you will find them very helpful. 

Finally, get active on poker forums and twitter. Not only is this a good way of being involved in all the major discussions and meet people, it is a great way to put yourself on the map as a poker writer. I can't tell you the amount of times I have had people introduce themselves to me in poker rooms by saying 'hey, you're DaveShoelace on the Blondepoker forum' - many of whom have gone on to become good friends or contacts. 

Related blogs
Advice to New Poker Writers Part 1: The State of the Industry
Part 1 of my series on the advice I give to new poker writers. 

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 2: Don't Wait to be Asked
Part 2 in the series, where I share perhaps the single most important piece of advice. 

Why starting a blog is a perfect way to start a career as a poker writer.

Where to go looking for potential contracts

Who to follow and where to look for news

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 5: Where to find stuff to write about


Of all the blogs I have written in this series, I am the most reluctant about giving advice on where to find things to write about. Simply because I feel that if you don't know where to look, or what to write, you really should question why you want to be a poker writer. It's an old cliche, but if poker is not the thing you can't not write about, then maybe you should be writing about something else. 

But I get asked it a lot, so here is my advice anyway. Just like in the last blog, I am going to try and avoid mentioning specific websites/topics because poker changes so quickly, much better to give a broad overview that can be used for a long time, no matter how the poker media changes. 

First of all, get the news sent to you, that makes it so much easier. I have a number of google alerts set up for keywords, the most obvious one of course being 'poker' but you should also try and single out some terms for your own particular interests, like 'poker legislation' or 'poker tournament'. You get any published news article on these subjects emailed right to you when they go live, so no excuse for not being in the loop.

Likewise, make sure to sign up to all the main poker press release sources. Contact all the major poker rooms and organisations press departments to be asked to be put on their mailing lists, as well as any major poker PR companies. Lyceum Media and Poker Media Consulting spring to mind. 

Next, seek out and compile all the major sources of poker news and information out there and aggregate them in some way. Google reader does this, I personally just have them all saved to my favourites in google chrome, and I am sure there are tons of other services out there. The best sources to look at are popular poker forums (2+2 obv), the main news sites, and the blogs of major poker rooms and players. Last time I checked, pokercurious.com has some pretty decent link lists for this kind of thing, but they have not been updated in a while. 

The single most important thing in poker media today in this regard is to get twitter savvy. You will not find news faster than on twitter, nor will you find a better way of gauging the poker communities views on something, and finally it is a great way of getting in contact with people. If you are not converted to twitter by now, I won't be giving you a lesson here, but urge you to take some time out and learn how to use it effectively. Search for both basic twitter help, and 'twitter for journalists'.

If you are one of the converted, first of all follow @KevMath.(But you probably did anyway)

Done that, lesson two, follow me @barry_carter. (Shame on you if you didn't)

Kev does it thousands of times better than me but between us we tend to tweet all the major goings-on in poker. Follow any account of interest that we tweet, follow the twitter accounts of all the interesting poker players, poker rooms, and poker news resources. This really is where the poker media world is talking, including just about all your fellow poker writers, so if you are not tweeting, you are going to be left way behind. 

Historically, interviews have always been a welcome and profitable way to make money for a poker writer, so this is a great place to go looking for content. Most players and public figures in poker have a twitter account, facebook page, or personal website, so it easy to contact them. In fact, there has never been an easier time to get in contact with anyone, and most poker people are happy to do interviews. Interviews are also a great way to get networking.....more on that in the next blog. 

Previous Blog Posts:
Advice to New Poker Writers Part 1: The State of the Industry
Part 1 of my series on the advice I give to new poker writers. 

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 2: Don't Wait to be Asked
Part 2 in the series, where I share perhaps the single most important piece of advice. 

Why starting a blog is a perfect way to start a career as a poker writer.

Why starting a blog is a perfect way to start a career as a poker writer.

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 4: Where To Find Work


On the topic of where to find poker writing work, I am going to deliberately take a broad viewpoint, rather than pinpointing specific places to find work. This is for two reasons. First of all, I do not want to piss any of my poker media friends off by sending hundreds of plucky writers in their direction expecting work. Secondly, the industry changes so fast that new avenues are cropping up all the time, just as quickly as others are closing. 

The most obvious place to start is simply wherever you go yourself to consume poker media. Do you check out a particular news site, forum, or blog? There is nothing stopping you from making contact with them and putting yourself on the radar, especially if you follow the advice I suggested in blog number two about having a body of work to hand when you contact them. 

Your natural instincts will be to gravitate to the most obvious places where a poker writer is expected to find work, which will be a poker news site and poker magazine. That's fine, definitely do that (Though expect rejection, at least at the start). But look much further than that, so many poker websites have written content, may of which may need help. Strategy sites, poker room blogs, live poker events, poker forums, staking sites, B2B websites, and even ghost writing blogs for players. 

I mentioned this in blog number one of this series, but if you can find it, try and get work doing live reporting at poker events. This really is one of the best ways to get exposure, learn your trade, and network with the right people. It is pretty competitive right now, but if nothing else you are likely to have some geographical advantage with at least one event in the poker year. If you have an event coming to your region, let the relevant live reporting team (and casino) know you are available, because travel expenses are hefty, and if you can cut those in half instantly you give yourself a fighting chance. 

Another consideration, one which I believe is currently underused by poker writers, is editorial placement. News sites and magazines no longer have inexhaustible budgets, which means they often accept free content from commercial enterprises in exchange for allowing them to plug a URL within the content. So poker room X might get one of their sponsored pros to write a strategy article, or get a writer to review their recent live event, in exchange for sticking some branding all over the piece. 

So, if you can't get direct work from a magazine, or from an online poker room, why not see if a poker room will pay you to write something for them, to feature in a magazine? The cost of editorial placement will always be much lower than the cost of advertising with the same magazine/website, so the company would be on to a winner getting you to write a piece on their behalf. 

Instead of finding someone to pay you to write, why not write something that people can purchase from you instead? These are wonderful times for the self published author, the kindle has removed almost every hurdle a writer has to face in order to make a living. If you have an idea for a book, the only thing it will really cost you is your time. Be warned, however, that the poker book market is very competitive: strategy books go out of date as quickly as a new phone or computer, and few other types of poker book have a massive audience. But if you think you have a killer idea for book, formatting it for kindle is remarkably easy (And self publishing it for softcover is relatively cheap too).

But it does not need to be a fully fledged book. There is nothing stopping you from turning a poker article into something that can be purchased on the kindle. Not many people want to spend money on poker articles, but the beauty is that you can price it as low as $0.99, which is easy to justify as a purchase. You can also monetise your poker blog by making it available to subscribe to on kindle for a small fee. 

And once again, back to the poker blog. As I mentioned in my previous column, it is possible to monetise a poker blog and many people are doing it. Once you have developed a following, are getting plenty of regular traffic, and have started to score well on search engines; you can start approaching potential advertisers selling banner/link space (And you will find, they start contacting you). A blog is also, as I have found, a great business card with which to actually get work offers. 

A final note; offering to do some stuff for free in the early days will pay off. It sucks not to get paid for your work, but it gets your foot in the door for future paid work, so look on it as an investment for the future. Don't get screwed by any means, but a couple of favours here and there are worth it in the long run, if all it costs you is a bit of time. 

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 1: The State of the Industry
Part 1 of my series on the advice I give to new poker writers. 

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 2: Don't Wait to be Asked
Part 2 in the series, where I share perhaps the single most important piece of advice. 

Why starting a blog is a perfect way to start a career as a poker writer.

Advice to New Poker Writers Part 3: Blog


I mentioned in my last blog that there is nothing stopping you from writing right away, and how important it is to have examples of previous poker articles. What I often get in response to this from plucky new poker writers is a reply of 'how can I get previous examples of work when I can't get work' - which is complete bullshit.

Anyone can create an impressive portfolio of work and learn a great deal at the same time by creating a blog. It only takes a few minutes to create a blog, and from that point on you can start publishing work and letting the poker media world see your stuff. 

My own blog goes through long periods of inactivity, followed by weeks of non-stop content. For me, the biggest single reason for my blog is as a business card. I want this to be the first thing people see when they google my name. 

Lots of people have contacted me through my blog, I have got plenty of work as a result, and I even have made a (small) amount of money directly from it.

A blog is great practice for a new poker writer. You get instant feedback on your poker articles and it gets you in the habit of writing regularly even if you can't find much work. 

Even more importantly these days, it is great practice for when you get web based content work. If you work hard on your blog, you will learn html, how to format articles in an attractive way, and SEO - three of the most vital skills for people creating web based poker content. 

In fact, one of the rising new places for poker writers to make money is for blogs for poker rooms, so experience of the back-office of a blog is very important. 

If you work hard enough, you can even monetise it. You can get paid to put advertising banners on it, or use it the promote something you are selling. I use my own blog to promote my book and the poker articles I write on PokerStrategy.com, and in the past have been paid to put banners and links on (Don't do that anymore, personal preference). 

If you want some good advice on starting a blog, look no further than this site by my friend Marko Saric's excellent blog www.howtomakemyblog.com - which really is the only place to go to learn how to make a compelling blog. 

More to come soon......

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