Twelve months of poker goodness with Joey Ingram.
Throughout the 2016 calendar year, the poker community has witnessed a number of unprecedented events that have inspired, engaged and/or disgruntled fans worldwide. From epic player achievements highlighted by successful tournament runs and social media outreach to a complete departure from pro-friendly policies by the world’s largest poker site, there has been plenty for poker-goers to discuss over the past 12 months. As we look ahead to 2017, here’s a look back at some of poker’s biggest moments this past year from the most popular Poker Life Podcast hosted by Joey Ingram episodes.
Poker headlines a year ago were dominated by the world’s largest poker site and its sudden refusal to honor loyalty-based reward payouts that had been marketed to its highest-volume players over the previous year. Former Team PokerStars Pro and Top 25 all-time live tournament money leader “Hollywood” Ike Haxton announced he had parted ways with the Amaya-led entity just a few hours into January, and joined Joey live from the PCA Bahamas shortly thereafter for an unforgettable 200-minute program to talk about Amaya’s “communication errors” and disservice to the poker community. High stakes tournament specialists Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz and Jens “Jeans” Kyllönen also made Poker Life Podcast appearances from the PCA in January as players adjusted to a new era in online poker.
Samantha Abernathy called-in to the Poker Life Podcast in early February to discuss her final table run in the Aussie Millions Main Event which resulted in a 3rd place finish and a cash prize exceeding $400,000 USD. The two-hour dialogue between Sam & Papi featured everything from poker stories and long-lost sister shakedowns to handstands and an uncooperative cat. Abernathy’s efforts in the Poker Twitter space have been noteworthy throughout 2016; focusing on good-natured comedy as well as outreach linked to the recent Bill Perkins PCA Giveaways that have been live-streamed on Twitch Poker.
Upswing Poker featured pro Doug Polk announced the launch of this very website just nine months ago, live on the Poker Life Podcast. Both Doug and fellow featured pro Ryan Fee talked with Papi’s viewers this past March and explained more about The Lab and the value it offers to aspiring poker players.
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Ingram had actually stopped casting a few weeks earlier but was forced out of retirement by former Amaya CEO David Baazov, who was charged with criminal insider trading by the Quebec government on March 23rd. An “emergency podcast” with high roller Mike McDonald aired as the community reacted to Baazov’s plight and learned more about PokerStars Spin & Go jackpot winners’ addiction to Sunglass Hut merchandise.
2014 Big One for One Drop winner Daniel Colman made an exclusive appearance on Ingram’s podcast this past April, breaking nearly two years of silence to discuss his historic 2014 Big One for One Drop victory and subsequent media fallout that occurred when Colman didn’t feel like doing a ton of exit interviews. For many poker fans, winning one of the largest poker tournament cash prizes ever would be cause for jubilant celebration. However, it was actually a “huge adrenaline dump” for the 20-something action seeker whose spirits were much higher moments before the River card versus Daniel Negreanu sealed his victory.
The month of May was jam-packed with poker action, news and commentary with segments featuring Doug Polk, Dan “Jungleman” Cates, and Microgaming executive Alex Scott. Yet leading up to the WSOP it was scandal that was on the minds of many poker fans as live pro Dr. Jaclynn Moskow accused poker historian and former Poker Night in America representative Nolan Dalla of inappropriate sexual behavior during a post-show PNiA party in Pittsburgh. The subsequent back-and-forth between Moskow and PNiA officials played out on the TwoPlusTwo News, Views & Gossip forum, but there have been no updates on the dispute in months.
The 47th-annual World Series of Poker and MTT Staking were major poker news items this past June as Papi welcomed Olivier Busquet, Andrew Barber, Justin Bonomo and Adrian Fenix to the Poker Life Podcast. Barber’s thoughts on poker tournament markup were cut short as Ingram began his own unique 2016 WSOP regiment which included a trip to the Playboy Mansion, a couple of Pot Limit Omaha events, some “lost days” and a heavy diet of on-camera time with Miss California USA contestant Sisily Marin.
Ryan Fee and Doug Polk took home the inaugural WSOP Tag Team championship in July. Both attended the Team Upswing WSOP Party in Las Vegas alongside “Businessman” Matt Colletta as Joey filmed the get-together for his YouTube video blog.
After the 2016 WSOP Main Event “November Nine” was decided, Super High Roller poker tournament endboss Fedor Holz Skpyed-in to talk about his historic poker tournament run which has seen the German superstar cash for nearly $20 million in two years. Holz announced that he was semi-retiring from poker but picked up another $300,000 two months ago at the Aria Las Vegas Super High Roller 12. Other Poker Life Podcast guests in July were PokerStars SCOOP-H Main Event winner Talal “Raidalot” Shakerchi, Cate Hall and Dan O’Brien.
Bill Perkins, Phil Galfond and Daniel Negreanu were just a few of the big names to be welcomed onto the Poker Life Podcast this past August, yet it was Perkins who undoubtedly had the most profound impact on the GTO Club creator. Perkins has been one of the most appreciated personalities in poker throughout the calendar year alongside his Thirst Lounge team that is promoting poker one PCA package at a time.
Arguably the biggest event in Doug Polk’s online poker career took place three months ago. With 23,500 live viewers watching in real time, Doug set the record for all-time largest Twitch Poker score — claiming $455,000 for his runner-up performance in the WCOOP $10k High Roller Event. The @DougPolkPoker broadcast made headlines in poker media circles and remains one of the crowning player-based poker achievements that have taken place this year.
MasterChef USA Season 7 finalist David Williams (who also placed 2nd in the 2004 WSOP Main Event) took center stage on the Poker Life Podcast a few days afterwards. He dispelled old-school rumors of starring in an adult film and relayed his experiences to podcast viewers from the “Golden Era” of poker. Williams spent 200 minutes with Papi and yearns for true competition — regardless of whether that’s on a future reality TV show, in a prop bet or at the poker tables. “I can sleep on a rock. I can not shower for a month. I don’t give a fuck,” Williams explains.
Have you read our Upswing Poker editorial on Why Jason Mo Connects with Poker Fans? Mo’s unapologetic approach to sharing his opinion is a big hit among podcast viewers — many of whom appreciate genuine knowledge and insight into the poker world from personalities who consider political incorrectness to be a lesser offense compared to the angle-shooting, tabloid-worthy business deals and outright scamming that a few of the game’s highest-profile “representatives” have been linked to in 2016.
The Global Poker League and Alex Dreyfus managed to legitimately capture the attention of the poker industry this past October, and Mo was on-hand to deliver his thoughts related to the latest #EntrepreneurLife hustle. That wasn’t the only high profile controversy in poker at the time, though. The 2016 WSOP Main Event was leading into its “November Nine” final table with televised ESPN coverage that boasted an exchange between William Kassouf and Griffin Benger.
Kassouf spent an hour and a half with Joey talking about the WSOP, speech-play, and the finer points of Check Your Privilege.
The 2016 World Series of Poker received a ton of attention on November 1st as Qui Nguyen won the Main Event along with $8 million USD. Established high stakes pro Christian Harder joined the podcast for a special segment on what was then a 3-handed competition between Nguyen, Cliff Josephy and Gordon Vayo. Bill Perkins returned to speak with Joey’s viewers on the 14th, followed by Partypoker Ambassador and 2016 WPT Montreal champion Mike Sexton. November also marked the debut episode of Table Talk with Polk & Papi.
The 2016 calendar year began with outright professional player revolt against PokerStars, its direction away from skill-based gaming and negativity toward its customers. In what some see as “pushback” against current operator policies, high profile poker players Phil Galfond (RunItOnce Poker) and Andrew Lichtenberger (LuckyChewyPoker) are working on their own solutions for real money online poker players in select markets — with both sites aiming to offer real money games in 2017.
LuckyChewy spent 90 minutes with Joey a week ago and was extremely forthcoming in his plans to create a poker site “by the players, for players.” Will these new entries into the online poker operator sector have a bonafide impact on the current market rhetoric which is dominated by PokerStars? We’ll get the answer to that question and many more in 2017.
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David Huber (known as “dhubermex” online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).