Sunday, August 26, 2007

Exiting Stage Left: PokerWire

[Cal here, checking in--]

A maturing, evolving market typically undergoes two distinct stages: expansion and stratification. Whether the market is one concerning the production of goods, or is as ephemeral as the marketing of information itself, the growth still occurs in much the same way. Even in a growth market, there are victims.

Poker's no exception, sadly.

The weekend's news announcement was the posting of a front-page message at, which made a name for itself by providing chip counts at several major events, and by producing some of the first live 'video interviews' from poker venues. Anyhow, they won't be doing it for much longer; PokerWire wil continue, but will greatly reduce their tourney operations. From the site:

PokerWire Turns the Page; Radio Show Signs Off

As many of you know, both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have both signed exclusive deals with competing magazines for media coverage. With these new deals in place, media outlets like are no longer allowed to post live updates or chip counts. The WPT exclusive took us by surprise; over the last six months we had put together a team of reporters that was second to none in the industry.

There were many complaints by the media about limited access during the WSOP—but the WSOP restrictions seem almost lax compared to the press release about the WPT’s new arrangement. The wording in the press release stated "Floor Access via escorted PR escort ONLY" in fifteen-minute increments and that "there will no longer be designated areas for media with tables, chairs, internet access and power."

We were pleased to see that the spirit behind the restrictions was much more gracious than the rules themselves. The WPT PR representatvies have been as accomodating as possible since our arrival. However, business decisions had to be made, and the loss of live updates and chip counts means that PokerWire can no longer continue to support a full staff and radio show.

The PokerWire you know and love will cease to exist. We will include a few hands and the top 10 chip counts each level, but there will no longer be live updates and chip counts as these are made available by the WPT.

The entire staff will be moving on to new endeavors. Some of them will be remaining in the poker community (we’ll update you on where everybody ends up) while others will be seeking careers in a different field.

This also means that PokerWire Radio will be broadcasting its final show from The Legends of Poker Tournament at The Bicycle Casino in L.A. The show (shows?) will be recorded and posted this week.

It’s been an incredible ride for the company that brought you poker’s first real-time reporting. With that in mind, special thanks are in order for the queen of the chip counts, Jen Creason. Jen’s professionalism as a tournament reporter and chip counter opened the door for this industry. Andy Bloch also made innumerable behind-the-scenes contributions during PokerWire’s formative years.

Finally, Heather Borowinski, Amanda Leatherman, Jeremiah Smith, Jeremy Firth, Joe Stapleton, Alex Henriquez, Gavin Smith, Joe Sebok, and LA Mike would all like to say “Thank you!” to the thousands of readers who have been relying on PokerWire for the last three and a half years…

Sadly, such market pinches were made inevitable by the private nature of the casinos and organizations running most events. In a corporate era where an underlying mantra is, 'If it can be sold, it should be,' the organizations look upon selling media rights as a win-win: not only do they generate income, they get to limit the resources that would otherwise be dedicated to fulfilling 'open' media requests.

Despite the recent move in that direction in the poker world, monopolies regarding media access are seldom a good thing, for pretty clear reasons.

As for PokerWire, most of the principals will likely land elsewhere, as indicated. Jen Creason's chip-count skills are widely known, for example, and she and others will likely be assimilated elsewhere as opportunities occur.

1 comment:

John said...

A bad beat on all of us! PokerWire Radio is/was my favorite source of "pokertainment". Joe says that it will continue somewhere and I really hope that it does. Maybe they would be welcome back at Cardplayer since the revised "The Circuit" never took off.