It's equally awesome and sad that I'm not at the World Series of Poker this year. My friend Michael Craig has made two final tables, and cashed four times. My former teammates on Team PokerStars are going deep and winning bracelets over and over again, and Otis is covering the hell out of every thing they do. After last year's hilariously bad Cardplayer live updates, John Caldwell and his crew at PokerNews - lead by B.J. Nemeth and Dr. Pauly - are turning in the type of coverage that made live tournament reporting online as exciting and compelling as listening to play-by-play on the radio. Pauly is making me wish I was there every day while simultaneously reminding me why I'm glad I'm not.
I've said it before, but I feel like I'm on the outside looking in, and it's bittersweet to say the least. I could care less about actually playing in the damn thing, but last year I felt like a serious writer on a serious assignment, and I was really proud of what I wrote while I was there. I wish I could do have done that again this year . . . but it's clear that Otis has everything under control. From Poker Player Magazine:
"You won't often find us plugging corporate blogs in this space but the PokerStars WSOP blog is excellent with insight into some of the game's biggest pros (Raymer, Hachem, Greenstein, Negreanu...) We particularly liked the description of the Amazon Room as being on tilt..."
Poker Player Magazine can safely praise the "corporate blog" because it's not "corporate" in the classic and pejorative sense of the word. It's not "corporate" because Otis won't let it be "corporate." We worked very hard last year to ensure that it stayed real and authentic, and didn't slip into the type of lame shilling and hagiography that infect all of the "corporate" blogs and other piles of crap that are really advertising masquerading as content. Last year, we decided that we'd let the other outlets handle the chip counts and the boring data while we went in search of the personal stories behind the numbers. We took the idiotic limitations Harrah's imposed on us, and used them to inspire and focus our coverage. Otis continues that tradition this year, and I'm so happy that he's finally getting some independent recognition for his work. Hell, I can take a great deal of pride in this as well, because I told Dan Goldman and Lee Jones that they should hire Otis to write for them when I wasn't available for the PCA a couple of years ago.
I've known that Otis was a fantastic writer for years, and, like anyone who knows him well, I believed in him when it seemed like he didn't believe in himself. I'm thrilled that other people are taking notice.
Congratulations, Otis. Have a regretful evening for me. PAI GOW!!1