Highlight of my first year? Easy.

Daniel Negreanu_WSOP_22july15.jpgMy year wasn't this bad...

A year ago yesterday I joined the PokerStars Blog full time after years working for the blog as a freelancer. It was one of my better decisions.

I have what I would call the perfect job. I get to travel to different countries writing about poker (even if I still don't understand it), and then return to the central London office where I enjoy all the traditional work day perks: the coffee machine, the water fountain, and the stationery cupboard.

I've been lucky enough to witness some great moments during this past 12 months, which at this point of the year - between the end of the WSOP and the start of the EPT - seems a good time to look back.

So what were the high points of this past year, or the perks of the job depending on how you look at it?

Well, watching CrownUpGuy win the WCOOP Main Event was a good start. Then there was EPT100 in Barcelona, shoehorned full of players. Then there was the Tour's first trip to Malta.

But the biggest of them all happened a few days ago, a long way from all of that, at the WSOP Main Event. There I got to watch perhaps the greatest player in the game narrowly miss out on a place in the November Nine.

Times like these are the job perks. You cannot hide behind "it's work" to any poker fan when you tell them what you do for a living. So you just enjoy it, with an unobstructed view of what can sometimes become poker history.

We might not have been impartial, but we didn't really care. We had front row seats on the Daniel Negreanu show.

The man never seemed to have enough chips, or at least not for long enough. As each level started we figured it would be his last. But he always pulled off some master stroke, or something "old school" as he called it. So we dared to believe he could inch his way to the final table, joking and even doing push ups along the way. The crowd, and the media - we all loved it.

In the end it didn't happen. We'd said that tenth (he finished 11th) would be the worst case scenario, but we wouldn't have missed it.

Maybe the poker world would be different now if he's faded that river card, dammit. As Negreanu put it, he could have used the media attention to promote the game in this most political of poker climates. Alas that hope died on the floor of the ESPN main stage as 200 spectators, who had refused to budge all day, looked on with nothing left to say.

So yeah, that was a good day at work, and some way to mark a year in the job.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.