Thanks for 10 years of the PokerStars Blog
On this very day in 2005, I hit publish on the very first PokerStars Blog post, an introduction of the idea that an online poker site could cover poker news every day and that PokerStars would be the first to do it.
It could've failed miserably, and it might have but for the cooperation and hard work of a lot of people who don't often get credit for what they do. Instead, we've now kept this thing running for a decade, and unless someone is hiding something from me, we have a long future ahead of us.
With that in mind, on this, the tenth anniversary of the PokerStars Blog, there are a lot of people who are due some thanks.
First and foremost, thank you, the reader. You have visited us millions upon millions of times since April 24, 2005, and it's your interest and loyalty that convinced us to keep this thing going for so long.
I'll get to everyone else (and it's a long list) in a second, but first, if you missed any of our retrospectives on the PokerStars Blog this week, please take the time take a walk back in time with us at any of these links below.
The PokerStars Blog's eyes--On our long-suffering photographers
The best story we ever published--Behind the scenes of Howard Swains' masterful piece on a painful WSOP elimination
It's about the story, stupid--Rick Dacey looks back at the ethos that's guided the PokerStars Blog team
Standing on the fault line--Reflecting on our place as witness to life-changing moments
Dmitri Nobles and the accidental rabbit's foot--CJ Hoyt on the time he accidentally got sucked into a big WSOP story
Exile--Paul McGuire writes about his inspiration for a SCOOP recap in the wake of Black Friday
Ripples: Taking the PokerStars Blog to points unknown--On the PokerStars Blog's worldwide spead over ten years
The Day Ruthenberg Ruled the World--German writer Robin Scherr looks back at how het got involved with us and the first really big day on the job
All in the family--Behind the scenes of the crazy lives the PokerStars Blog team leads
Posts you never got to read--Howard Swains discusses the Blog's dirty little secret
Confessions, deleted scenes, and the stories we couldn't tell--Some of the things that never made the blog (for good reason)
What's next for the PokerStars Blog--Stephen Bartley looks ahead to see what the PokerStars Blog might look like in ten years
Now, to the part of the ceremony where the orchestra would almost certainly play me off stage.
Isai and Mark Scheinberg...without whom neither PokerStars nor the PokerStars Blog would have ever been possible. You wanted an email newsletter, but agreed to try out this blog thing. Thank you both for sticking with us, being tough critics, and supporting us all the way.
Wil Wheaton...who turned down a gig to write for the 2005 PCA and recommended me for the job, thus setting in motion all that happened next.
Lee Jones...for pulling me aside that week and asking if I wanted to quit my TV news career and write about poker. Since then, you have been a constant in the crazy world who keeps me in check, held me up when things went sideways, and most importantly been an unwavering friend (who, to your everlasting credit, knows the quickest way to get my attention is to bring over a couple of guitars and more than a couple beers).
Dan Goldman...who in those early days of the blog was not only the best boss I could've asked for, but served as a buffer between my loud mouth and the big men upstairs. If not for you, I would've lasted about six months in this business. Also for being smart enough to tell me whatever stupid name I had for this blog before its inception was, in fact, stupid and that we should call it the PokerStars Blog.
Sharon Goldman, Rich Korbin, Joe Versaci, and Scott Yeates...who all played vital roles in making this site was it was in its first years, embroidered a PokerStars logo on a Superman t-shirt for me, sent me to Shaq's birthday party and Mark Cuban's practice court, and supported the blog's efforts until such point that it was legit.
Nolan Dalla...a man who taught me how to do a lot of things better (write, eat, drink, talk, and live), and continues to remain one of both my and the PokerStars Blog's greatest supporters.
John Caldwell...one-time Team Pro Manager, constant confidante, and everlasting mentor, a man who has always driven me to be better and helped make it happen.
Eric Hollreiser...the first one at PokerStars to recognize and appreciate the need to use the PokerStars Blog for corporate outreach, and a man who has shown immense trust in our team.
Conrad Brunner, Tamar Yaniv, Michael Holmberg, Marta Norton, Courtney Yamron, Mad Harper, Megan Hockley, and Hilda Bramley...who all put their trust in me and the PokerStars Blog in its early days, put up with sometimes ridiculous problems, and remained patient through it all.
Joan Hadley...a woman who has provided support in so many ways we can't count, from emergency Pad Thai to 6am rides home.
Colin Fagras, Andrew Garvin, Nick McDonald, and Ruse Lowe...who have spent the better part of ten years listening to me scream, "Something isn't working, and I'm too stupid to figure out why it's not working!" and then fixing the problem with the push of a couple of buttons.
Chris Straghalis, Bryan Slick, Mike Jones, Henry Estes, Steve Clarricoats, Steve Wood, Scott Byron, John Anslow, Raz Razin, Baard Dahl, Steve Day, Chris Jonat, Jon Weedon, and Bob Dix...all people who have helped me behind the scenes in ways you would never know, and all people who are happy to let others take the spotlight while they work hard.
Victoria Coxon, Mark Stuart, Scott Collins, and, Michael Josem...for being our outlet to the rest of the media world. (Tori, I'm sorry I once thought you were a swinger.)
Ed Ramshaw...the first man in the blog history to have a section named after him and one of the best road companions ever. I still miss The Ed Report.
Galina Kaplunovich, Symeon Cosburn, Laura Dixon, and everyone on their team...for their incredible design abilities and willingness to put up with sometimes unreasonable demands.
John Duthie, Mike Ward, James White, Danny McDonagh, Jeffrey Haas, David Carrion, Neil Johnson, Edgar Stuchly, Kirsty Thompson, John DiTecco, Maria Paula Montero, Yuen Man, and David Curtis...who have welcomed the PokerStars Blog as part of their tours and projects and made us part of their family.
Seth Palansky...who despite sometimes contentious relationships between our bosses has continued to welcome the PokerStars Blog at the WSOP.
Garry Gates and Luke Lichtenstein...two of the greatest fixers and greatest people I've met in the past ten years.
Thomas Koo and Melina Villegas...our constant companions, friends, and defenders.
Emma Barnett...our version of The Shawshank Redemption's Red who never lets us go without what we need, never lets us go hungry or thirsty, and hasn't complained one time. Not even once.
Francine Watson, Louise Peymani, Justyna Baran, Lee Clayton, Hass Peymani, Jon Zincke, Carrie Hubbard, James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton, and the rest of the TV team... for their efforts to make our televised streams so good and making sure the PokerStars Blog remains a constant partner.
Sarah Herring, Kara Scott, Kristy Arnett, Lynn Gilmartin, Laura Cornelius, Remko Rinkema, Adam Brown, Tennille Olsen, and Will Thomas...for making us look better than we are on TV.
Rick Dacey...for serving as my right-hand-man and EPT coverage chief for several years before jumping up to the corporate office.
Jo Bartley...for heading up our PokerStars Women effort (and for not killing me when I send her husband back on the road).
Keir Mackay, Ben Pedroche, and Adam Hampton...for their efforts both behind the scenes and on the road with us.
No list of thanks would be complete without recognition of Simon Young. I saved him for last because he deserves a spot of his own. Young, a one-time UK journalist, took one of the odder paths to becoming one of the best things that's ever happened to the PokerStars Blog. In the beginning, I interviewed him as a player, one sponsored in his role as a journalist by PokerStars. Years later, he worked alongside me at various events and proved himself not only to be an amazing poker writer but also a man with a constitution you can't even fathom (remind me to tell you about the night I left him at a Pai Gow table in the early morning hours and what happened in the 30 or so hours that followed). It wasn't too long after that night that Young became PokerStars' first Head of Blogging. Today, he manages just about anything at PokerStars that has a web presence and words involved. He has had a hand in every good thing you have seen happen to this site over the past seven or so years, and if not for him, the PokerStars Blog would not be what it is today. All of us who have ever worked for the PokerStars Blog owe him a debt of gratitude we can't fully repay. Thanks for keeping us alive and making us better, Simon.
On a personal level, I owe a decade of thanks to the writers and photographers who have put countless hours around the world to make our reports what they are. You have all worked yourselves to the point of exhaustion. I'd list every one of your names here, but by this point, your names have appeared on the site countless times.
Regardless, though you have a small byline here, you don't ask glory and recognition. No matter whether you are one of our online writers who works without pants or one of the people who have spent weeks in foreign countries, I want you to know how much I value to the time and effort you have put in to making this site great. I have never doubted your friendship or dedication to what we do.
Finally, thank you to my wife, Michelle. If you've ever seen bad grammar, a misplaced bit of punctuation, or a typo of any sort, it's because I didn't let Michelle read it first. She's put up with ten years of me traveling the world, and she has worked behind the scenes as a vital part of making this site what it is.
Again, thanks to everyone who has read and shared the PokerStars Blog over the past ten years. Now, let's see what the next decade has in store.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging