Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Freestyle 5/3/11 - Poker "Pro" League, Twitter

There's a report in USA Today about a budding new poker league whose plan is to showcase the game's professional players. The spearheads - a former World Series of Poker commissioner, and star player Annie Duke - talk about qualifying criteria involving tournament wins and cash earnings. More interesting than pocketbook poker is the requirement that you "cashed" at least nine times since 2008. This puts emphasis on power players with skill - as much as that term can be used in gambling, I suppose.

As a one-time casual fan of the game, I'm intrigued. Like many people, I got poker fever by tuning in to the World Series that Chris Moneymaker eventually won. Watching subsequent Series meant seeing more and more people trying to rise from obscurity like Chris did. That meant more poker websites gaining popularity. Said sites gave away berths to the Main Event in their tournaments. The poker explosion meant a bigger field of players. That meant higher odds against seeing your favorite through, and less chance for those gaining fame in the game to be at the final table. As somebody who got into poker that year because of the bold characters and their exciting play, I wasn't inspired to stay tuned if everybody I saw was an unproven entity.

GSN's "High Stakes Poker" is still chugging along, with much of the same appeal this new league wants to have. Well-known poker players with money to burn play a cash game on TV. But is this league's effort too little too late? Poker's been in decline with the masses for some time. The shutdown and investigation into three major online poker houses was a major blow. ESPN quickly downgraded coverage for the next World Series, and namely, poker in general. I imagine there's a good number of players online whose love of the game doesn't extend into finding new, trustworthy places to play. The new league will need a high-profile spot on television to gain traction outside the poker community, and maybe win back casual fans like myself. Perhaps more dubious at this point is the league's 200-plus list of qualifiers. The list represents who can play, but not who will be playing.

I recently got re-energized with Twitter. No longer just a medium for me to plug new posts here - feh! Sure, I want you to follow my pithy tweets. But allow me to suggest some real quality feeds to help make your day funnier.

If you don't already follow Fake AP Stylebook, shame on you. As a former journalism student, I got the joke instinctively. But it's not necessary knowledge. Basically, the real AP Stylebook is used by journalists to help standardize abbreviations and capitalization on political titles, when to use words like eager instead of anxious...the list goes on. The Fake AP Stylebook creates would-be entries on recent news trends. It's a scream.

It seems everybody knows to follow Steve Martin and Conan O'Brien. But do you read Kevin Nealon? His output is right up there, if not better. And if you respect and enjoy him on TV like I do, you'll enjoy the tweets of one Tom Bergeron. He's even funnier there than I could have guessed from his hosting gigs - and he's funny with a capital F doing those.

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