Editor’s note: Rick Dacey served as a PokerStars Blog freelance and staff writer for many years before climbing up to a seat in the corporate office. Having now seen the PokerStars Blog’s efforts through the eyes of a freelancer, staff grunt, and corporate suit, Dacey seemed well-suited to consider the foundation of the PokerStars Blog’s ethos. And surprisingly enough, it’s about more than cocktails.
Singling out a single memory or a key case study to celebrate 10 years of PokerStars Blog is a hard task. There have been so many great moments, more so even than there have been multi-hour heads-ups at stupid o'clock in the morning. Those feature less high on the great-ometer.
We’ve watched the crowning of poker prodigies and the beating-the-odds flourishing of the have-a-go hero; we’ve seen moments of madness, flashes of genius and acts of unbelievable theatrical drama; we’ve celebrated and commiserated the rise and fall of players in competitions large and small; we’ve seen world-famous sportsmen agonise over small decisions and players barely out of their teens reload for €100,000 with barely a shrug. We’ve watched them all and reported back to you those moments of triumph and cruel twists of fate as best we can.
To single out a single memory from that would hard enough.
Then there’s all the events behind the scenes and away from the felt: the dinners, the flights, the fights over whose turn it is to do the Jamba Juice run, the waking up on the floor of a canal boat 64 miles away from the tournament floor but getting there in time for the first pitch, the moment Fabrizio Ascari was cuckolded for stealing a hat, the dolphins, the drinks after work and the anticipation of the bubble bursting that would allow them to flow.
Plucking a definitive moment? Good luck with that.
Putting the story first
If you’ve read the Blog from afar you will have hopefully picked up on the dedication and the passion. For some of those contributing it’s born from a love of the game, for others a pursuit of revealing the tale behind the player. But these stories don’t write themselves, they don’t just miraculously appear onscreen: it’s down to feet on the floor and a notepad in the hand.
If anything, the overriding theme of working on PokerStars Blog is the discussions - arguments would probably be more appropriate - about how to best to catch and deliver these stories, how to split the team, how to distribute, plot and plan the coming tournament day. These often happened on the fly, sometimes over a coffee before play, more frequently with something stronger after the day had wrapped, but always with plenty of sardonic comments. They’d usually be more disagreement than before the conversation began. But it’s the journey that counts, right?
Getting interviewed in Berlin by Gloria Balding back in 2011. Balding is now a TV news anchor in Wichita, Kansas
When you’re working closely with people - with elbows touching in some of the smaller press rooms, knees touching in the smallest - for long hours at a time, it’s that badgering camaraderie that’s going to get you through, keep you focused and keep your mind open. Sure, there needs to be a cultural connection that your joint professionalism will cover as many bases as possible, deliver the best coverage as accurately and quickly as possible, while also, hopefully, be at least a little entertaining. Keeping a focus on bringing you, the reader, the best reporting or colour stories can be a challenge after five 12-hour-plus days. But it has been delivered time and again. From more countries than you could count on your fingers and toes, no less. And that’s down to there’s-only-one-way-through-this attitude adopted by all PokerStars Blog contributors. Get the job done.
This isn’t a self-serving back-patting plea to stand and give PokerStars Blog writers a round of applause, most wouldn’t want it and several would blanch at the thought of it. If we were the types that needed adulation or the warming glow of a camera then we would have pursued careers in front of the lens instead. PokerStars Blog writers want to write interesting stories and, in an ideal world, maybe even have people read one of them from time to time.
Playing it straight
We’ve never paid per click. We’ve never requested or commissioned click-bait SEO copy that regurgitates the five biggest names in the game over and over again. Those steering the PokerStars Blog ship, most notably Brad Willis and Simon Young, have fought long and hard to maintain editorial independence and to allow their writers to look out for the interesting stories, to pursue that guy that no-one has ever heard of but might turn out to be a champ of the future, to focus well beyond the stable of sponsored players and embrace the wider playing community. Of course, PokerStars Blog is going to promote PokerStars events - the clue is in the name - but the editors of the site have kept the voice broad, impartial and aimed at players new and old. In a community that can get cliquey that’s no mean feat. Those 10 years of independence should be applauded: it’s helped to keep the bar high across the industry and keep you coming back in your millions to read the stories we’ve been lucky enough to tell.
If you read an article that you enjoy then go ahead and share it with others. Our writers aren’t going to ask you to do it, they’re too busy finding stories and arguing over whose turn it is to get the coffee.
Thanks for reading all these years. If you’d like to play in the April 20th 15:00 ET PokerStars Blog 10th Anniversary freeroll, you can find it by searching “Blog” in the PokerStars lobby and using the password accurate
Rick Dacey is a Corporate Writer for PokerStars. He covered several seasons of the UKIPT and EPT for PokerStars Blog in both freelance and staff capacities.