The Blogfiles are Back: Guinness & Poker
Intro: With all the shit that's shaking down in the poker world, a little perspective is needed. A voice of reason, if you will. Someone who has been in the game when most of you were still wearing diapers (we have a heavy 3 year-old reader-base) and is still going strong. Yep, time to bring back the Blogfiles again. And what better way to bring it back than with with poker's Blogfather...Iggy. For many, Iggy and Guinness & Poker is to poker blogs what Dr. Dre's the Chronic is to gangsta rap: the blueprint. We were fortunate enough to catch Iggy in between one of his famous uber-posts and a brief spell of semi-sobriety for a perfect pour of answers.
WCP: When did Guinness & Poker come to be...and why.
Iggy: I started it in Sept. of '03. And it was on a lark - a whim. I had been reading assorted poker blogs and whatnot for quite awhile and usually came away with a, "Hell, I should/could do that." And I'm not sure how but I do remember the actual moment I started G&P. It was late at work and I had just read a post by Mr. Decker and just impulsively went to blogger.com and created mine.
At the time, I thought that the blog would help document my little poker hobby and perhaps clarify some thinking about concepts I was wrestling with at the time. Plus, it would give me an excuse to write a little even though I never really thought that anyone would actually read it, much less to help create the scene we have today.
WCP: When was your first "holy shit, people are reading this?" moment?
I dimly remember someone linking me up in a MetaFilter post. That was one of the first links that exposed my blog to the "outside" world. And then, of course, finding out that uber-blogger, Mr. Wil Wheaton, was reading my blog blew me away.
Yeah, I think that must have been it. Wil Wheaton linking me up that first time, seeing massive traffic flowing in and saying, "holy shit."
Trust me - if Wil ever links to you - you'd say 'holy shit' too. He's got a buttload of readers - far beyond us lowly poker bloggers.
WCP: How did starting a humble little poker blog end up affecting your life the past few years?
Iggy: Not much. Just ended up leading me to quit my corporate job for playing poker for two years. No biggie.
Also, my tolerance for alcohol went up exponentially, so that was a plus.
WCP: What's it like in the real world again?
Iggy: Fulfilling. Purposeful. I'm truly energized and inspired right now. Of course, I loved the two years of poker, mostly because of the freedom it afforded me.
But I'm a social creature and I love creative challenges. My current job is a perfect fit for this. Plus, I get to tell Variance to take a hike.
I actually kinda feel like I'm coming out of a two year fog. Considering the amount of booze I swilled over the past 2 years, it's prolly a fairly accurate description.
WCP: Do your co-workers know that they're working with the venerable poker blogging icon "Iggy?" Do you ever tell them to "Shut the fuck up, BONUS CODE IGGY DAMMIT!" If not, we'll pay you $100 to do it just once.
Iggy: Sadly, being a venerable poker blogging icon carries no weight in the real world. It's probably a negative, truth be told, even if you're the Blogfather. Try telling someone in the workplace that you're the Blogfather with a straight face. It's -EV.
But I do occasionally show off my Bonus Code IGGY tattoo to select co-workers.
WCP: What were you doing when you found out Frist was pushing the UIGEA through on the Port Security Bill? What was your first gut reaction?
Iggy (pictured at left): I had spent that entire Friday at the boat, playing poker and laughing about the idiocy of our government with a knowledgeable guy on my left. I came home late that night to discover my worst fears coming true. My initial gut reaction was to get on the phone and talk to an expert in legislative language, which I did.
And then I wept like a little girl.
Not really. I just got ripped to the tits. The weeping didn't start till the following morning.
WCP: As more details come out, we've learned everyone from the NFL to Christian conservatives had some sway in getting the UIGEA pushed through. But at the end of the day, while the PPA can sign up all the members they want, the real money to influence should've come from the online sites. Why do you think they were so asleep at the wheel on this? And ultimately, how do you think this whole mess will shake-out?
Iggy: I can't help but think the term 'poker lobbying group' is an oxymoron.
Considering that successful online poker sites are basically minting money, it's a shame that none of them had the foresight to see this coming. Hell, even I saw it coming and I'm just some random drunk behind a keyboard. It's funny, cause I had a lot of negative feedback on my blog for the last month before this bill passed because I pretty much just focused on this one issue. I was called alarmist and chicken little and worse.
I didn't give a fuck about the negative feedback because, if anything, I was only trying to raise awareness (and to a lesser degree, document the insanity), not trying to frighten people. But I think at the end of the day there was far too much self-satisfied smugness from us all - the sites, the players, the forums and poker news outlets.
Who knows how it will work out. Best case is a poker carve out (fat chance) - worst case is more and more funding options get squeezed out until more and more players finally say eff it and the games fade through attrition.
It's likely something in-between. The US being pressured to legalize, regulate and tax the hell out of the damn thing after some serious consolidation in the industry.
Which stinks for us, the players. Choice is good. Competition is good.
WCP: The Falcons just beat the Bengals at home.
Iggy: After 15 years of ineptness, we Bungals fans still expect to lose every week.
That being said: In Marvin We Trust.
In a year or two, we should have a fine team with all the pieces of the puzzle filled.
I wouldn't bet money on it, though.
WCP: What's your favorite rumor that's been propagated about your identity?
Someone recently told me that after reading my blog for a long time, they fully expected me to look and sound like Gilbert Gottfried, which I found deeply satisfying.
WCP: Aren't you about to turn 40? Has that made you reevaluate anything in your life? Look back and say, "Holy shit..."
Iggy: Sad to say, but yes. 40 is a biggie, especially when your emotional age is around 14.
My mom always said that at the age of 40 you trade in your psychological problems for physical ones. On one level, I hope she's right, but frankly, health issues are starting to loom. I've been a heavy smoker and drinker for over 20 years now. Something has to give.
I'll be happy if I make the age of 65. Which means nearly 2/3 of my life is over.
Thankfully, it's been one helluva run. Zero regrets.
WCP: The final q...dream six person table...
Iggy: I'm sorry, cause I'm a fan, but geezus, I really hate questions like this.
The only thing dumber than the question would be my answer. Mostly cause I'm not drunk enough right now to come up with a witty table.
But honestly, I've been playing poker a long damn time but I've never had more fun than playing with bloggers.
I hope that will suffice.
WCP: That'll do just fine.
Check back soon for a Blogfile from Dan at Pokerati.