Two Plus Two Pokercast Steps Up

I’ve been a listener of the Two Plus Two Pokercast since their previous incarnation, before they hooked up with Two Plus Two publishing. Most shows range from OK to quite good but the episode from March 10, 2009 flat out rocks. Not only does it have a great and illustrative interview with Huckleberry Seed (one of my favorite players) but they have a long hand analysis of a particular pot from the High Stakes Poker TV show that really opened my eyes. The take-home was that Tom Dwan had Ten-rag in a spot where both other guys in the pot had him beat on a 10-2-2 board on the flop – one had AA and the other had 24. However, by having the ten, Dwan knew that the range of another guy having the pair of tens to complete the full house was reduced with him holding a 2nd ten. That meant that a big balled bluff was that much harder for both the other guys to call, and he ended up taking down the pot with the worst hand.

That’s the sort of thing I never think about but I’d be a much better player if I did. Online games go fast, but I need to make a habit of jamming as much analysis as I can into those dead seconds while I wait for other players to act. Rather than impatiently wait for the action to get to me, I should be thinking ranges every available second and preparing for my range of actions depending on how things go. Can I call a raise here? Do I check behind, or reraise regardless or fold to any action? I am an above average and profitable player. I’d really like to be so much better though. I appreciate when poker podcasts take time away from taking about which players have the nicest Rolexes and cars and actually spend some time on the game itself. I hate all the flashy lifestyle stuff, I’m about the game and nothing but.

Around the Podosphere, Money Edition

I felt like doing one of my roundups of interesting things I have seen or heard lately in my podcast experience. It seems like a fair bit of it overlaps with the recent discussions here of “going pro” in new media, of making money and general issues of new media as an industry. Let’s what we can make of this.

I ran across this interesting video via a link from Twitter. It is Cheryl Colan’s observations about the ads in Epic-Fu. I don’t follow Cheryl and in fact this was the first time I’ve ever heard of her. I think her video and the examples she raises are worth thinking about. She points out that the ads in Epic-Fu make the recommendations segment that is adjacent seem like product placement. In the comments to that post, which I only saw 90 seconds ago preparing this post, Steve and Zadi seem pretty defensive and refer to “accusations of dishonesty.” I thought Cheryl was quite clear that she has no inside knowledge of their motivations and only is referring to her experience as a viewer of their videos. I know that when I have recommendations in episodes for which I had sponsors, I have made statements that “my opinion hasn’t been bought. That’s not to say it couldn’t be, just that it would take a hell of a lot more money than they are paying.” Worth a watch for anyone interested in this conversation.

I’m late to this particular show but Colette Vogels’s Rules for the Revolution podcast has a fantastic episode talking about new media insurance. For those of you who are convinced this is what you want to do (and can’t be talked out of it), it is worth your time to listen to this show. Particularly if you have enough assets that getting them sued out from under will really ruin your life and you are a professional podcaster, spend the half-hour listening to this show. Really, do it.

I forget how I first ran across the Writers Strike Chronicles podcast but I am enjoying it, if “enjoying” can be considered the right term for something I wish didn’t exist at all. The host, Tanja Barnes, as best I can tell is an actress and also an aspiring writer. I believe at least one person she interviewed was someone whose screenwriting course she had taken. [Update: Tanja corrects me in the comments, it was a poetry writing workshop not screenwriting and she has no aspirations as a screenwriter. ] This show does quite a service for the cause of the writers. Having listened to a dozen or so episodes, I feel like I understand their position much better. I’m not sure what Tanja’s motivation for doing the podcast is, but she is demonstrably doing a service to the writer’s community. I doubt that she is looking for a direct payoff, but somewhere in here she is building up a karma surplus. Later on in her career, she might well find herself needing that goodwill and being able to draw on it. There’s a way where you can consider a podcast where someone is receiving value for their work, even if no cash ever changes hands.

I was a fan of the Rounders poker podcast, as someone interested in both poker and podcasts. I listened to it for about a year, and when I first subscribed I went back and got a few older episodes of particular interest to me, like the one with Chris Ferguson. It was a solid podcast that was also on radio in Vancouver. It went through a quick period where it was dropped from the AM sports station and was a podcast original. After a fairly short period, it morphed into the official podcast of Two Plus Two, one of the most well known poker publishers. In fact, I think the show was actually improved by this because now it has things like the “Sklansky minute”, which may not mean anything to you podcast geeks but as a poker geek it about made me pee my pants. I don’t know the terms of this move, but one presumes there is some recompense for Mike and Adam. This might the absolute best way one can monetize a podcast, by doing one so good that you become the official house podcast for a business that then pays you. Assuming, like these guys, that you pretty much do the same show before and after that’s about the best case of such things. I’ve recently tried out the Poker Road podcast and despite the pedigree of the high profile players involved I find it has too much AM sports talk style bullshitting around for my taste while the Two Plus Two cast is pretty much all business while still being fun. I highly recommend it.