Out of the 47 series which have taken place since the first small gathering at the old Binion’s Horseshoe back in 1970, I’ve attended about half of them — at least in some capacity as either a player, writer, or executive. My first WSOP was in 1985.
For the past 15 years, I’ve worked under the official title of “Media Director,” which has in recent years become something of a nom de plume. Let’s face it. The media can’t be directed. The last thing I have is any control over the media. It’s like herding cats.
I think most of us would agree this is a transitional time for poker, as well as for the WSOP. Then again, the game is always in a state of transition. Everything’s changing constantly. No two years, nor two series, nor two tournaments are ever comparable.
Joe Giron might be the hardest-working man in poker that few people ever see. That’s because he’s always “behind the camera” — literally.
He’s been covering poker’s biggest events for more than a decade, spending night and day staking out the tables to find the perfect shot to capture that glorious moment of ecstasy or the agony of crushing disappointment. Getting that perfect image within the frame of the lens might take minutes or hours to set up. Like a hunter seeking its prey. Giron waits. He waits as long as it takes. Then, he pounces and snaps an image for posterity at just the right instant.
I’ve decided to pass on attending this year’s American Poker Awards, to be held in Los Angeles this weekend.
There are a number of reasons for this, which I won’t get into at the moment. I do want to express my support for the idea of handing out awards to those who have improved the game and for recognizing players and insiders who have made significant contributions over a certain period of time.
Are awards like this frivolous? Perhaps they are. But since just about every other business, sport, and art form honors its super achievers and icons, then so too should we. Even science, mathematics, economics, and literature indulge in their very own annual awards ceremonies. Poker, which is played by about 100 million people worldwide, rightly deserves a special night of spectacle, and the APA’s creators and organizers — Alex Dreyfus in particular — deserves our appreciation for making this happen.
With Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming at G2E 2015
Preface: This past week, I attended the 2015 Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. This was my eighth time to attend what is the world’s largest annual casino and gambling conference. I’ve had the honor of speaking and appearing on two panel discussions in past years. However, this time I attended solely as a media representative with the intent to report on much of what I learned, and speculate on the direction this sector is headed. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and do not reflect any of my past or present employers or associates.
[Gaming vs. Gambling: I do not use the terms gaming and gambling interchangeably. Gaming refers to interactive games not involving wagering. Gambling refers to games of chance which including wagering. Hence, when “gaming” is used herein any of my writings, it’s not a euphemism for “gambling.”]