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    A few thoughts about “how this all got started.”

    Posted by Quad Jacks May 15, 2011

    Most of those who have by now, at some point, tuned in to our program were not originally with us since the very beginning of our non-stop radio program. I have been asked a great number of times the simple question, “How did this all get started?” I think it’s actually a pretty interesting story.

    On the morning of April 15, 2011, I got up somewhat early to accompany a friend to work. Later that evening, I was scheduled to interview (via Skype) NoahSD, famed 2+2 regular, about the Cereus network and the poker world in general.

    That was pretty much supposed to be my entire Friday. After dropping my friend off, I was still pretty tired, so I went back home to resume sleeping. It was around 10 or 11 in the morning. I got in bed, decided to look over some tweets, and that’s when I first learned of the ugly news. Everyone was going almost mad over it. It certainly looked pretty damned serious. But I was also seriously tired. Bah, let me worry about it in a few hours, I thought, as I threw the phone aside and shut my eyes. So much for journalistic promptness :-(

    I could have napped for several hours, but only a few went by before I opened my eyes with a mysterious feeling of uneasiness. The kind you wake up to when you elect to sleep rather than put in an all-nighter for tomorrow’s frightful math exam. I remembered the tweets about the DOJ. Clearly this was not going to be something I could sleep off so easily. I still didn’t fully know what was going on, but it seemed pretty secure that this was going to suck. For everyone. I made my way over to Panorama Towers, back when we were still based there.

    It was then that I started doing all the research and understood the seriousness of the situation. Online poker was dead in the U.S. Okay, so it wasn’t online poker in general, but the three biggest rooms were. Still, wasn’t that pretty much the same thing? And who knew what would happen next?

    Poker media/news outlets were doing their best to cover and report on what became increasingly apparent was an industry tragedy, not just for the three arrested rooms, but for so many other individuals who worked in the poker industry and media. DonkDown was quick to assume the airwaves and broadcast a live “emergency” reportage, to which I was fortunate enough to contribute for a while. I spoke to NoahSD (whom I was supposed to be interviewing) and we agreed that now was not really the time to be discussing the Cereus network, but we would catch up later if we could.

    There were two things which affected me the most during that dark and stormy Friday afternoon. First was, of course, my own fear and apprehension of the matter. If online poker was going to die, would QuadJacks have a very difficult time surviving as well? It was too early to tell, but in a climate of such depression and anxiety, things did not look very good. We had all worked very hard on QuadJacks for the whole of the last year. For me, it had somewhat become my whole life. The thought that it could now very possibly die before it ever really had a chance to take off, with all our past work and future plans having been in vain, caused within me a heartbreak which I cannot adequately describe.

    The second thing which hurt me almost as much was a biting disappointment in our inability to really contribute anything to the ongoing issue. This was a story to be covered live, but at that point, QuadJacks had seldom ever done anything live, and we did not find ourselves with the resources required to be able to do any kind of serious reporting. In fact, until that point, the bulk of my work consisted of pre-recorded videos of me interviewing poker players and personalities, usually in the crassly unorthodox style I had become somewhat infamous for. I felt sad and powerless that I could not do more to cover the story in a more respectably journalistic method.

    Oh, what the hell, I remember thinking. We might as well do something about all of this. Sure, we’re not PokerNews. We’re not DonkDown. We’re not Pokerati. But we can still continue to be QuadJacks during all of this. If we are unable to do anything in the way of live news reporting for the afternoon, then we can at least do a podcast later in the night, when hopefully things would be more settled, most of the news would have gotten out there, and we could afford to sit down and both review and reflect upon the facts. In other words, let the “real” reporters burn themselves out by night’s end, when we would very conveniently pick up everything they had left for us and continue to discuss it in a somber, yet thoughtful, post-apocalyptic kind of way.

    I had a couple of friends/panelists lined up to join me. Chief among them was Dan Michalski from Pokerati, who would certainly be substantially in the know about what mattered and what to discuss from the day. The plan was simple. I would Skype this handful of contributors and we would have a round-table discussion about the day’s events for maybe two – hell, possibly even three hours. I would record the conversation and then upload it to the website as a downloadable podcast.

    As the sun set and we got closer and closer to our tentative 10:30pm start time, it was Zac who first came up with an apparently simple yet so meaningful variation. “Can you see if we can make it live?” Believe it or not, I initially almost dismissed this idea. Maybe I just thought it would be too complicated to figure out. Maybe I was just too burned out and lazy to learn how to do it. But as time passed, I began to think that maybe Zac was on to something. After all, it was a living story – why shouldn’t it be live? It also helped that he had done a lot of the research himself, and seemed to have figured out a pretty easy way of how to set it up.

    Oh, what the hell. Let it be live…

    So we set it up.

    I was not much of a Skype virtuoso at the time, but I had just recently started messing around with it for a few interviews. After scrambling for a bit to get Skype and Ustream to agree, it looked like we should have been just about ready to go. It would have probably been better to perform a test call first. Instead of any one of my scheduled panelists, I opted, for whatever reason, to test-call Thomas K., better known as SrslySirius, with whom I had spoken on Skype a few times already over the last couple of days. He answered, and we were officially live for the first time. Me and Thomas.

    I then went on to call the scheduled panelists. And what the hell, why not let Thomas hang out on the panel as well? (You can safely say that he was the first person, after me, to be on the program.) Having tweeted and Facebooked that we would go live like this, we were pleased to see one hundred or so people tuned it to hear us. Dan Michalsky, Tom Schneider, SrslySirius and I started going at it and chatting about the issue.

    About one hour into it, it became clear that there was going to be no shortage of discussion. Even Thomas, whom I had honestly not expected to speak much, regularly voiced sound questions and concerns. And then Zac and I got curious: who else could we get on this panel? Why not try to speak to a player or two? Why not try this guy, and that guy? So we started making some phone calls. And for every one “No thanks, not tonight,” we got two “Sure, I’ll jump on right now.”

    Both the quality of the conversation and the number of really interesting characters we were bringing on filled us with energy. Before we even knew it, something like five hours had gone by – and we still had more people scheduled to appear! So we continued talking, and talking. And talking.

    The sun was now rising.

    Then more news started coming in related to the issue. We addressed them and discussed them as they were developing. So then we thought, why not try to get the newsmaker, or someone related to the news, on the program? So we did. And the conversation continued.

    The sun was now high in the sky. News was continuing to break. More information kept coming out publicly. And we continued to discuss it. Why stop now???

    That’s when people who had perhaps initially started out by dismissing us began paying attention. People began tweeting about us, talking about us. Who were these guys who had been on the air non-stop for almost an entire day, and what were they saying? The gravity of Black Friday was still fresh in everyone’s minds. They wanted to continue to hear of it. They longed for as much information and perspective as they could get. And to their surprise, and even my own, it became pretty well known that we were a pretty reliable source to get it.

    Literally overnight, my two initial concerns about the future of the website and our poor standing as a poker “news” source had been almost completely turned upside down. In a million years, I could have never seen this coming.

    And that, my friends, is how “this all got started.”

    Marco QuadJacks

    There are 3 Comments

    1. Tim (uktimgihateftpsupport)
      - May 15, 2011
        -   Reply

      Nice blog marco an enjoyable morning read and keep up the good work!!

    2. - May 15, 2011
        -   Reply

      Blah blah blah, I’m the Shit, blah!

      Just kidding. Great job, Mr. QJ. Keep up the good work!


    3. fwn727
      - May 16, 2011
        -   Reply

      First, let me again say congratulations! I know I posted this to you Marco, both in Skype chat and the justintv chat, but in 1979, the U.S. encountered a little issue with Iran, which came to be known as the Iranian Hostage Crisis and from that crisis a TV program really sprang to life – that program is still running today and is called Nightline!

      And so too can Quadjacks possibly become a staple of live poker news. You’l often hear people, a good example is Tony G., who not only professes love for poker, but is committed to growing poker. There are many poker podcasts, like there was many news sources in 1979, but as we came to know Nightline, people will come to know Quadjacks if you’re committed.

      I am, among other things, wedded to news and since I committed myself to add poker the past couple of years to my life’s interests, was also in search of news when I stumbled upon Quadjacks from day one. Since that time, I’d say, conservatively, I’ve added at least 50 listeners to the program as I recommended QJ to everyone that I play poker with.

      And for those naysayers out there, like a famous pro I encountered this past weekend, yes, there is a need for live poker radio. If poker is to grow, this is obviously a next step and since QJ is the first, there is tremendous opportunity. Don’t blow it. :-)

      Good luck to you and everyone there, as well as the poker community at large.


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