Magazine Reader

Poker Periodicals: How to Hold 'Em

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Daniel Negreanu won $4 million in poker tournaments in 2004, and Card Player magazine named him Player of the Year. Another poker magazine, All In, said Negreanu "might just be the hottest poker player in the world." Recently, Negreanu consented to share his wisdom in an interview with Bluff, yet another poker mag.

Negreanu, 30, talked about his blog. He touted a line of "poker vitamins." He revealed what he listens to on his iPod during tournaments -- "the sounds of the ocean and birds chirping." And he talked about his newfound devotion to Jesus.

"Has it improved your game?" the interviewer asked.

"100 percent," Negreanu said. "If you look at the timeline of my results, finding my faith and my big wins coincide."

iPod? Blog? Bird calls? Poker vitamins? Jesus?

Gee, high-stakes poker sure has changed since the days when it was played in smoky backrooms by guys called Doc and Slim and Fats -- guys who would no doubt greet chatter about vitamins and Jesus with that ancient poker mantra: Shut up and deal.

These days, poker is big business. In the last decade, the rise of televised poker and online poker has spawned a poker craze. Poker is a spectator sport now, seen on countless TV shows -- "Poker Royale" and "Poker Superstars International" and "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and the "World Poker Tour." If you're a truly hard-core fan, you can buy a handcrafted, custom-made, limited-edition bobblehead doll of your favorite poker champ for $29.99.

And naturally this poker craze has spawned a slew of magazines. In addition to the aforementioned Bluff and All In and Card Player, there's Player, "the gambling lifestyle magazine," and Casino Player, which is probably the only magazine in the world whose masthead lists not only a "Video Poker Editor" but a "Fulfillment Director."

What does the "fulfillment director" of a Vegas-based casino mag do? A perverse mind can conjure up all sorts of wild fantasies. Alas, the truth is more prosaic.

"I fulfill the subscription obligations of the magazine," says Joanne Sommario.

You can learn a lot by reading poker magazines. Reading Casino Player, I learned that a man named Frank Marino has made his living as a Joan Rivers impersonator in Vegas since 1985.

Reading All In, I learned that "living legend" Doyle Brunson is immortalized in the Poker Hall of Fame, the Seniors of Poker Hall of Fame, the Casino Legends Hall of Fame and the Poker Tour Walk of Fame.

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