This is PokerListings: Your All In Poker Guide
Back in 2003, the poker world was a very different place.
Back in 2003, the poker world was a very different place.
Very different. Poker rooms were almost exclusively filled with middle-aged men. And smoke. Lots and lots of smoke.
Cigars, moustaches, Hawaiian shirts, giant gold chains … everywhere. Handshake deals for six-figures were the norm. A gambler’s word was his bond.
“Online” poker was - to most poker players even – an unknown entity.
Needless to say, things have changed. Chris Moneymaker’s $39-satellite-turned-$2.5m WSOP Main Event championship had a lot to do with it, obviously.
But there were signs well before then (Rounders came out in 1998) that one of America’s oldest pastimes was about to be a global sensation.
Why? Pretty easy, really. Poker is an enlessly captivating game. Mind-stretching strategy decisions. Equal doses bravado and mathematics. Heart-pounding bets. Agonizing bad beats. Huge, fist-pump-worthy pots. Shoulder-dropping relief.
It’s got it all. And that's the inspiration PokerListings draws on as we continue our quest to become the definitive “All In” guide to poker.
The Early Days of PokerListings.com
The early days of PokerListings.com were also a little bit different from what you see now. As you can see from the archived pics, below it was also a bit uglier.
Outside of becoming a full-time poker player to grab the “easy money” out there the biggest opportunity in poker back in 2003 was the massive influx of players looking to get in the action.
Inspired by Moneymaker, Rounders or one of the myriad local home games popping up all over the country, people were decidedly smitten with poker – and especially Texas Hold’em.
Envisioning a massive web resource stuffed with lists of categorized poker information, PokerListings’ two Swedish founders quickly laid out plans to build a comprehensive online poker hub.
The big idea tying the lists together was simple: Guarantee new players the highest sign-up bonuses at every poker site online.
After knocking out the first few pages of PokerListings in a hotel room in Vegas during the 2004 World Series of Poker the two returned to their home base in Stockholm and set up shop in a small basement office.
The original team of coders and site managers spent their days producing as many new pages as possible. News articles. Book reviews. Poker site reviews. Strategy tools. Toplists of all sorts.
Collarbones Were Broken
If it was poker-related in any way, they put it in a list. At the end of the day it was usually washed down with dozens of Pripps Blå and a 3,000 SEK winner-take-all SNG around the folding tables and laptops.
Motorcycles were ridden down the stairs. Collarbones were broken. A website began to materialize. Fast forward six months or so and the shell of what you see today had been built.
Once word of the growing content got around to other poker webmasters, traffic started to flow and even bigger sign-up bonuses (along with private freerolls) were negotiated for new players who created accounts via PokerListings.com.
Fast forward a decade later and we've literally brought hundreds of thousands of new players to the game of poker and paid out over $7.2 million (and counting) in exclusive bonuses and freerolls.
While that was enough of a business model to bring in players during the early poker boom days, the two entrepreneurs recognized that the future of the PokerListings was bigger than just an affiliate site with lists of poker information.
PokerListings Hits the Tournament Trail -- 2005-2011
A return trip to the World Series of Poker in 2005 cemented their idea of building dynamic, comprehensive poker content but it wasn’t until 2006 that PokerListings joined the live poker reporting scene in earnest.
Based out of a new office in Vancouver, Canada, current Editor-in-Chief Matt Showell and Senior Writer Arthur Crowson led the first six-person team to spend five weeks in Las Vegas reporting live from the Rio.
Hand reports from every event, daily blogs on all the major gossip and exclusive interviews with the top pros in the game made up the core content produced over exhausting 14-16 hour days.
Embarrassing videos involving plenty of liquor, cards, the Gold Coast and Erik Seidel were also made.
Once the WSOP wrapped Showell and former reporter (now successful crime novelist) Owen Laukkanen hit the road full-time to report from the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker Circuit and special events like the Caribbean Poker Classic and the United States Poker Championship.
Trips to the European Poker Tour, Aussie Millions and more soon followed as part of a dedicated schedule covering every major poker event of note from North America to Asia.
Anchoring the schedule every year was comprehensive live reporting from the WSOP in Las Vegas, to which we’ve sent a full team of reporters - including a video crew - every year since.
In 2013 we went one step further and became the official live reporting partner for the first-ever WSOP Asia-Pacific in Melbourne and the WSOP Europe in Paris.
The volume and breadth of our live coverage has varied from year to year but PokerListings.com has, in some way, shape or form, been tableside for most of the significant poker moments of the 2000s and beyond.
PokerListings Spreads Across the Globe
Parallel to our growth in North America and the UK an expanding group of international sites came online and became integral to PokerListings’ global reach.
Drawing on their natural connection to Scandinavia in-language sites for Sweden (PokerListings.se), Norway (PokerListings.no), Finland (PokerListings.fi) and Denmark (PokerListings.dk) were part of the editorial team from the beginning and are still major geographical anchors for the PokerListings brand.
Sites in Germany (PokerZeit.com), France (fr.PokerListings.com), Italy (PokerListings.it) and Spain (PokerListings.es) were added circa 2007-2008, as were sites for Russia (PokerListings.ru) and the Netherlands (PokerListings.nl).
Articles for most of the international sites were originally built from translations of news, blogs and strategy articles from the .com site but were complemented by localized content produced by freelancers in each country.
Full-time editors for most sites were hired soon after and relocated to the home office in Stockholm. The editorial team as it stands today was amalgamated under the direction of current Managing Editor Christopher Hunt.
Over 40 people now make up the full PokerListings Editorial Team with the core team of 20 based out of our head office in Malta. The rest are spread across four continents, giving PokerListings a truly international poker backbone.
Groundbreaking Poker Content, South to Malta
Over the course of PokerListings history we’ve expanded and contracted, built new and original poker tools, changed our design a couple of times (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much) and shifted our content focus slightly.
We’ve introduced some groundbreaking poker features including our online tracking database (called Marketpulse), our Easy Game mini-documentary series, our How Not to Suck at Poker strategy series and our Which Hand Wins Calculator, to name a few.
While we still bring thousands of new players into the game of poker via our site reviews and bonuses, our mission is far broader these days.
On top of the bonuses and freerolls we work to bring the best value-added poker content to players around the world, regardless of skill level.
Our core poker content includes 500+ freely accessible strategy articles, official rules and game-play for every popular poker variation, poker hand rankings and indispensable learning tools for beginners like the Poker Odds Calculator.
We also offer dozens of daily news articles and features from some of the best writers in the industry, hundreds of pro player interviews and regular cutting-edge video content -- from our Poker Power Moves series to simple strategy lessons to pros reflecting on their Greatest Poker Moments.
With over 4,000 new articles posted every year across 10 languages we're always pushing the boundaries of poker content.
The goal’s still the same from day-to-day, though: to help millions of poker players worldwide expand their poker knowledge, take their skills to the next level and find inspiration in poker as its played around the globe.
Battle of Malta, Spirit of Poker Awards Born
A look at the evolution of PokerListings.com wouldn’t be complete without mentioning two of our newest and biggest added-value projects.
In 2012, building off of our experience covering live poker tournaments, we saw an opportunity for a big-atmosphere, small-buy-in event for low- to mid-stakes players in Europe.
Looking to re-create the thrill of playing in a major poker tour event but without the expense we launched our first-ever PokerListings live poker tournament dubbed the Battle of Malta.
Starting out with a €150,000 guarantee, host Kara Scott and a few big-name pros like Dan “Jungleman12” Cates and Gaëlle Baumann at the tables we welcomed over 300 players to the Portomaso Casino for a three-day, €550 buy-in freezeout.
Retired doctor Nicodemo Piccolo from Italy was our first-ever winner and left with the €35,000 first-place prize, but he wasn’t the only one who left with great memories and plans to return.
The fun, friendly and casual atmosphere mixed with the huge value proved the formula worked. The demand was definitely there so BOM II was born.
From Start-Up to Full-Fledged Poker Festival
Upping the guarantee to €200,000, adding more side events and bringing back a ton of pros along with Scott, a mass of poker players descended on Malta in 2013.
The result? The second-ever BOM main event broke the all-time record for largest poker tournament ever held on Malta with 888 entries.
German Louis Cartarius took home the title and €80,000 first-place prize from the massive €430,000 total prize pool.
Starting in 2014 the guarantee is now €500,000, a new host has joined in two-time Last Woman Standing in the Main Event, Maria Ho, and a 1,500+ player turnout is the benchmark.
With a main event prize pool of over €700,000 in 2014 first prize ballooned to over €140,000 – truly impressive for a €550 buy-in event.
Now a full-fledged poker festival and the biggest standalone poker tournament in Europe, BOM is a must-attend event for thousands of poker enthusiasts every year.
Also introduced at the inaugural Battle of Malta was our first-ever PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards, created to recognize poker players who combine great results with a passion for inspiring people to learn and play poker.
Presented in three categories – Rising Star, Most Inspiring Player and Living Legend – the deserving winners are crowned every year at the Battle of Malta.
Your All-In Poker Guide
All of our Spirit of Poker nominees, Battle of Malta players and guests, our staff and readers reflect the core editorial principals we’ve worked toward from the very beginning:
To let the joys of the game of poker speak for themselves and to spread our appreciation and dedication for the game around the world.
The result is the product you see today – the most comprehensive and accessible poker guide online.
Whatever your skill level we want you to open PokerListings.com (or PokerListings.es or PokerListing.fi) everyday and find something you didn’t know, always wanted to figure out or that inspires you to dig deeper into the game of poker.
Any suggestions for what might make your experience at PokerListings.com better, let us know.
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12 March 2018 70