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Ask the Editor with PokerNews' Donnie Peters (November)

Ask the Editor with PokerNews' Donnie Peters (November) 0001

Here at PokerNews, we wouldn't be anything without our audience. It is you guys who drive us to produce all the content we do on a daily basis, and I'm so thankful to see all the appreciation received that allows for our continued growth. In return, I'd like to give a bit back to our readers and followers by responding to some of the questions and comments that have rolled in. Last month was the return of this series, but it's time for round two so let's rock and roll.

Why didn't the originator of the One Drop Foundation, Guy Laliberté, play in this year's WSOP $111,111 One Drop event? — "inmytaxi," via comment on last article

It was unknown as to exactly why Guy Laliberté didn't play, but PokerNews was told that he had prior commitments scheduled ahead of time. Laliberté was a big part of helping to bring the One Drop Foundation together with the World Series of Poker for the big $1,000,000 event in 2012. With the event in good hands from both organizations and ambassadors such as Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, and Jeff Gross, it's not totally necessary that he's present. We all would've liked to see him there, though, and hopefully next year he'll be back. Foam clown nose and all.

Does PokerNews consider the plethora of cheating and corruption in poker something that impacts the game and its image? If so, why is it you refuse to discuss it (and potential ways of how to deal with it) as consistently as such incidents occur? — "Percival," via comment on last article

I wouldn't exactly say there is a "plethora of cheating" in poker, because I don't believe that there is. Sure, there are various accounts of cheating happening, but scandalous incidents happen in every industry. I also am a firm believer that it is much more important to focus on the positive aspects of the poker industry rather than the negative ones. I'm not advocating sweeping things under the rug, as these incidents do need to be reported, but there is far less cheating in poker than people think simply due selective memory. Same reason why people remember hands they lose more often than hands they win.

I'd rather not see any media outlet constantly talk about the various acts of cheating in poker because that's all people will see. Think about the news on television. It's highly negative material with murder, crime, etc. Yes, that stuff needs to be reported, but it doesn't need to be the majority of the news diet because it scares people. It's not in our best interest of supporting the poker community and promoting this game we love to scare people about poker. You could talk about what could be done to combat cheating for days and days, but that's really only going to keep cheating in the forefront of all conversations involving poker. With organizations like the Global Poker Index and Poker Tournament Directors Association constantly working to do what they can to protect the game and evolve, it's more their area of judgement than that of PokerNews to say what needs to be done.

Does PokerNews consider itself a leading poker media company? If yes, how do you square this view with the answer to the question above? — "Percival," via comment on last article

Yes, PokerNews does consider itself a leading poker media company, but that doesn't make us a poker law enforcement authority. It'd be nearly impossible to report on every claim of cheating in the poker industry. We do our best as a company to investigate as many issues as we can, but remember that sometimes evidence isn't obtainable and people refuse to talk. We're not going to make assumptions, and facts can be scarce without evidence or people on record.

The name "PokerNews" implies that you actually report news in poker. My question is, how can you justify reporting only "fluff," when the poker world has so many storylines that are so very impactful to the game? What (or who) compels you to select PokerNews' daily content? — "Percival," via comment on last article

As with any news or media outlet, information on stories is collected in mass and then evaluated. Upon evaluation, all content gathered receives an importance grading and we proceed from there.

In terms of "fluff" and the Howard Lederer Files you mentioned, I believe the comment from long-time poker media personality and reporter BJ Nemeth is spot on:

"I know that as the first person to interview a key figure in poker's biggest story, you were in a no-win situation. No matter what you did, no matter what you asked, you would be criticized. You did the hard part, and now if anyone gets to do any follow-up interviews (with Lederer or other Full Tilt owners), they will benefit greatly from the work you've done. Reminds me of an old quote: 'Pioneers get the arrows, and settlers get the land.'"

I strongly believe that the breaking Lederer story Matthew Parvis did was ground-breaking for the industry. Yes, I can understand the argument that it may have been much more "fluff" than we all wanted, but I can tell you honestly that there was no way Lederer was going to talk otherwise. Even if PokerNews wasn't the one breaking this information, Lederer would've taken the same route with another outlet. He wanted to tell his side of the story, and he wanted to do so through an outlet as highly regarded and with such extended global reach as PokerNews.

Remember, everything has to start somewhere. After this interview was conducted, more in-depth follow-up pieces were able to come out, but I don't think there is any argument that those pieces wouldn't have been as solid without this first interview done by PokerNews.

We play in a weekly tournament where there is always a side pot that people can get into for the best hand of the night. Whether you win the tournament or not, if you have the best hand of the tournament, you win this side pot, but you are not obligated to get in this side pot. Last night, Player 1 (not in best hand side pot) had quad queens and Player 2 had quad sixes on same hand. Player 1 won the hand, but because he was not in the side pot for best hand of the night, does Player 2 win this side pot, or must he have won the hand to win the side pot? — "dnicolich," via comment on last article

I would say this is the key part of this situation, "best hand of the tournament." If the quad sixes were the best hand of the tournament for those involved in the side pot, then yes, the player with the quad sixes would win.

Do you have a job for a sub-editor, journalist, and communications person who loves poker? — @JaclynDensley, via Twitter

Two things. Actually three. First of all, thanks for asking as this is a common question we get. Second, I'd point you in the direction of the PokerNews Career Page, which is regularly updated with various positions we have available. Third, you may be interested in the PokerNews Presenter Hunt, so check that out.

As always, I'm open to inquiries via email,, or you can email While I can't guarantee a job is available for you or anyone, it never hurts to submit your material for review.

Who are the top three most fun poker players you've covered to go out and drink with? — @timothy_tracy, via Twitter

This is a great question, and it's actually hard to narrow it down to just three. I've been blessed to become fairly good friends with many players and so many of them are a blast to go out with. I'd have to say Ronnie Bardah, Allen Bari, and Jonathan Duhamel, although it pains me to leave out so many others. Bardah and I have been great friends dating back several years to playing at Foxwoods. Bari is a great friend who gives you nothing but the honest truth, which I love. And Duhamel, well Duhamel is crazy, but in a fun-loving, party-until-you-can't-stand-up type of way.

Do you even lift, bro? — @GarryGates, via Twitter

Yes, I like to lift and workout in general. I'm a firm believer that it helps in everyday life — with stress reduction, energy, and just overall quality of life — and can definitely help people in poker. I'm no Jason Koon or Ben Tollerene, but I can definitely bench the bar in most gyms.

What would you give up to win the WSOP Main Event? — @AndyHall80, via Twitter

I'd probably give up some decent things, but I wouldn't cut off a leg or anything. While winning the greatest event of the game I love so much would be absolutely amazing, not winning it isn't going to be the end of the world. In fact, I've never played the WSOP Main Event, but that's more by choice right now and I know I'll play it eventually. Plus, it's impossible to play the event with all the work I have during the summer running the PokerNews team.

How can I get involved in the industry? I am an online marketing professional and poker enthusiast. — @KeyurPatel824, via Twitter

I'd point you to the response I gave @JaclynDensley above.

How in the Full Tilt Poker money process would one be able to prove balance in your account? — @LLMLara, via Twitter

You can go through the necessary process to check your balance and then check your deposit records. There should be several options to retrieve records, whether that be credit card statements, balance transfers, bank account transfers, etc. The more information you can dig up about putting money online, the better.

What has happened to Roland de Wolfe? Triple Crown winner one minute, nowhere to be seen the next. — @SheffPokerInfo, via Twitter

Good question, and a great idea for a Where Are They Now? for PokerNews. We can certainly look into this more, but through asking around, he simply doesn't play that much poker anymore or travel the circuit as he once did. Poker is a serious grind and it can put a lot of strain on people. When you come into the game and win enough money, you can move on to other things. For many players, poker isn't the end game, but rather a means to opening up other avenues with the money you can win. We'll see what we can dig up, though.

Have you guys considering leasing your technology of the MyStack app to other tours ortournaments for use? — @shamrockbuddha, via Twitter

Yes, and we have already done this for the Seminole Hard Rock $10,000,000 Guarantee event in Florida that completed recently. This was one of the big reasons for developing MyStack. If we're able to produce a product that allows for greater tournament reports to be available across the globe, we're happy. The more family, friends, the poker community, and the public are able to follow poker tournaments, the better.

Have you or will you guys consider partnering with the Heartland Poker Tour for better live reporting of their events? — @shamrockbuddha, via Twitter

We have had discussions with them in the past, but a live reporting deal never materialized. Would love to work with the HPT and provide to them what we have to offer.

Why do you think poker is so appealing to such a wide range of people? — Merrill Peterson, via Facebook

Because anyone can play. All you need is a little bit of money (or a lot) to play a fun, competitive game with professionals, celebrities, athletes, friends, family, or just other people with the same interest. It also appeals because you can win money, and people love that. Poker is such a unique, but expansive game with diverse personalities that can be played anywhere, for zero dollars or infinite money, at any time, any place in the world.

You are looking for a new PokerNews presenter, is there a possibility that a guy will be chosen? — Chris Brotherton, via Facebook

Yes, of course. Female or male, all video submissions are accepted.

Where did your hair go? — Rich Ryan, via Facebook

While I know you already know the answer to this, Rich, others may not. While at the Aussie Millions in January, I was invited to dinner with Jason Mercier, Antonio Esfandiari, Gus Hansen, and a few others. A game of Lodden Thinks broke out, and one of the questions posed to Hansen (acting as Lodden) was how much he thought it would cost me to not cut my hair at all for 18 months. At the time, I had a short, buzzed haircut — I actually just cut my hair that morning. After the round, Esfandiari asked me how much it would actually cost. I said around $8,000-$10,000 would be an offer I'd highly consider. Esfandiari and Mercier then whispered to one another, then proposed me a $5,000 freeroll to not cut my hair for 18 months starting that day, with each taking half of the bet. I accepted.

At first, I thought I'd just give it a shot, but then upon returning home and talking to some of my friends not in the poker industry and some family, they all thought I was crazy if I didn't do this. In the end, $5,000 is $5,000, and that's a good amount of money for anyone in the world, so how could I turn this down? Also, I get the chance to punish Esfandiari and Mercier a little bit, which is some added pleasure. I'm currently seven and a half months in, and the end date is Aug. 4, 2014.

Why don't you allow a story about the 90 percent of tournament players that don't make the money? Their story has never been told. All we see you push is the 10 percent of players that do make the money. Tournament poker has two sides. — @delatorture, via Instagram

Yes, tournament poker does have two sides, but the nature of all competitions is to focus on the winners. The accomplishments achieved by the winners in poker tournaments is the important thing to focus on here. While the focus is weighted to those that win in poker, we still report plenty of bust out hands and eliminations from events, so there is reporting done on those who don't finish in the money. As an example outside of poker, look at any sports league or golf. Teams that reach the playoffs or win championships, and golfers that win the titles are the focus here, which is directly similar to poker.

Has there been any word on other states besides Nevada opening up the door with online poker? — @kauaikealoha808, via Instagram

Yes, there definitely has. Delaware and New Jersey have both legalized online poker. Information about Delaware doing so can be found here, and information on New Jersey can be found here. If you click the magnifying glass icon in the upper right on PokerNews and search for either state's name, you'll find plenty of articles and information on both.

California is a state that has had plenty of chatter about online poker becoming legal, but nothing has been moved on yet, along with a few other states. Washington, DC passed Internet gambling legislation in 2010, but it was repealed last year. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews as any information involving the legalization of online poker will be posted.

Once again, going through these was extremely fun for me, and I love engaging with all of you. We'll be back with another piece in a month's time, but if you can't wait until then, feel free to fire off any questions or comments you have in the comments section below. I'll be happy to respond.

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