PokerNews Op-Ed: Mo Nuwwarah's Farewell to PokerNews
This is a post that could have been written many times. Since I wrote my very first hand for PokerNews in 2013, training under Chad Holloway at a little-remembered WSOP Circuit event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, my life could have gone many different directions.
I've had plenty of jobs floated my way and explored leaving several times, but each time, the opportunity didn't feel like the right one. My old boss Donnie Peters always advised me to look at PokerNews as a stepping stone to something better, but nothing ever quite seemed better enough to be that next stone.
Well, I've finally decided to take the step. After eight years writing for PokerNews, six as a full-time staff member, I've taken a job with Catena Media with a plan to transition to covering the growing U.S. sports betting industry. I'll be working under another old PokerNews boss, Brett Collson.
"Your continued readership of this site made it possible for me to travel the world and write about the game I've loved."
Whether live reporting or producing feature and news content, I always worked to deliver an excellent product to the readers. After all, your continued readership of this site made it possible for me to travel the world and write about the game I've loved since I was a kid trying to win worthless, cheap plastic chips from my cousins and sister in between airings of "Maverick." I never deluded myself into thinking anyone came here for the bylines, but I still took a sense of pride in grinding through marathon live coverage shifts — I think I pulled a couple that were damn near 20 hours — or wrapping up a quality feature I wrestled with until 4 a.m.
I'm wrestling with this one at 2 a.m. for a different reason entirely, as I sit here and think back on all the memories from nearly a decade working in this crazy industry. Many of them great, a few not so much, but all of them formative in my growth both personally and professionally. I come to the end of this run as a better writer and, more importantly, a more mature and worldly person.
In the latest episode of the PokerNews Podcast, I reminisced with Holloway about my best times on the road reporting. Seeing parts of the world I never imagined I'd get to with some amazing people I befriended was undoubtedly the No. 1 highlight of my time here. However, there were also memorable articles, and after poring over each of the nearly 1,700 I wrote, I've picked out of a few that I particularly enjoyed for one reason or another, presented in chronological order.
- Ultimate Railbird: For 10 Years, Paul Gilbert Has Seen It All at the WSOP — Peters prodded me to chase down this story, and I think he got a kick out of it. I interviewed a man named Paul Gilbert who attends every WSOP as a spectator and stood out as a conspicuous presence because of his 6-foot-7 frame. He had a unique perspective on the WSOP.
- My First WSOP: Four-Time Bracelet Winner Artie Cobb Reflects on Early Days of Poker — It wasn't the most well-structured piece I ever did, but interviewing old-school stud legend Artie Cobb was a real treat. He reminisced for about 30 minutes about a bygone era of poker, a first-hand perspective that's going to be harder and harder to find as the years go on.
- Never the Bride: Allen Kessler Reflects on Four WSOP Runner-Up Finishes — Ah, good old Chainsaw. Allen Kessler gets a bad rap in some circles, but he's helped me with a lot of stories over the years, which I appreciate. This time, he was the story as he steered to a fourth WSOP runner-up finish. It was fun but just a tiny bit sad to look back through his tortured history of heads-up appearances, diving back through the archives and weaving what I could dig up with his sometimes painful memories.
- Email Poker: A Decades-Long Tradition Still Crawling at the WRGPT — Just a quirky, unique story about a tiny slice of our idiosyncratic subculture. Had fun with this one.
- Tana Karn's Dream Factory: the RunGood Poker Series — A long one that took forever, but I felt I owed it to the RunGood crew to produce a great piece. These folks, led by Tana Karn, are really doing their best to highlight the fun in poker, and I recommend giving their events a shot if they swing through your neck of the woods.
- Mike Postle Accused of Cheating During Livestreamed Cash Games — I'm just linking to the very first breaking story, but this one spans months and literally dozens of articles. I did the majority of our coverage for the Mike Postle saga, and boy was that an incredible story to follow from start to — maybe? — finish.
- Galfond Challenge: Galfond Completes Comeback, Defeats 'Venividi1993' — Another that actually spanned multiple stories, but there was truly no moment in poker that I can compare to this one. Comparing poker to sports usually makes me roll my eyes, but the nailbiting finish to this really felt like watching the last two minutes of an NBA finals game or the final drive of the Super Bowl. Just riveting stuff.
- Years Later, ChipTic Founder Explains Company's Demise — I'm linking the follow-up piece since it has links to the two main pieces in the first paragraph. My three-parter on the rise and fall of ChipTic, done during the pandemic, was undoubtedly the story I put more work into than any other. I have to be honest, the readership was a bit disappointing here, so maybe this one final plug will nudge more people to give it a read. A fascinating "what if?" moment in poker's past.
There were dozens more memorable moments and stories, but this would stretch to 10,000 words if I went over them all.
I just want to close with a few thanks. Thanks to my colleagues who grinded through interminable and countless live reporting shifts with me. It's actually pretty cool to know we documented a slice of poker history. Thanks to the players and industry folks who gave me interviews that powered so many stories. I know we in the media can be an annoyance at times, and it's much appreciated when we can get five minutes of your time. Thanks to my family for supporting my nomadic life. And thanks to everyone who keeps returning to these pages and made this journey possible. I hope PokerNews can continue to thrive so that some other aspiring writer can experience a bit of what I have over the past eight years.
Who knows, maybe some day I will pull a Chad Holloway and make an Ali-like return to this ring. But for now, this is farewell.
PokerNews wants to thank Mo Nuwwarah for his eight years of service. His contributions to our site, both in content and live reporting, are hard to measure, but indelibly help make us industry leaders. Good luck, Mo!