5 Realities of Being a Live Poker Reporter
It’s that time of year again. PokerNews is looking to hire live reporters for its 2021 World Series of Poker coverage. If you’re in Las Vegas and have a background in writing and poker, then this could be an awesome short-term gig for you.
Being a poker reporter can be a fun and exciting gig. I should know as I have worked as a live reporter and blogger in the past. However, the gig is a real job, not just a fun poker vacation. Today, we give you 5 realities of being a live poker reporter.
The Hours Can Be Long
Working as a live poker reporter is not a typical 9-5 job. If anything, it can be a 12 -12 or even a 12 pm – 6 am job. While some poker venues have limits on how late they let their events go, others do not. I have worked events that were done by 9 pm and others where I started at Noon and finished at 8 am the next morning.
Also, don’t expect much time off. If you’re working a long poker tournament series like the World Series of Poker, you might get one day off a week. Other events you may not get a day off for the entire series. For example, a series that runs for two weeks may require that you work every single day of the event.
Your Work Will Be Scrutinized
If you can’t take criticism, then being a live tournament reporter is not for you. Everything you do will be scrutinized by someone at some point. Every little mistake you make will usually be pointed out, even if it is insignificant.
— PokerNews (@PokerNews) April 14, 2021
The larger the tournament series, the more eyeballs on the event. Also, don’t be surprised to have poker players call you out for how your report their hands. Imagine poker reporting being part journalism and part retail. Great customer service skills will be necessary.
You May Not Be Able to Play Poker Where Your Work
If you’re one of those “work during the day, play poker at night” type of people, you may be in for a surprise. Some venues will not allow you to play poker at the same casino you’re working. This is dependent on gaming regulations in your area.
Note that this doesn’t disqualify you from playing at any casino in the area – just the one you’re reporting at. Other venues may allow you to play on your days off. Check with your supervisor before you play to make sure you don’t risk your gig for a little $1-$2 NL.
You Need to Be Knowledgeable
Back in the day, all you needed to be a poker reporter was a decent knowledge of NL Hold’em and its players. That’s no longer the case. Now, you must have a decent working knowledge of most games of poker. At least for events with more than one form of poker. If your series is just NL events, you can still get by with just NL knowledge.
Least envious job in the poker industry is live reporter at poker tournaments. Tough old job, none of them get the credit they deserve.
2nd toughest job has to be – person at poker awards who has to explain to everyone why X person didn't even get a nomination for Y award.
— Barry Carter (@Barry_Carter) March 18, 2019
However, knowing the ins and outs of how to play mixed games is just the start. You need to have a good working knowledge of the major poker players in the game. You also should have a good grasp on the up-and-coming players. Also, you should be a quick learner and be able to pick up on trends and spot players who are standing out. Who knows when you will have to cover them in-depth.
A Great Stepping Stone in Poker Media or Writing
If you are thinking about embarking on a career in the poker media or poker writing in general, being a poker reporter can be a great first step. The gig will allow you to network with others in the poker industry, gain some experience writing about the game, and give you a chance to prove yourself.
Many of the top writers at many poker sites have served as a poker reporter at some point in their careers. While the job can be hard work, it can be the first step to a long career in the industry.