"If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
Back in my rookie days at the Amazon Room during the 2008 World Series of Poker, I managed to piss off a few poker players. Grumpy lot that they are, this is hardly surprising. At the time Pauly told me that a tournament reporter hasn't really earned his chops until he's pissed someone off.
After the WSOP ended things were relatively quiet throughout the APPT and LAPT stops. But at the 2009 Aussie Millions I (apparently) struck again. The who and what of it is largely irrelevant. The key fact is that the aggrieved party never complained to me or anyone from PokerNews directly. This player waited until after the Aussie Millions was over and the tournament in question had been concluded for a week and a half before sending out a blast to a mailing list the person writes to/for. A copy of the diatribe -- complete with gross distortions and outright errors -- was forwarded to me while I was in Manila.
Even before Pauly told me not to sweat POed players, I wasn't the type to let player hostilities bother me. Water off a duck's ass and all that. My experiences at the WSOP taught me that the vast majority of poker players are miserable, crabby bitches who will whine your ear off about the slightest of slights. One player being pissed off about something I wrote or said at the Aussie Millions is not something to worry too much about as long as I didn't completely screw it up. Which I didn't - I double-checked after reading the screed to see if the player had a case. And even if I *did* screw something up... well, mistakes happen despite the best of intentions. (And the truth is I got more email praise for my coverage of the Aussie Millions than any tournament series I've ever covered.)
What I find perplexing is why this player never spoke directly to me or anyone from PokerNews about the perceived offense. It's not like it was difficult to figure out where we'd be every day. The PokerNews staff were at the same media table at one end of the Crown Poker Room for the whole two weeks of the Aussie Millions. Speaking to one of us directly might actually have accomplished something on this player's behalf; sending out an angry rant that was filled with errors, put words in my mouth, and went to pains to identify me without actually naming me accomplishes nothing.
They say that in channeling, a spirit entity invades the channeler and uses that person to communicate. And believe you me there's lots of that going on in the tournament reporting industry. Tournament reporters are in some ways just elaborate mouthpieces for online poker sites. When a cash game player in Macau asked me if it was true that the live-bloggers went around with a crew of fluffers, I responded, "Are you kidding? We *are* the fluffer crew."
But the individual tournament reporters do retain some discretion regarding which stories and which hands they choose to report. So I suppose what this player's email rant has accomplished is to ensure that I will never take this player seriously and that I will not go out of my way to provide him/her with any press in the future. Some players play just for the thrill of it but many of the established players on the tournament circuit want the press also. It feeds their egos and helps bolster a case for sponsorship if they can string together some results.
You can't please all of the people all of the time, Abe Lincoln is purported to have once said. In the tournament reporting business I'd wager you can't even please all of the people some of the time.
But that's not my job.