We published the last Thinking Poker Podcast of 2017 on Christmas Day. It was our fifth full year of podcasting (we started in September 2012) and an exciting and challenging year. For both Nate and me (though moreso for him, following the birth of his first child), it was the busiest of the five years, which means there were a lot more episodes or segments in which only one of us participated. Of course doing the show together is part of the fun for us, so that’s always a bit of a disappointment, but there was also a lot of excitement this year.
Multiple episodes got more than 40,000 streams/downloads, which is simply mind-boggling. We celebrated our 200th episode by revisiting a bunch of friends old and new, welcomed some A-list guests including Phil Galfond and Talal Shakerchi, and were invited to battle a cutting-edge poker AI.
When I think about my very favorite episodes from the year, though, it’s not usually the biggest name guests or most valuable strategic insights that stand out for me. Rather, it’s the moments where I felt the most rapport with our guests. Those are the interviews that feel the least like work, the sort where the time just flies by and you hope the hour will never end (and in fact, these conversations do often end up lasting more than an hour).
My fear is always that some of these episodes get overlooked by sporadic listeners who may not recognize the guest and thus choose to skip the episode for that reason. So, I want to take these last few days of 2017 to count down the episodes from this year that I personally enjoyed the most, in the hopes that it will prompt some folks to go back and listen or re-listen.
Coming in fifth place is an episode from early in the year, our interview with Kyle Loman. Like many of my favorite guests, he was recommended by John the Lawyer (himself one of my favorite guests). Kyle’s is a tale of coming-to-terms. He talks about riding high on the wave of the early poker boom but eventually crashing. We discuss how he made peace with grinding $1/$3 no-limit when he used to travel the world playing $10K tournaments. It’s an inspiring and human story of battling with one’s ego, a battle that ought to resonate with any poker player at any stakes.