Remembering The sanghoki Holiday Classic

 

It was December 11th, 2004 when about 30 bloggers gathered in Vegas for a seminal moment in the explosion of sanghoki blogging. None of us really knew what to expect and none of us were disappointed by what we found.

Many of the experiences were hard to describe, yet we spent thousands and thousands of words on dozens of blogs telling our handful of readers what they missed. By the time the next poker blogger event rolled around, our numbers had surged past 70. It wasn’t long before we’d reach a peak above 100.

So why am I thinking about that weekend now?

In 10 days, I’ll be back in Vegas for the first time since the 2006 WSOP. And of those few dozen poker bloggers whom I first met that December weekend, I’ll again get to spend time at the tables with Iggy, Pauly, Bad Blood, FTrain, Poker Prof and maybe even AlCantHang. Add in Otis and GRob, and we’ll have nearly a third of that first group of bloggers back in Vegas together.

It was a long strange road that got us all there in the first place. A quick check of the archives shows these poker blogs started popping up in late 2003.

Pauly launched in August 2003:

Texas Hold’em poker is probably the most difficult, yet the most exhilirating card game out there. I know there are fanatics who share my same disposition and now there’s a site for them to visit. Combined with the knowlegde that there are not too many poker blogs out there… I decided to start my own. 100% Poker speak… 100% of the time!

We opened here in September 2003:

Welcome to Up For Poker! Hopefully soon, there will be more contributors than just myself. This will also help my Up For Anything readers avoid a majority of my gambling rambling.

Iggy popped up a few weeks later:

Well, well, well. Figured I might as well start trying to document some of my experiences with God’s nectar, Guinness, and the online Phenomena of Poker. I’ve been playing poker online for about six years. Drinking seriously for about twenty.

HDouble came next in October 2003 (where have ye gone?):

That’s it for my introduction. Hopefully this journal will help me improve my game, as well as give me a chance to develop some thoughts worth developing. And if it gives some readers a few laughs or nods of recognition along the way, that would be nice too…

Update: BG also chimed in with his first poker post in October 2003:

I’ve been playing Texas Hold ‘Em (no limit, $10 buy-in, winner take all) with the same group for about three months now. Normally, we’re getting together six to ten strong on a weekend night, and playing until 1 or 2 AM. So far, so good. There’s only two of us that can claim three victories during these games. I’m one of them.

Maudie jumped into the game in November 2003:

I hadn’t played much hold-em previously – let alone no-limit – and so I was at sea with the jargon and had no clue as to strategy. Being the curious cat I am, I googled for poker reading material and was lead to my first poker publication purchase (nice alliteration, wouldn’t you say?) Super System by Doyle Brunson.

Hammer-inventor Grubby joined a few days later:

I love playing poker. I love eating.

Hey, why not combine the two?

Mean Gene emerged in December 2003:

I’m going to write more stuff than just hand histories here, honest. I’m thinking maybe some poker fiction. I mean, you just KNOW that a flood of poker movies and books are flooding to market right now. Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon.

AlCantHang finally took the plunge in February 2004:

I’ve been hitting alot of poker blogs recently and they’ve been well written and very enjoyable. Probably not so for this one. Those who know me will tell you, I drink too much and play poker poorly. I mean really bad.

BadBlood hopped on the train in March 2004:

Ah yes, a community that I could understand. Poker.

Well, at this point in time, I’d played for a few years off-line. And about 9 months on-line, many that I’d like to forget…

And finally, PokerProf and Flipchipro in April 2004:

I decided to undertake this blog effort after considerable encouragement and harassment from various family and staff members. I will make every effort to be timely with my entries, offer content that is interesting and related to the Las Vegas poker scene and supplement the journal entries with photos.

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I’m sure there are some I forgot or lost (can anyone figure out BG’s wacky archiving?), but these are the ones who I remember built the foundation. The number of new poker blogs really started to take off in the middle of 2004. By the end of the year, a few dozen of us had this crazy idea that we could get our own private tournament run in a live Vegas poker room, that we could get top pros to play, that we could get online poker rooms to give us free stuff, and that we could get other top pros to meet and talk with us before the tourney.

To this day, I’m not sure how much Guinness and SoCo it took for us to think any of this was possible. And yet, there we were. In the middle of an experience we would likely never experience again. From the insane limo ride to Sam’s Town to doubling up on Max Pescatori to the depravity that Vegas drops on us, I’ll never forget the first time I met the poker blogger community.

And now I can’t wait to get back to Vegas.

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