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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Anthony Martino – PokerNations

    Name:  Anthony-Martino-PokerNations-Banner.jpg
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    Age: 33
    Hometown: Gardner, Mass.
    Currently residing in: Conn., USA
    Favorite food: Chicken
    One book everyone must read: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, by Bruce Campbell
    Site: www.PokerNations.com

    How did you first "discover" the online gambling industry? Did you operate affiliate sites prior to launching PokerNations?

    I grew up playing various forms of poker in my teens (having an Italian father helped in that regard) and shortly after Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker I found a number of online forums dedicated to poker. At one of them I was introduced to online gaming and rakeback deals.

    I was involved with a small rakeback site prior to starting PokerNations, but now my focus is on the social network.

    What surprised you most as you began to learn about the industry?

    The number of good people in it. The gaming industry often has a negative image, and while there are bad seeds in this and other industries, there are a ton of wonderful people involved in the gaming sector.

    You’ve said that when you launched PokerNations in September 2009 you saw over 4,000 unique visitors right away, and by December that number increased to over 7,000, with around a million page views per month. How are your numbers today, as you mark PN’s first anniversary?

    We continue to grow our network. We now have thousands of members from over 140 different countries. Given the global audience the sky is really the limit here. There are millions of poker fans out there and we want to reach them all.

    You’ve described PokerNations as “a MySpace for poker players.” What differentiates PokerNations from other poker social networking sites?

    It’s like a Facebook/MySpace for the poker fan, yes. A lot of other efforts in this field have had the site itself set up with a bias for or against specific products, brands or services, which is something we avoid, welcoming all brands onto our network.

    In addition, we have a built-in system that rewards our members with “poker chips” for their actions on the network. If they add a friend, vote in a poll, write a blog, upload photos and more, they earn these. They can then use their poker chips to enter giveaways for a variety of prizes (some we put up and some from third-party sponsors).

    On top of this, we also utilize Official Profiles. When you go to other social networks you may find a pro player’s profile or one for a company, but how do you know it’s not an impostor or affiliate? With our network, we confirm the authenticity of such accounts, which ensures our members that the profile they’re interacting with represents the real individual or company it claims to.

    PokerNations is an “industry neutral” site. That being the case, how do you generate revenue?

    We sell advertising space and we’re also looking into some other methods of site monetization for the future. But our main goal is always traffic and content; if you have those then the revenue will follow.

    Describe your evolution from being a casual poker player to making the leap to professional status.

    I really got into Omaha Hi/Lo when Empire Poker was still a skin of PartyPoker (and where I had rakeback). As I grew as a player and was making money, I picked up the PokerTracker software and began to keep track of my results. In December of 2005 I considered myself semi-pro, as I was supplementing my income with poker.

    By September of 2006 I was making more playing than I was going into work (i.e., I was losing money punching the clock) so I made the switch to full-time. Of course, two months later the UIGEA hit and PartyPoker (my bread and butter at the time) was yanked out from under U.S. players, and I had to transition to play at other sites.

    As a professional poker player, which do you prefer – online or land-based action? And how have you been doing lately?

    I love the convenience of online gaming, as the nearest casino to me is an hour away. But if I had to pick one I just love playing live. The games are softer and I’m an extroverted person, so I enjoy interacting with people (and picking up their tells). I also enjoy playing with real chips, doing chip tricks, etc.

    While I don’t get to play as much as I used to, the last live tournament I played in I just missed the final table (at Foxwoods), finishing in 11th place when a guy min-raised the button with king-jack offsuit and I shoved from the big bling with ace-10. He told me he had a “good hand” before he made a bad call (does he think I’m coming over the top of him with king-10?) for his tournament life. So I got the money in as a 60 percent favorite, but you know how that goes — flop of KTK pretty much crippled me and I busted shortly thereafter.

    Which poker games do you tend to play? Are you strictly a Hold'em guy, or do you play other games?

    I prefer playing cash games over tournaments, and mixed games at that. Most people are only good at one or two games, so if you sit at a table with four or five games in rotation and you know them all, you have a greater edge against your competition.

    My favorite games to play are Hi/Lo Split (Stud and Omaha) because so many people are just awful at these games. They tend to overvalue their high hands that are super vulnerable (e.g., they have two pair but no low and I already have a low, thus I have 50 percent of the pot locked and I’m freerolling them for the other half since I can outdraw their high hand by making a better two pair, three of a kind, a straight, flush, etc.).I also enjoy games like 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, Badugi, Razz (yes, I’m that sick I actually enjoy playing Razz) and others.

    For other people playing poker out there on a regular basis, what are your key bankroll management tips?

    Most people will not be playing for a living, but if you aspire to this then you have to be cognizant of good bankroll management. This includes keeping track of your results and being realistic about your profitability.

    Don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose; don’t play when you’re drunk, tired or stuck; stay in games when you’re winning and don’t be ashamed to quit down for a session. Even the best can go a day, week or month and post a loss.

    Also, don’t approach poker with the thought process that you want to earn X amount of dollars each session. Poker is a long-term game, so focus on putting in the hours and practice good table selection and the end results will take care of themselves. On any one day you can beat players that are better than you and lose to the mouth-breathers.

    What lessons do you take from the poker table and apply to real life?


    Life is not “fair.” You are not “due” or “owed” anything. Deal with it and suck it up. Some days you’re the fist and some days you’re the face.

    How much time do you devote to your site on a daily and weekly basis?

    I’m on PokerNations seven days a week. I love interacting with the members of the community and watching them grow as players. We recently had a few members final table and even win some events online for really nice scores. It’s always great to see your friends succeed on the felt, and I like to think that perhaps our site helped them along their path to success.

    How did you get former World Series of Poker Main Event champ Tom McEvoy blogging for your site? And how often does he do it? Who else do you have blogging for you that we might recognize? Who would your "dream blogger" be?

    I attended the WSOP Poker Palooza a few years back and started making connections with players in the industry. We have a variety of pros on our network, in no particular order: Tom McEvoy, Chris “Fox” Wallace, Kenna James, Susie Isaacs, Todd Brunson, Perry Friedman, Eric “Rizen” Lynch, Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh, Beth Shak, Young Phan, Ed Miller, David “The Maven” Chicotsky, Jonathan Little, Tommy Angelo and more!

    My dream blogger would be Barry Greenstein. He’s not only an amazing player, he’s a wonderful person as well. He carries himself with class and his philanthropy efforts are inspiring; the guy has personally donated millions to charity!

    What's been the most difficult aspect of operating PokerNations? What's been the easiest aspect of running it?

    The most difficult aspect is stepping away from the site. It can be difficult to disconnect when the project is your passion, but it’s important to do so to avoid burnout. The easiest aspect of running it is the people. We have a wonderful community of friendly players from all walks of life, from a variety of cultures and of differing skill levels.

    One of the trickiest aspects to running a forum is moderation. What's your “moderation philosophy”? How many people do you have moderating your forums? And how much time does it take?

    A lot of gaming communities feature personalities that border on sociopathic-narcissism. Some of the highest-level thinkers in the game unfortunately lack basic social skills. And even regular players can have ego issues.

    What we wanted to avoid with our community was the common issues of trolls, where people just insult one another back and forth. It’s so prevalent in many communities today, and it’s really unnecessary.

    Insulting someone when they ask a question related to poker strategy or share a hand doesn’t encourage members to grow. It can scare off newcomers from getting involved at all, and too many sites permit these antisocial trolls to run the show.

    If you are a newcomer to the game and post a question and the first ten responses are all insults, it doesn’t encourage you to return or to grow as a player – it’s a huge turn-off.

    That type of behavior pushes away newcomers to the industry (which impacts our growth and thus the bottom line across the board) and it gives the naysayers more ammunition to paint our industry in a negative light.

    In addition, it also hurts our growth of female membership. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather look at a pretty lady at the table than some guy who hasn’t showered in three days. Ladies don’t take kindly to juvenile behavior and thus don’t get involved in truly representative numbers in other communities because of these trolls.

    So right at the outset we led by example, working to retrain people who may have been used to other communities where that sort of behavior was the norm. Now we have a strong core membership that helps to steer newcomers in the right direction and we have a team of moderators and admins who are available to address issues if they arise.

    How did you discover the GPWA? How has it helped you and why is it important to you?

    When I came up with the idea for PokerNations I realized I was going to need to look outside of conventional player-based communities and began to research industry-focused ones, which is how I came across the GPWA.

    The GPWA has a ton of friendly and regular members, and I've built strong relationships even though I haven't met many of them face-to-face. I love interacting with a community run in that manner.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?

    Research, SEO, Time Management, Ethics and Passion.

    Aside from repealing the UIGEA, what one thing would you change about the online gambling industry, and why?

    I’d ask for Howard Lederer to stop doomswitching me on Full Tilt. Howard, what did I ever do to you?!

    What’s your favorite vacation spot, and why?

    My wife and I really enjoy Bar Harbor, Maine. It’s absolutely beautiful up there.

    What’s your favorite movie, and why?

    This is a tough one, because I was never a “favorites” type of guy. I have a lot of movies I love, like “The Blues Brothers,” “Goodfellas,” “Braveheart,” “Aliens,” etc.

    All right, I’ll pick an off-the-wall one. It’s called “Fear of a Black Hat” and it parodies the early 90s rap scene. It’s stupid humor but I enjoy the hell out of it. The closest movie to it would likely be “CB4,” which came out around the same time and has a similar approach.

    Are you still planning to move from Massachusetts to North Carolina? And where are you from originally?

    I had lived in Massachusetts all my life, so that’s where I was from originally. I recently moved to Connecticut, but we still have plans to make our way to North Carolina – we’re just moving south slowly at the moment.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you would definitely take them to see, and why?

    The Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun casinos so we could play some poker!

    If you could visit any five places in the world, what would they be, and why?

    Australia because I really want to check out the Crown Casino. Anyplace in the Caribbean because it’s the Caribbean! Norway, Denmark and other Scandinavian locales because I’ve always wanted to check them out. Russia so I could sell some Levi jeans at a profit. And Japan because I am searching for Asian triplets (my wife is betting I’ll never locate any, but if I do, I have clearance from the tower, woo-hoo!).

    Completely hypothetical/fantasy question for you: If you reached the final table of the Main Event, and a magic being/genie gave you the choice of accepting a second-place finish (and second-place money) in July, or risking it all to try to play your way through the final table and win it all, what would you do?

    I’d take the 100 percent shot at second-place money, rather than the likelihood of finishing worse for less money. Reaching the final table of the WSOP against a field of 6,000 to 8,000 players is no small feat, and quite difficult to repeat. The payouts are also heavily weighted to those top spots.

    Back when Jerry Yang won the WSOP, if you look at that field of players and those payouts, finishing in 10th place for seventeen years in a row still wouldn’t net you the same return Jerry gets from taking first just once and then busting for the next sixteen years. But it would take a lot more skill to finish 10th for seventeen years in a row; it’s just not rewarded as well. So definitely take the money when you can!

    And last but not least, what are three things that nobody knows about you?

    I’m pretty much an open book with people, but I’m sure some of your readers won’t be familiar with these:

    1. I am only 5’1” in height. I would kill to be a “normal” short (5’4” maybe?).
    2. I am self-taught to build and overclock my own PCs (no, I cannot hack the Pentagon; hardware and software are two very different things).
    3. I only have one dance move, “the running man,” but it’s the only move you need!

  2. #2
    PokerNations's Avatar
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    It was an honor to be featured in the GPWA magazine, thanks for asking me!
    Name: Anthony Martino
    Position: President
    Company: PokerNations LLC
    Site: www.PokerNations.com

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to PokerNations For This Useful Post:

    LiveCasinoPartners (9 December 2010), thepokerkeep (8 December 2010)

  4. #3
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    Great article Anthony. Very candid and funny too. Thanks for sharing.
    And good luck with the triplets.
    Terry - The Pokerkeep
    President / CEO - Gambling Affiliates Union

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    Email: admin @ thepokerkeep.com



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    Lee-Ann is offline Former AM
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    Great interview Anthony - I can tell you from experience the Crown Casino is wicked (was out there in January last year) - you should go sometime!

    Thanks for giving us an insight into affiliate life!

  6. #5
    bonusbeast is offline Private Member
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    Nice interview, congrats on the success of you site thus far!

  7. #6
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is online now Forum Administrator
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    Outstanding interview.

    Thank you for sharing with us Anthony.
    Affiliates - Become involved in GPWA to truly make the association your own:
    Apply for Private Membership | Apply for the GPWA Seal | Partner with a GPWA Sponsor | Volunteer as a Moderator


  8. #7
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    Great interview

    What lessons do you take from the poker table and apply to real life?

    Life is not “fair.” You are not “due” or “owed” anything. Deal with it and suck it up. Some days you’re the fist and some days you’re the face.
    This is so true.
    Amy
    Affiliate Manager
    WagerJunction | Facebook
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #8
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    I enjoyed reading your interview Anthony and btw good luck in finding the triplets-hehe.

    Cass,

    Internet casinos

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    Yea, that was a great interview. You certainly come off as a decent guy. Bruce Campbell cracks me up too. Here's a link to one of his most recent interviews where he shares his experience making my favorite Brice Campbell movie "Army of Darkness" lol.. I still use his famous one liners. "Gimme some sugar, baby."

    Here's his interview: http://www.bruce-campbell.com/newsroom.asp?specific=265

    lol

    Thanks for sharing, great interview.

  11. #10
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    My wifes first introduction to Bruce was in the USA series Burn Notice. So I had to get her to see him back in the Evil Dead days.

    His book "if chins could kill" was a great read, but the followup (make love the bruce campbell way) wasn't as good.

    And thanks to all for the compliments on my interview!
    Name: Anthony Martino
    Position: President
    Company: PokerNations LLC
    Site: www.PokerNations.com

  12. #11
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    Great interview Anthony.

  13. #12
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    This interview is high quality compared to many other interviews here. Learn the lessons.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecobika View Post
    This interview is high quality compared to many other interviews here. Learn the lessons.

    Yes, make sure your interview includes asian triplets!
    Name: Anthony Martino
    Position: President
    Company: PokerNations LLC
    Site: www.PokerNations.com

  15. #14
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    Very down to earth and open set of answers Anthony.

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