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    Default Affiliate Interview Series -- Kathy Khamjani -- shaz

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    It takes a real tiger to keep Wildcats purring.


    Hometown: All over California: born in Long Beach – raised in Soin a tiny logging town called Susanville for many years
    Currently residing in: Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
    Favorite food: Chimichangas
    One book everyone must read: Poker for Dummies
    Site: Wildcats Poker (wildcatspoker.net)


    Let’s take care of first things first: how did you choose your screen name and your site name – what’s the story there?
    That's a long and crazy story. It started way back years ago when I was looking for a name to use on the Prima network. I tried Shazam, looking for a magic name that would surely win me millions! Well, that was taken, so I moved on to Shazamm… also taken. So, then on to the female version, Shazamma.... taken, of course. So I just kept on adding letters one by one until I found something that already wasn't in use. Over the years, the name has become shortened to Shaz, as even I can't pronounce Shazammama. I later found out that Shaz was a nickname for Sharon, so my apologies to the “real” Shaz out there.

    As far as the site name, “Wildcats Poker” … I graduated from the University of Arizona. Anyone familiar with their basketball team knows the Wildcats. Need I say more? A lot of people ask me about Lute Olson, the former coach for the Wildcats. I don't personally know the man, but know he did a terrific coaching job before he retired.


    You state in your GPWA profile that you used to work as an accountant before being sidelined by an auto accident. What experiences as an accountant have helped you in your work as an affiliate? From an accountant’s viewpoint, what are some things you’d change in the industry on the accounting side?
    Well, the first thing would be the similarities in dealing with a variety of people at various levels of knowledge. We've all met that one person who knows it all about everything, I'm sure. I dealt with a variety of people every day, as I now do, and that has been a tremendous asset. Speaking of assets, the terminology used in accounting is also very similar. Also important is the ability to work with spreadsheets and statistics, especially statistical analysis. I was nearly a CPA, which has an entirely different meaning in the affiliate world than it does in the accounting world: Certified Public Accountant as opposed to Cost Per Acquisition.

    Something I'd change in the industry would be to make the stats reporting standardized and reliable. I read so very much about stats not being correct at various sites, and have also run into this problem myself. It's difficult to tell whether it's a glitch in the affiliate program or whether someone on that end has his hand in the cookie jar.


    Share with us what happened in your accident. What was the recovery process like?
    I'd love to share this with you, as I've found many disabled friends who are affiliates and/or poker players. Very simply, I started out one sunny morning to go lend some money to one of my sons, and the next thing I knew (three days later), I woke up in a hospital. My car was “t-boned” (hit on the driver’s side near the front door) by a person who ran a red light going over 90 mph. They called a homicide detective to the scene who handled my case, as it appeared as though I wouldn't survive.

    A nurse had to keep telling me where I was, as I was in a Tucson hospital, and for some reason thought that I was in San Francisco. I was in intensive care for three days (so I was told), and about four days longer in the hospital. After that, I was transferred to a nursing home to begin a month's worth of rehab.

    I suffered a head injury as well as numerous broken bones all over the place, including a fractured pelvis, wrist, etc., etc. I lost some of my vision and a great deal of my hearing in the accident. The head injury sounds horrid, I know, but it could have been much worse. As it is, I've a plate under my left eye holding the bones together and pinched nerves leading to that eye have caused vision problems. Not many other people can see seven of everything without a drop to drink! So sometimes I think that I’ll have a drink and see maybe 14 people; that would be fun: a whole team, lol. The rest of my skull is basically intact. The main problems that remain with me, other than the hearing and vision damage, are massive headaches and neck pain, and problems with short- to mid-term memory. I've learned to compensate over the years, but my desktop is always cluttered with notepads. I blame my inability to remember people’s' names on my injuries, something that the rest of you can't do.

    Of course, I'm no longer able to drive, or I'd be causing many accidents with my duplicate vision problems, and really do miss not being able to hop into my car and go trout fishing in the mountains.

    This whole turn of events has actually been a blessing in disguise. If not for this accident, I'd still be an accountant, dealing with tax returns and financial statements... yuk! I'd never have had the opportunity otherwise to meet all the fantastic people that I've met via online gambling, and of course my forum. Oh, and I've also gained a sense of humor about life in general that was lacking before... I've learned what is REALLY important in life as compared to what is not.


    Wildcats Poker has been up and running for over a year and a half, and your traffic is increasing. Unlike a lot of sites, WP is a forum. Why did you decide to go the forum route? Are you the site’s only moderator?
    I chose to have a forum, mainly, because of the interaction with our members. That's not something usually available with portals. I picked up this occupation firstly as something to do in my abundant spare time, and it has led to being a full-time job. There's always plenty to do, and I must admit, it's the wonderful members who keep me going from day to day. Of course, the affiliate managers that I've met have also helped a lot and for the most part are a group of great people. I've made some very good friends, both affiliate managers as well as other forum owners. It's the contact with people that is so very important to me. That, I believe, would be very different without the forum.

    I'm definitely NOT the forum's only moderator. That's a job that is just too much for one person to handle, especially as the forum has grown so greatly. I work with a fantastic staff, most of whom are also GPWA private or public members. If I listed all the names here, this would go on for pages and pages. Well, we DO have a few members who aren't on the staff. I owe a great deal of gratitude to the rest of my staff, who help keep me sane (relatively speaking, lol) on insane days.


    In your mind, how is operating a forum site different from operating a standard site? And, because you have interaction with players, how do you handle player complaints?
    Naturally, operating a forum is different in the valued input from our forum members. We have many areas that couldn't possibly be covered in a “standard” site, just one example being forum vs. forum competitions. The differences are very great in many areas, as I'm sure you'll agree. I love it when our members post screenshots of their wins, or pictures of their families. It's even better when one of them happens to make a big win for our forum in the OFC, the Online Forum Challenge. Player input is the biggest difference. We'd like to hear from more of our members even more often, but realize that most have their hands already full gambling online all day and night long.


    As far as player complaints, that is one of my personally favorite areas: trying to help people out when they encounter problems with one of the sites we promote. We've even tried to help at times with sites that we don't promote. The player ALWAYS comes first. We'll go out of our way to try to find a positive outcome for all involved whenever possible. Of course, some people are never happy no matter what the outcome… but we still do our best trying.


    What do you do and where do you go when you need to let off some steam, and get away from the daily grind?
    Silly question! Well, I go to the male strip club!!!!! Just kidding, just kidding. Actually I go on tilt at any poker site that I can find, of course! It's also a good way for me to get away from the daily grind. It may not sound so different, but playing poker as opposed to taking care of the business end of things is worlds apart. My fingers are sticky-glued to the computer, so it's difficult to get away.


    How did you find the GPWA?
    I've been a member of the GPWA for so long that it's difficult to remember how I first found it. I believe I discovered it years ago when it was recommended by a friend. To be honest, I've been a member using various names, as I've had to reformat numerous times over the years, causing me to lose my login details. Now you know why I have all those sticky notes all over my desktop.


    It would be easier to list the ways in which GPWA has NOT helped me. There's probably not an area in online gambling that I want or need to know about that isn't covered at the GPWA forum. It's a valuable asset when looking for information, or seeking help. I actually found two of my current staff members through the forum, Chalkie and The Pokerkeep

    It's an invaluable asset when seeking information about affiliate programs and areas in which other members may be having difficulties with incorrect stats reporting.


    The GPWA has so much to offer for everyone at every level of experience. All I need are a few extra hours in each day in order to read everything that's there. The amount of information is completely overwhelming at times! I could spend all day there and still not get through everything that I want to read… or write.


    What do your family and friends have to say about the way you make your living?
    My family and friends are all for it, even though I don't believe they really know what I'm doing, or much about what is involved in online gambling. I've tried to get them involved with me at the forum but have been unable to do so thus far. So they probably only have the faintest clue about what I'm doing. Even so, they're all supportive, even though they have no idea what I'm talking about half the time. All they know is that it keeps me busy... very, very busy. I'd like nothing better than to have some of them on my staff but most of them just don't have the time for it.


    What’s the most difficult thing about operating your site?
    The most difficult thing is just keeping things up to date, and working daily on everything that needs to be done. No matter how many people we have on the staff, there's never a lack of work for anyone involved. It's very time consuming, but at the same time, very rewarding, on many levels. The main problem is trying to find the time to take a day off. Like any person who is self-employed, I schedule my own hours around the work that needs to be done. Sometimes I think back to the 40-hour workweek, and that sounds absolutely wonderful. Working out of my home makes it extremely difficult to walk away from the job, come home, kick off my shoes, and relax. No more two- or three-week paid vacations for me... I can't afford to take that much time away from the forum.


    What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own site?
    No doubt, just being self-employed is a definite bonus. Also, as I've mentioned several times, so I don't want to go into this again and bore you to death, there is the interaction with my forum members and staff. I've found that there are a number of people out there who are disabled in one way or another. Many people don't like to talk about their disabilities, which is understandable… but I've found that my being open about my own state of affairs has helped bridge the gap between other people who otherwise wouldn't have chosen to say anything about themselves. The number of disabled people who spend a great deal of time online is truly astounding.


    How many different languages does your site offer? Why did you choose to go multilingual, and how do you get the translations done?
    We offer translations into seven languages: Chinese, French, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German, and Arabic. I know we have many, many forum members from other countries, thus the need for different language translations. I only hope they work fairly well. I have no knowledge myself of any language other than a very little Spanish, so I can't see how well the translations work for others. Hopefully they’re at least helpful to our non-US members. We use the Google translator, which I've heard doesn't always provide the best translations, to say the least. Unfortunately, I've received no feedback from any of our members as to whether this addition is at all useful or not. I can only hope that it's of some use, because it took quite a while to get it initially implemented.


    What do you do – day to day, week to week, month to month – to keep your site current?
    As to keeping current, content provided by the sites themselves is so very important. A lot of the affiliate managers probably are sick of me nagging them for current content for the site. We try to check the sites themselves regularly, and constantly search for current content. It's so very important to have the latest news available for our members. A lot of useful information can also be found at different forums, including affiliate forums such as the GPWA, and forums that the sites themselves might have.


    Our forum is updated daily with new content, particularly games and promotions in which our members might be interested.


    You’ve let it be known that you play a lot of online poker. What’s your preferred game, and how good are you?
    Oh, you've got me there. My favorite game is probably Omaha, followed by H.O.R.S.E., but I'll play a good old game of Hold’em any day. As to how good I am… that depends on what day of the week it is… perhaps even on the time of day. I tend to have streaks of good and bad. There are days when I can't lose when I try, and other days when I can't win anything no matter what! I'm definitely not a candidate for the WSOP – not yet, at least, lmao! (Look out, though; I just might get there someday.)


    What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the industry?
    I'd suggest that anyone should do a lot of research before jumping head first into this field. I've seen so very many forums come and go on a daily basis. It takes a “stick to it” attitude, plus a lot of time and patience. So many people think that becoming an affiliate will make them an overnight millionaire. I've yet to see that happen.

    Do your research. The GPWA has a section devoted to people who are thinking about entering this industry, and it's well worth reading. Also, it never hurts to have friends who are already in the field who can give you some useful advice. Friends are probably one of the greatest resources available. They have insights into areas that a person otherwise might not even consider.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions. Believe me, you'll never look stupid for asking a question, but you might live to regret it if you don't ask! You might be surprised at the number of people willing to answer your questions and offer very useful advice.

    Be prepared to spend a lot of time researching the field and learning everything possible before you sign your first affiliate contract, and be ready to spend a lot of time on the computer if you want to be successful. You can't just stick up a few banners and hope that income will start flowing in.


    What’s your all-time favorite TV show and your favorite movie? What makes them so great?
    My all-time favorite TV show... hmmm. That's a tough one. I'd probably have to say not any particular one show, but a series of documentaries on PBS. There was one series, for example, where people were placed in an old-fashioned western town without any of our modern conveniences and had to “tough it out.” It's interesting to try to imagine how I might react living in similar circumstances.

    The next favorite would be “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” It's wonderful to see a bunch of people come together and help families in need; and the outcome of their work is always so incredibly beautiful. It's also fantastic that they help people who are truly in need of assistance.

    Actually, if it's got closed-captioning it's fine with me, lol.

    As far as a favorite movie, anything with Nicolas Cage in it! He's such a fantastic actor, and his movies are always well worth watching. I like the edge of your seat type thriller, and he's just spectacular in those movies he does. Of course, I haven't been to the movies in ages, since I lost 90% of my hearing in that car accident. They don't have closed-captioning at theaters, so all of my movie watching is on TV.


    In the forums recently you described CAC as a place where affiliates meet with casino reps, get totally drunk, party all night, and get into fights. Will we be seeing you this year at CAC lace Amsterdam?
    Oh you read that, huh? Darn! I wasn't actually at that convention, but that's what I was able to learn from the pages and pages that I read about it.

    Unfortunately I won't be attending the convention in Amsterdam as it's an awfully long swim from here to there, and my raft is still undergoing repairs from my last overseas adventure. A bit more rope and I should have it fixed up... maybe in time for the next convention.

    However, if you'd like to send me a first-class plane ticket (two would be even better), provide 5-star hotel accommodations for at least a week, meals included, of course, and a minimum of two cases of Dom Pérignon to share with my friends, I'll be able to go without having to wait for raft repairs.


    If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be, and why?
    That's the easiest question that you've asked me yet. I'd change it so that us people living in the U.S. could gamble online anywhere, as we used to do all those years ago, pre-UIGEA.

    There are so many places where I'd just love to play poker and visit the online casinos, and can't do so anymore. The laws here are just so ridiculous now, I'm really hoping that our new political administration will be able to make some positive changes. I've heard that Obama likes a game of poker now and then, so I'm truly hoping that one of these days he or someone in his administration will be able to make some positive changes for us.


    Before we wrap this up, one more question: If you were one of the last two people on the planet, who would you want the other person to be?
    Well, for a start, you didn't say I couldn't bring a dog, so he'd obviously be with me – my little ten-year-old Cocker Spaniel. We've been together through thick and thin and I couldn’t possibly leave him behind.

    If I can't bring two persons, my two sons… well, heck – that's a dilemma. If it has to be just one person only, that would have to be my good friend “mooleyjones.” She's always there for me and has helped me out in more ways than I can mention. She's also a blast, and would be the best company a person could ask for. She'd keep me laughing constantly, as she does now, on a daily basis. A lot of people know Mooley (“the Tramp”), and know just what a fantastic and hilarious person she is.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Gary For This Useful Post:

    raphnix (16 June 2009), SisCorner (11 June 2009), thepokerkeep (20 May 2009)

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    Thank you for sharing Kathy. great interview.

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    raphnix is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by WagerX View Post
    Thank you for sharing Kathy. great interview.
    What a great interview. I didn't know before that the developer of wildcatspoker.net was a lady. And what's a Chimichangas?

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    greekhand is offline Public Member
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    Finally I found the time to read all the interview

    Do you plan to make more of these ?

    Thanks .
    Free Online Poker Tournaments Widget you can use it in your site with your affiliate links.

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