Interview with Paul Jones, Winner of PokerStars' 2012 WBCOOP Best Blogger Award

Posted at 07:48 2012-03-14

The 2012 PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker (WBCOOP) recently concluded its eighth annual series, which ran from Feb. 23 through March 4, and included 30 tournaments. The competition brought together many of the industry’s top bloggers who competed for various prizes and titles.

The 2012 WBCOOP determined three notables from the poker blogging realm, including Agnes Archibong-Omon, who won the “Best Live Tweeter" award and $1,000 for her tweets throughout the 2012 series.

Likewise, Bartisz “wilczybobek” Oder from Poland earned the distinction of “Player of the Series” with 295 points and took home a WBCOOP 2012 trophy, a live/online event package for a PokerStars-sponsored event, a special chip set, and a 2012 SCOOP Main Event Medium ticket.
2012 WBCOOP Player of the Series Leaderboard Final

1Bartisz “wilczybobek” Oder (Poland)295
2murmur666 (Spain)260
3AJEI (Dominican Republic)255
4LParreira (Portugal)250
5mifox (Ukraine)235
6AkrilGIRL (Peru)215
7nobody777888 (Russian Federation)215
8Erdoganas (Lithuania)210
9MariusTrif (Romania)205
10murmuc75 (Hungary)205

Finally, the most prestigious award, the “Best Blogger Award,” was given to Paul Jones of Ireland for his blog, The Royal Raiser. In his video submission, Jones explained what he’d do with the $5,000 prize. Combined with his blog and promotion, Jones’ efforts were enough to catch the eye of PokerStars officials, who declared him this year’s Best Blogger. PokerNews recently talked to Jones to get his take on the 2012 WBCOOP.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Serious, you really want to hear all those boring details? Just kidding, I’d be delighted to tell you but it will bore you. I’m no star poker player, that’s for sure. I’m a regular kind of guy, 37 years of age and a stay-at-home dad. The first poker game I played was about two years ago, but it’s only since July of last year that the bug has taken over. Still a micro-donk after all that time, but I do try to improve my game. I’m an avid blogger and player at the moment and try to give it as much time as possible. I have a good record at online sit-and-gos, but my cash game leaves a lot to be desired.

You write a blog called The Royal Raiser. Tell us about that.

Well, I blog in a couple of great places including pokergob.com, which is a great place to blog. I also help out as a volunteer moderator on pokerschoolonline.com, which without doubt, is a wonderful place to learn the game. It was my own personal BlogSpot, though, that I submitted to the WBCOOP promotion. Most of my blogs are about personal challenges and goals that I have set myself. I find this a great way to get my head around some of the concepts of the game. I’ve also reviewed a few books that I’ve found helpful.

How did you find out about the WBCOOP competition?

Honestly, I think it’s hard not to find out about a PokerStars promotion, they do such a great job of advertising them. Whether it was on a forum, in the PokerStars lobby or on Twitter that I saw it I’m not sure, it seems like such a long time ago, but it’s a safe bet it was one of the above.

How long did it take you to put together your winning video? And what inspired you to pick out that soothing music?

The video was an afterthought. I just wanted to try my hand at making one and thought it was a good idea. It was the main blog, though, that I submitted as my entry. As for the music, that’s an easy one. It was the best of bad selection in my Windows library that was copyright-free, and yes, it is very soothing. I thought it was a good fit for the theme.

After you made your submission, what did you do? Did you promote it, etc.?

Again, the video was not the entry, it was my main blog, and boy did I promote it! Relentless tweets and Facebook posts went out over the duration of the promotion. For all those family members who got bombarded with poker-related posts and tweets over the week, I hereby sincerely apologize. Guess is was worth it though. Please unblock me Mum!

How did you find out that you won the World Blogger Championship?

The moment I found out will be imprinted in my memory forever. The kids had just got home from school, and I said to my wife that I would play online for about an hour and then leave it at that. It was our wedding anniversary and we planned to have a meal together that night. I loaded up a few micro-cash tables and settled into what I thought would be an hour’s grind.

About ten minutes into it, my Twitter and Skype notifications started going a little crazy. The first one I looked at was a Skype message from a good friend called Mark. ‘Hey, did you win the WBCOOP?’ he asked. I replied that I wished and that I wouldn’t be that lucky. I told him I had won a few SCOOP tickets alright. He sent me a link to a Twitter post from PokerStars, and I nearly fell off the chair. I could not believe it to the point where I emailed their support to see if it was true. Apparently I was chosen by the PokerStars Blog team as one of the two wildcard entries for the competition.

Did you think you had a realistic shot at winning or did it come as a surprise?

Surprise would be an understatement. It was total shock. I’ve never won anything this big before in my life. It means a lot to me on so many different levels. It’s not every day you get to be crowned World Champion at something. Also, there were hundreds of other great blogs submitted, and well done to all who took part.

You stated that you’ll be donating 50 percent of the prize to charity. Do you know which charity yet? If so, how did you come to that decision?

One of the easiest decisions ever. I said from the very beginning that I will donate half the prize money to the Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. The thing is that, although I’m not wealthy, I believe that money is not the most important thing in life. One of my daughters has trouble with her eyesight, and I regularly have to bring her on trips to this amazing hospital for check-ups. The staff there has been very kind to us, and I challenge anyone reading this to walk around a few of these hospitals for a couple of hours. When you are done, you’ll really see what’s important in life, health and family. Once I make the presentation, I will post a photo up on my blog for all to see.

You said that you’ll be using 25 percent of your prize to buy into a UKIPT event. Have you ever played in one before? Which event will you be choosing?

It has to be the Dublin event, but haven’t even looked yet to see when that is on. I’ve never played in one before and I’ll probably be way out of my depth. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

How did you do in the 30 WBCOOP events?

Poorly. There were so many good players playing the events, and I, sadly, wasn’t one of them. I scraped into the prizes in four of the events, though, winning three $5.50 SCOOP tickets and one $16.50 ticket. I liked the mix of the formats and thought the selection of events really spiced it up a bit. I enjoyed the H.O.R.S.E. game the most because I’m a regular at a play-money home game called ‘The Drunk Tank’ where they play H.O.R.S.E. every Monday night. There’s a great bunch of guys and gals in that home game, and they surely taught me a thing or two about poker. Actually, if I remember right, my ‘Bad Beat’ of the WBCOOP happened in that H.O.R.S.E. game. It’s in my blog if anyone wants to look.

Have you seen in increase in traffic on your blog since becoming the World Blogger Champion?

Without a doubt. My blog hits have nearly doubled. I received hundreds of messages since being announced the winner. Mostly, about 95 percent positive good wishes from great people, and if I haven’t thanked you already, then I do so now. I’ve tried to respond to as many messages as possible. I received about 5 percent of hate mail, too, but I guess that’s to be expected. That won’t bother me as I’m too old in the tooth to get upset about these things, and I won’t let it take away from the fact that I was crowned World Blogging Champion for 2012.

I will continue to promote the game as best I can in the coming year and respect each and every player I meet along the way. I’m a believer in good karma. What goes around comes around so they say. Thanks to PokerNews for the interview, it’s been the icing on the cake of a wonderful week.

For more information on the 2012 WBCOOP, visit the PokerStars Blog.

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