What was the biggest online poker story of 2020? Roundtable panel discusses on The Orbit

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 12/30/2020

Episode 7 panel features Shillibier, Platt, Peters, and Tuchman

A year unlike any other winds down this weekend, putting the finishing touches on changes that pushed the poker industry into unprecedented territory.

Was the COVID-19 pandemic the biggest poker story of the year? Episode 7 of The Orbit brought in a panel of poker media staples to discuss what tops the list of poker’s most pertinent happenings in 2020.

Hosted by Cardplayer Lifestyle founder Robbie Strazynski, each episode of the Orbit features a panel of four big names from the poker industry gathering for a roundtable discussion on poker’s pressing issues.

Somewhat surprisingly, nobody on the panel chose “COVID-19” by itself as the biggest event in the online poker world of 2020. Here’s what the Episode 7 lineup of all-stars from the realm of poker journalism had to say about online poker’s biggest story of the year:

Will Shillibier (Editor in Chief, PokerNews)

PokerNews Chief Editor Will Shillibier wanted to let the other panelists discuss COVID-19 and the online poker boom of 2020. With that in mind, Shillibier went with what he called an “outlier” for his poker story of the year.

“I’m picking Michael Addamo,” Shillibier said. “If you really hone in on his year, it’s been a really, really good year. Besides losing the biggest no-limit hold’em pot in online poker history, it’s been pretty good.”

Image source: Flickr/World Poker Tour

“He starts out being named the Young Achiever by the Australian Poker Hall of Fame, he wins the $50k challenge there, he comes second in the heads-up $10k on the WSOP Online.”

“Before that, he came second in the Super High Roller Bowl online behind Justin Bonomo,” Shillibier continued. “And then rounds the year out by winning the WPT World Online Championship Super High Roller, and then throwing in another second place in the EPT Online High Roller.”

Jeff Platt (Host, PokerGO)

PokerGO host Jeff Platt chose the World Series of Poker’s transition to online events in 2020 as the industry’s biggest story of the year. The postponement of the 51st annual World Series of Poker prompted WSOP to host the Online Bracelet Events series on GGPoker and WSOP.com.

The hybrid online/live 2020 Main Event is currently down to the final two, with a heads-up match between Damian Salas and Joseph Herbert scheduled for Jan. 3.

“I thought we saw incredible fields, not only in the U.S. for the WSOP.com Bracelet Events, but also on GGPoker for the international events as well,” Platt said. “We could sit here and argue for days, and days, and days about the value of the bracelet.”

Image source: Twitter

“If there’s a $100 event, should we award a bracelet? If there’s a $10k event but it’s just got 20 people in it, should we award a bracelet? I just think that the World Series of Poker handled everything pretty well, all things considered.”

“We’re in uncharted territory,” Platt continued. “There’s a global pandemic going on… I think you have to applaud the WSOP, and that’s what will stand out to me when I look back at 2020.”

Donnie Peters (Writer and Host, PocketFives)

Poker media veteran Donnie Peters went with GGPoker’s rise to prominence as possibly the world’s biggest online poker platform of 2020.

“I know that GGPoker really put itself on the map with the signing of Daniel Negreanu last year in November,” Peters said. “But while that flame has been burning for a little bit of time leading into 2020, it wasn’t really until this year… they basically threw lighter fluid on the flame.”

“Everything has been GGPoker. Every player’s been wanting to play on it. They’ve solidified this really, really strong relationship with the World Series of Poker, as Jeff just highlighted.”

WSOP Winter Circuit smashes guarantees in first two events
Image source: Twitter

Peters contends that GGPoker took over the No. 1 spot in the world’s online poker economy over the course of 2020.

“Everything that GGPoker has done; I would say leading into 2020 was like GGPoker is right behind PokerStars and partypoker,” Peters said. “Now I could easily make the case, and I wouldn’t hurt someone so bad, for saying that GGPoker is ahead of PokerStars.”

“Everything that GGPoker is doing nowadays just tells me that they’re the brand that everyone else wants to be. That’s where everyone wants to play.”

David Tuchman (Founder, TuckonSports.com)

David Tuchman, poker commentator and founder of TuckonSports.com, said the heads-up poker challenges of 2020 were his choice for the biggest story of the year.

“The Galfond Challenge has been a lot more fun than I think anybody expected,” Tuchman said. “Staring off with that match against VeniVedi, and then just going off that.”

“Obviously, this wasn’t online, but PokerGO kind of took the heads-up challenge, the Antonio (Esfandiari) versus Phil Hellmuth. Watching Antonio lose and lose and lose was really fun I like Antonio, but losing to Phil Hellmuth had to be painful.”

Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk
Image source: Twitter

Another heads-up challenge, currently playing out on WSOP.com between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk, played into Tuchman’s choice for online poker story of the year.

“The poker world, in a very Darwinian way, has taken 2020 and COVID, and said ok, we’ll evolve and we’ll survive, and we’ll be fine,” Tuchman said.

The Orbit rounds out 2020 with year-end episode

Strazynski launched The Orbit earlier this year, and the roundtable discussion show has quickly emerged as a favorite of the poker community. Live episodes can be found on the www.twitch.tv/poker channel, with archived episodes available on the Cardplayer Lifestyle YouTube channel.

Other topics from Episode 7 include speculation on when live poker will truly return for good, poker predictions for 2021, and The Orbit’s 2020 Poker Person of the Year.

Featured image source: YouTube