Poker is an activity that has a multitude of discussion angles. From the way to play hands to the politics behind its legalization, there are many things that lend itself to a round table discussion. With this in mind, the founder of the CardPlayer Lifestyle website, Robbie Strazynski, has come up with exactly that – a round table discussion format billed as “The Orbit with Robbie Strazynski.”

Fourth Episode Posted Thursday

The fourth episode of the series was recently posted to Twitch (and, by extension, YouTube) and that it simply gets on the air is quite impressive. From his home base in Israel, Strazynski is seven hours ahead of his guests on the East Coast of the States of America and, if he is drawing guests from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, that time difference become 10 hours. Having been a journalist looking to run down quotes or interviews myself, even a three-hour time difference can be extremely difficult!

For the fourth series, Strazynski has arranged quite the stellar cast for the discussion. Run it Once Poker founder Phil Galfond, partypoker partner and Dusk ‘til Dawn casino owner Rob Yong, former online poker executive Alex Scott and Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu come to “The Orbit” table and they do not shy away from the discussion. Such weighty topics as whether online poker has reached a saturation point, the effects (or drawbacks) of regulation on the industry, and approaches to growing the game to a younger audience (it is accurately pointed out that the average poker player is a male between 35 and 50 years old…where is the diversity?) are all on the table and the guests do not hold back from their opinions.

The “gathering of minds” do not hold back in their thoughts regarding the subjects that Strazynski has put together. Those that make up the panel do not strictly hold their views to poker – they examine the game in the wider spectrum of its place in society and how society might influence the game. Scott, in the early moments of the show, discusses how a worldwide recession would have an effect on online poker – something that many don’t consider in a “poker” sense.

Some Room For Improvement

Although the conversation is engaging between the panel, there are a few things that could be improved on “The Orbit with Robbie Strazynski.” First, the panelists and Strazynski appear in tiny circles on the screen (with an occasional foray to the “center circle,” which is, of course, a poker table). Occasional cuts to where each panelist would get a full screen shot would be useful and give them some kudos for their views.

Second (and this is a pet peeve for all these computerized meetings), everyone needs to have their computers on the same level so that they are looking directly into the camera, not looking down on it. The major news networks do this same thing, having a guest on with their camera pointing upwards at the subject instead of raising the camera so the person can look into the camera rather than down at it. Furthermore (just in case you’re a part of a Zoom meeting), have a decent background for your call – a blank wall isn’t very inviting!

Third, audio is critical. It is tough to get the audio right across the board with several different people, but it is important to the viewer’s enjoyment. Computer speakers aren’t of the quality to adequately capture a person’s voice for something like a Twitch or Zoom broadcast. Having even a decent external microphone is important to the proceedings.

Finally, “The Orbit” is way too long. This fourth episode of the program logs in at almost two hours in length. Most people go to Twitch or YouTube for the bite-sized pieces of video that they are looking for. They’re not looking for a feature length movie. This is why most podcasts limit themselves to anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes – you want to inform your listeners or viewers, but you don’t want them to be exhausted from sitting through a marathon.

The topics that Strazynski hits on are important, however, and he’s gotten panelists who can discuss the issues at depth. “The Orbit with Robbie Strazynski” is well worth the time spent listening (maybe not in one solid sitting, however) and will give you insight into the business of poker. You can find “The Orbit” on TwitchTV or you can visit the CardPlayer Lifestyle’s  YouTube page to see the latest and future episodes of “The Orbit.”

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