On December 3, the noted poker author and my friend Lou Krieger died of cancer. There are so many things to be said about Lou’s contributions to the poker world and how he nurtured a new generation of poker writers. But this is what I said on Hold’em Radio’s tribute show to Lou. I want to thank Dan and Shari for letting me share my memories of Lou.
When I first started to learn poker, I of course read some of Lou’s books. But I didn’t meet him until January 2003 at Jack Binion’s World Poker Open in Tunica Mississippi. I saw him playing in a $10/$20 game. I introduced myself to him and I told him that I’d love to talk to him about a poker writing project some time. He immediately started racking up his chips. I told him to stay and play. But he smiled and said, “Naw. C’mon, let’s talk poker.” And that’s where our friendship was born — over sweet tea and bagels (clearly a regional gastronomical dichotomy).
Lou got me my first poker writing job with Canadian Poker Player Magazine. When Bluff Magazine was starting up, Lou advised them to take me on. When he first started with Hold’em Radio, he invited me to be his co-host. I told him I thought preparing for the show might take a lot of work. He burst out laughing and reminded me that we already talked about poker every week for hours on end. He said we’d do what we always did — we’d just let people listen and join in. He always believed that poker was at its best when it was shared.
I’m sure you’re going to hear from a lot of other people in the poker media with similar stories. Like me, they’ll tell you about how Lou encouraged them and gave them a helping hand. Lou was generous and kind. But I don’t think that was his only motivation for helping out writers who wanted to break into the business. Lou loved poker. He loved writing about poker. It truly made him happy. And I think he thought writing about poker would make us all happy too. And of course, he was right.
When it came to writing about poker, Lou was a master. Lou’s gift was being able to communicate complex ideas simply. He also was what I call an unselfish writer. It was never about how clever and smart a player he was — and he was. It was always about how the reader could become a clever and smarter player. Lou’s body of work will live on to serve the next generation of poker players and maybe beyond.
I got to share some great poker moments with Lou. We sat in the bleachers of Benny’s Bullpen, watching the last WSOP preliminary events that would be played down at Binions. We went to the taping of the first televised WPT Championship event — which changed how poker would be viewed by a wider audience. We spent hours on the phone as Chris Moneymaker made his final bid for the WSOP Championship. I had the profound privilege of watching the changing landscape of poker through Lou’s eyes. And it breaks my heart that those eyes have closed. I know the poker world — and I — will truly miss him.