Most publications use their January issue to reflect on the year gone by, and to look ahead to the upcoming year. Not Ante Up.
September always will be special to us because two years ago this month we published our first issue. Frank Gary, a Ft. Myers, Fla. poker player, donned that cover, holding up his World Series of Poker bracelet. To this day we aren’t exactly certain if he knows he was on our cover, or if he even knows about our magazine. But he was from Florida, the photo was free and he was going to be on our cover, dammit!
Yes, back then we focused entirely on Florida poker, and it was a modest 48-page effort. A lot has changed — in poker and at Ante Up — since that maiden issue. We still offer the same amount of Florida news, but as poker toddlers our parents taught us to share.
“Why not let others experience Ante Up?” the voices in our heads kept asking. So, over the past seven months we expanded to include the southern states (and a handful of eastern ones) in our coverage, changing our name to Ante Up, YOUR Poker Magazine.
Readers have since seen our cover host the Bayou Challenge in New Orleans, Wheeling Island’s Darvin Moon, Paul Wasicka (Harrah’s Tunica WSOP circuit champ), Ante Up Poker Tour Player of the Year Walt Strakowski, our WSOP POY Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and now Tyler Smith, who won the World Poker Open main event at the Gold Strike in August.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since we first landed in those Florida poker rooms, and a look at this month’s issue will show you just how far we’ve come. In September 2008 we covered one state (Florida), had two regular columnists (Lee Childs and Joe Navarro) and just two of the 48 pages explained the promotions and tournaments of our local poker rooms.
Two years later we cover 15 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia), Childs and Navarro still grace our pages, but we’ve added WSOP bracelet-winner Don Baruch, two esteemed doctors (Frank Toscano, poker health and Stephen Bloomfield, poker mind), Lauren Failla (women in poker), Marc Dunbar (poker politics) and Jay Houston (strategy), while four of our 64 pages are dedicated to local poker rooms’ tournaments and promotions.
And that’s not all. Our third poker cruise is approaching. We never could’ve envisioned hosting a poker cruise when we launched our magazine, but our readers wanted an experience on the high seas so we delivered.
If you’d like to join us on our Oct. 19-25 voyage to the Bahamas go to anteupmagazine.com/cruise for all of the details. … and you might be able to win your way on board.
We’d like to credit our spouses, readers, writers, poker managers, their staffs and our advertisers for making these past two years just incredible. Your encouraging words, emails and contributions have helped tremendously. The smiles (and occasional autograph-seeker) we get when stroll into one of our poker rooms make it all worthwhile. We truly appreciate the support, and please know we’re doing this for you, and we always will. After all, it is YOUR Poker Magazine. Here’s to another incredible year for the Ante Up Nation.
We’ll see you at the tables.
Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long