5 tips on how to create a great poker podcast

5 Tips on How to Create a Great Poker Podcast

After learning that Olivier Busquet is considering beginning a podcast, Lee Davy busts out five tips to hopefully get him off to the perfect start.

Olivier Busquet wants to know if it’s a good idea to begin a podcast?

I recently conducted a survey of 56 people to ask them what were the most influential poker books of all time. The winner was Dan Harrington and his Hold’em Series.

In the future, I think the poker community will look back and have a little chuckle when they consider this is the way we learned about the game. The more appropriate articles of the future will be the Top 100 Twitchers, or my personal favourite, the Top 100 Podcasters.

The problem with a book is you have to buy it before you realise if it’s a turkey or not. And let’s be honest, when you start reading a lot of books the ones that shake your never-regions become even more elusive.

I think podcasts are gravy.

You can listen to as many episodes, and you want before deciding whether the host has something you desire. You don’t have to pay, and you can listen to them waiting in line at the dentist, hoovering the cat hair off the floor, or taking a dump.

So, yes, Olivier, please start a podcast, and as a podcast host myself I hope you don’t mind if I offer you a few tips.

1# Chemistry

Sometimes people don’t know what’s good for them, and you have to lead them to the honey. If you surveyed the poker community, I don’t think they would be thinking about chemistry when choosing their favourite podcast guests, but it’s critical that you do this work for them.

And it’s not easy.

There is nothing worse than interviewing someone you don’t bond with, because your guest closes up like an oyster without the moon, and your listeners don’t get the value they need to keep you on their subscription list.

Unless you know someone personally, the best way to guess if you are going to bond with someone is to learn more about them. I find Facebook a great outlet for this. Twitter is too restrictive at 140-characters. Facebook allows you a peek into a person’s life, what they value, and what is on their mind.

5 Tips on How to Create a Great Poker PodcastAnother great way to learn more about a guest is to listen to them on other people’s podcasts, read their interviews, and if they write, eat every word up and use their thoughts to generate questions. I find asking someone to expand upon an opinion they have formed elsewhere to hold the most gold.

Like poker, building chemistry with your guest is a combination of skill and luck. You improve your skills by reading great books on communication such as People Skills by Robert Bolton, or great books on relationships such as Justice Schanfarber’s The Re-Connection Handbook For Couples, both of which will improve your chances of creating the chemistry your audience will thrive on.

2# Interact

I have surveyed my podcast community, and one of the important pieces of value is the conversation. It’s the conversation that creates the chemistry.

Why is the listener tuning in for this particular guest?

I don’t think they are.

I think people tune into a podcast because they like listening to the host. They like the sound of their voice, the pace, the choice of conversational tidbits; style, and the way your storytelling brings out the best in your guest.

Yes, the guest is important, but how many of the top podcasts in iTunes interview the same guests in the same week that they have released their New York Times Bestseller?

If Daniel Negreanu is doing the podcast rounds, who do you choose to listen to? You will pick the podcast where you have formed a special bond with the host. If the host is mute, then how do you build that relationship?

Podcasts are conversations.

Conversations are between two or more people.

3# Understanding Your Audience

Who is listening and why?

Answering these two questions is critical, and it’s not easy to find them in podcast land.

I strongly suggest that you build your podcast around a website where you can gather email addresses. That way you have opened up communication lines with the people who listen.

By linking the podcast to a website you also improve the chances that people rate and review each episode. It’s incredibly cumbersome for someone to listen to your podcast and then go to iTunes and leave a review. Make it easier for them so you can learn from that feedback.

Once you know who your audience is and what they value, you can use this information to choose the right guests and to engage with your interviewee in the right way.

Earlier, I talked about the need to hold a conversation, so when do you butt in with something important to say? I have found that by understanding your audience, you will know when to stop and expand upon a point that you know will be more beneficial for your listeners. Without this homework, your guest might have just galloped along, and your audience is left with unanswered questions.

I also canvas my listeners for guests or particular types of problems they need help with. Don’t invite a bunch of NLHE MTT megastars if your audience wants to learn about PLO cash games.

4# Storytelling

How do you expand upon conversational starters that you think will be substantial for your listeners?

You tell personal stories.

If you find this difficult then what the hell are you doing hosting a podcast?

In Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, his excellent treatise on the history of humanity, he points to the Cognitive Revolution and how our ability to tell stories led to Sapiens taking over the world.

We are good at it.

It’s in our DNA.

You just need to get a spoon and scoop it out.

We all relate to stories.

Open your book and sing.

5# Vulnerability

How do we tell great stories?


If we are attuned to the needs and values of our audience, we will understand their pain points. Our audience doesn’t just want answers; they also want to be understood. Show them you understand their pain. Wear their Gucci shoes.

If you hit upon a point that needs expanding and you do so by bearing your soul, and you do so at the right frequency, what do you think is going to happen to your guest?

They will open up like a tulip in the springtime.

When you share your vulnerable moments, your guest will find more respect for you. That respect will create trust. That trust allows them to be vulnerable. Now you have expanded upon an important point that you know your audience wants to hear, and you have given them two beautiful moments of vulnerability. The listener has received a great story, advice, and they feel understand, heard, and seen.

It’s not about you.

It’s not about your guest.

It’s all about the audience.lop