August 1, 2019 marks my 10 year anniversary with CalvinAyre.com, a moment in time that represents a significant milestone in my life, when my world completely changed overnight. I am forever grateful for the opportunity Calvin Ayre himself presented to me in 2009 and for the beautiful team of talented people who I have had the pleasure of working with from then until today.
The endless, fond memories I have from the past decade are priceless and impossible to put down on paper in their entirety, so I have chosen one memory from each year that will hopefully spark some nostalgia for a number of our CalvinAyre.com readers.
Before I get started, I wanted to point out that when Calvin pitched this job to me 10 years ago, I told him I loved the idea but that I did not want to be on camera – I said, and I quote, “I am terrible on camera”. He told me I had the personality for it and all I would need is practice. And here we are today.
2009- The CalvinAyre.com website is soft-launched
It was not only my world that changed in 2009, the iGaming industry changed as well with the soft-launch of the CalvinAyre.com “tablog” (who remembers the tablog teaser!??), a cross between a tabloid and a blog, providing industry news and event coverage like we’d never seen before. I made my debut as a CalvinAyre.com reporter, flanked by the “Ayre Heads”, at BAC & EiG 2009 and likely lost a few years off my life because I was soooo incredibly nervous to be on camera.
2010- CalvinAyre.com Launch Party at the iGaming Super Show Prague
The iGaming Super Show (today’s iGB Live!), launched in 2010 and was also host to the legendary CalvinAyre.com launch party, the best party I’ve ever been to in my life. Only 200 guests were invited to join in the “Mad Max post-apocalyptic” debauchery and I will never forget the number of people who begged me for a ticket, to the point where I had to sneak out of the conference hotel with colleagues surrounding me on the night.
2011- Black Friday, April 15, 2011
“Black Friday” is a day we will never forget, a move by the DOJ that changed the online poker industry forever. Less than one year prior, I was at the WSOP enjoying lavish parties surrounded by celebrities and famous poker players, mostly funded by online poker play in the United States. Having lived through the passage of UIGEA as an online gambling industry professional, Black Friday’s events did not come as a huge surprise, but it turned our world upside down regardless.
2012- David Hasselhoff Interview at G2E Vegas
G2E Vegas has always been a hot spot for celebrity appearances, especially in relation to themed slot machine reveals. In most cases, people like me are lucky to get a picture with the celeb at most, but in this case, I was able to arrange an exclusive 30 minutes with The Hoff at G2E 2012. To this day, people from inside and outside the iGaming industry refer to this interview of mine with Hasselhoff, likely one of the most exciting moments of my career thus far.
2013- Ben Mezrich “Straight Flush” Interview
Ben Mezrich always seems to be on top of the latest in my professional world, with his books “Bringing Down the House” in 2002, “Straight Flush” in 2013 and now “Bitcoin Billionaires” in 2019. I secured this Straight Flush interview with Mezrich by sending an email via his website, explaining that I know personally the subjects of the book, the founders of Absolute Poker and that I work for Calvin Ayre. I have not been in touch with him since, perhaps I should try for another interview, but this time about Bitcoin…
2014- SBC’s first Betting on Football & SiGMA’s first iGaming expo
I’ve been through a lot of “firsts” in my time with CalvinAyre.com, including SBC’s first edition of Betting on Football in London and SiGMA’s first iGaming expo in Malta. Both organizers started off small in 2014, fighting an uphill battle with more established organizers in the industry such as Clarion and iGaming Business. I’m happy to say both SBC and SiGMA have enjoyed impressive success since their emergence on the scene in 2014 and are thriving today with a growing portfolio events and locations.
2015- Max Keiser Bitcoin interview
I first laid eyes on Max Keiser at a one-off Bitcoin and iGaming event Michael Caselli put on in 2014, I believe. Max Keiser’s spicy personality is one of a kind and I was dying to get him on camera for a CalvinAyre.com interview and that is exactly what I did. If I could go back in time and capture the behind the scenes from this interview I promise you would laugh, he is such a character and it’s a good thing I was not put in front of the camera with him back in 2009!
2016- Canada Place Antigua groundbreaking
Antigua has played a major role in my 10 years with CalvinAyre.com, everything from hosting my initial job interview with Calvin in 2009, to various visits and my 40th birthday party…all while serving as a community for iGaming, Bitcoin and BPO, especially once Calvin’s high-tech office building opens its doors. To help document the progress of this building, Canada Place (formerly known as Champion Place), I had the pleasure of attending the groundbreaking ceremony and interviewing the local officials.
2017- I become British, U.S. indictment no longer, Calvin acquires CoinGeek
2017 was a BIG year for my organization and I, so I’m going to cheat a little and pack a few memories into this one particular year. Thanks to CalvinAyre.com and my move to the U.K. in 2011, I was able to obtain British citizenship in 2017, something I never dreamed of achieving. Just a month and a half later, Calvin’s indictment with the U.S. government was dropped and one month later than that, he acquired CoinGeek.com, our sister site covering all things Bitcoin SV and Blockchain. There is never a dull moment in my world.
2018- Sir Mix-A-Lot Interview at G2E Vegas
Here we go again, a memory generated from G2E Vegas, this time six years later in 2018. The fine folks at Bluberi signed a deal with “I like big butts and I cannot lie”’s Sir Mix-A-Lot for a bespoke slot and brought him to the expo to entertain guests and guess what? He ended up doing an interview with me. My time with Sir was the most fun I’ve ever had in front of the camera and you can see for yourself in this happy interview.
2019- CoinGeek Toronto After Party
Since the acquisition of CoinGeek.com, my travel schedule has doubled and I’ve visited a number of new places, for example, Kigali, Toronto, Bogota and soon Irkutsk. CoinGeek now produces three conferences a year dedicated to Bitcoin SV and all the industries, including iGaming, that can benefit from the technology. CoinGeek Toronto took place in May and I’m happy to say Calvin’s notorious parties are back, this time with more of a Bitcoin SV feel, but as you can see from our video coverage, the “Work Hard, Play Hard” slogan is still very much intact.