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Dave Lappin Sheds Light on Season 10 of The Chip Race and Its Background

The Irish professional poker player, Unibet ambassador and co-host of The Chip Race expanded on the upcoming Season 10 of his podcast, his guests, poker awards and more.

The Idea to Start a Podcast Came from Outside

The award-winning podcast was conceived four years ago, when an Irish sports podcast creator suggested that Lappin and Dara O’Kearney should host a poker show. “Our interest was immediately pricked,” says Dave Lappin.

“We wanted it to stand out from what was becoming a crowded market, so Dara, Daragh Davey and I spent a lot of time thinking about the format. After some back and forth, we settled on the variety show concept — an eclectic five segments covering different aspects of the poker world.”

Right from the first seven episodes, the podcast received great feedback, but it was not until Unibet invited them on board that the show really took off. Today, The Chip Race is about to enter its 10th season, it attracts over 15,000 regular listeners and features some of the most renowned guests.

The fact that they made their podcast seasonal is just one of the things that distinguish them from similar projects. Lappin admitted part of the reason were the marketing benefits of such an arrangement.

“Seasons of seven with a mid-season hiatus is a very old-fashioned concept, but it allows us to promote ‘season premieres’ and ‘season finales’. It also suits how Dara and I work on the show in fits and starts. We both play a lot of live poker, so it’s handy to be one month on, one month off.”

A Lot of Effort Goes into Planning Each Episode

Lappin described how curating every single show requires careful preparation to cover all the aspects they want to include in the podcast.

“We want it to be fun but also serious when it needs to be. We want to cover real news stories but also offer our opinions. We want guests from all over the poker landscape – old-school pros, online beasts, writers, bloggers, dealers, TDs, industry professionals, male/female, different nationalities, etc. Then you have Dara’s strategy pieces which are a treasure trove of free poker content. He dials the difficulty level up and down on those but, to be honest, he articulates his points so well that even the advanced hands are very accessible for our recreational fans.”

The Crucial Part Is to Find the Right Guest

Guests can make a huge difference to a show and it is not only about finding the most popular one. It has to be one that is interesting but reachable, one that will be happy to talk and the audience will want to hear them talk, and of course one that is relevant to the subject.

Lappin shared what they are looking for in a guest, saying:

“If a guest has a good sense of humour that’s great for us because a joke is a great ice-breaker and shortcut to familiarity. A bit of star-power never hurts because a big name on the tin is a huge selling point. That said, Dara and I are drawn to stories and points of view more than anything else so basically somebody who has carved an interesting path through poker or has an angle on a relevant subject matter.”

On the other hand, there are guests who are not that easy to work with.

“’Mr One Word Answer’ is a nightmare,” explains Lappin. “It’s our job as hosts to put the guest at ease, warm them up if need be, tease out the responses but sometimes, and it’s rare, you hit a brick wall.” But even then, the interview will still be released to public. “The guest has given us their time, and we respect that. I will always edit the piece to accentuate the best parts — at least I hope I do!”

He explained that sometimes they invite people they know personally, sometimes it is someone they know through a friend who will serve as a go-between to arrange the initial introduction and sometimes they reach out to people they have no connection to, in which case they have to resort to emails or Facebook messages.

The Show Has Welcomed Some Great Guests and Plans to See More in the Future

When asked about his favourites, Lappin claimed it was hard to pick.

“Jennifer Tilly’s episodes are an obvious highlight, especially the one that featured Mrs Doke {Dara’s wife}. Of the 2019 shows, I loved the episodes with Krissy Bicknell, Bryn Kenney, Dominik Nitsche, Joe Ingram and Jungleman. My favourite this year is probably the last one with Garry Gates and Luke Vrabel.”

While he has already interviewed his fair share of significant names on the poker scene, there are still many more he would like to see on the show.

“Our wishlist includes Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Vicky Coren, Erik Seidel, Stevie Chidwick, Phil Ivery and Viktor Blom all for different reasons. Firstly none of them are over-exposed. Quite the contrary, in fact, so I know there would be a huge appetite from our listeners to hear their thoughts.”

He did not recall any specific interview that would go particularly bad, plus with the help of editing it is usually possible to still achieve a pretty good result, even if the original material is not the best. He admitted not everyone always understood their attempts at humour, which can be very typically Irish, full of good-natured banter and ribbing.

“There’s nothing we can do if a joke doesn’t land for someone or a bit of slagging is misinterpreted as malicious. End of the day, it’s entertainment. It’s not life and death.”

Season 10 Promises Plenty to Look Forward to

With the latest season just around the corner, Lappin revealed some of the highlights that they have for the listeners.

“Episode 1 is a banger with Jason Mercier, Barny Boatman, Jamie Kerstetter and … Lee Davy. I’m not sure of the exact running order after that, but I can tell you that we will have four guests per episode and they include Sarah Herring, Joe Beevers, Dylan Linde, Patrick Clarke and return visits from Dominik Nitsche, Maria Konnikova and Ryan Laplante.”

Each season so far had seven episodes, which means the hosts have produced 70 episodes so far! Dave Lappin mused about how it happened that their audience has stuck with them for so long. “I think they value our honesty,” he declared.

“Dara and I will always call balls and strikes as we see them. I hope they like our interview style. We try to loosen up the guest, relate to their story and go a little deeper if possible. We’ve gotten better at this over time. One thing I know they value is Dara’s sage wisdom dispensed in our strategy segments. Listening to those or watching Willie Elliot’s brilliantly animated versions of them on our YouTube Channel is literally money in their pockets.”

The Chip Race Won the Global Poker Award

When the show was nominated for this year’s Global Poker Award, Lappin admits they did not expect it but it came as a lovely surprise.

“Lots of people work hard on the show, so it was recognition of their time and effort.”

Not even considering that they could actually win, neither Lappin, nor O’Kearney intended to go to the ceremony in Las Vegas. The only thing they were seeking from the nomination was some extra publicity to attract new followers.

“On the night of the awards, I went to bed. It was my son’s second birthday party that day, so I was exhausted and went to bed before the ceremony even started,” explains Lappin. “I pinged everyone from the show to say ‘Obviously we aren’t going to win, but I want to say thank you for all the hard work’, and then I drifted off to sleep. I woke to 170 notifications on my phone and was like ‘no… fucking… way!’”
Even though the hosts claim that they do not take awards overly seriously, they conceded that it feeling the respect from their peers was an important “pat on the back.”

However, it was not all sunshine. Their victory was met with surprising animosity from certain individuals, who took it upon themselves to spread their opinion over media.

“Imagine being the most famous poker player in the world at an event run by your sponsor, where you are there in an ambassadorial role. Then the podcast with the guys you don’t like wins, and you make an embarrassing show of yourself in front of a room full of people. Then you take to your own podcast and allude to subterfuge in the jury room to try to undermine the result. Then you take to twitter and make disgusting misogynistic comments about one of the host’s girlfriends. Well, you don’t have to imagine it. It actually happened, and it was beyond the Pale. But I guess he ultimately reaped what he sowed. The company that stood by while he black-faced finally had enough of his crap and canned him.”

September Will Be Jam-Packed with Live Poker

Now that season 10 of their show is ready to be aired, both Lappin and O’Kearney are about to dedicate their time to the passion they partake in when they are not talking about poker — playing poker. “Right now is the Unibet Belgian Poker Championships in Blankenberg. On the 10th of September comes the Unibet Open Malta and then on the heels of that is Unibet U.K. Tour Brighton and Unibet DSO Tallinn. October is just as crazy with the Battle of Malta; the Unibet Poker sponsored IPO in Dublin and the Malta Poker Festival in consecutive weeks. I’ll finally get to play some online poker in November before the Unibet Open Paris at the end of the month which, mark my words, is going to be the biggest Unibet Open of all time!”

Lappin Appreciates His Podcasting Team as Well as the Audience

When asked how does podcasting make him feel, Lappin answered as follows:

“That’s a wanky question, so you’re getting a wanky answer,” says Lappin. “It makes me feel grateful. I’m grateful to have any audience, let alone a tribe of over 15,000 who like and support what we do. I’m grateful for Willie, Daragh, Ian, Daiva, all the editors and anyone who has worked on the show over the years. I’m grateful to Unibet Poker – our old boss Dave Pomroy and our current boss Kris Bergvall, the events team and the marketing/social media team – who pay for everything and help us promote the show.”

He left his biggest thanks for the last, stressing the importance of the cooperation with his co-host, Dara O’Kearney.

“Most of all … I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with Dara. He always says I use at least one part of all my interviews into talk about our bromance, so I guess that’s this part. Dara is a phenomenal player, a superb coach, a talented writer and the best gosh-darn podcast co-host a fella could ask for.”

Source: https://calvinayre.com/2019/08/29/poker/dave-lappin-talks-season-10-of-the-chip-race-wanky-speeches-and-more/

About the author

Michaela Vavrusova

Michaela Vavrusova

Michaela is a freelance journalist, writer and a translator with passion for everything new. She has a university degree in Journalism and years of experience writing for various newspapers and magazines on a wide range of subjects. She takes her inspiration from travelling around the world discovering different cultures and lifestyles.

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