Archive for April, 2009

Three decades in…

April 27, 2009

Greetings poker fans and apologies for the lack of post on Friday – I did think, however it would make more sense to post after the weekend’s poker action at the GUKPT Manchester leg and the EPT San Remo.

So onto business:

First time’s a charm at the GUKPT

Unlike the 298 runners, I was unable to make it up to Manchester for the forth leg of the GUKPT due to work and partying commitments (it was my 30th birthday this weekend).

With £298,000 to play for and a seat in the £100,000 Champion of Champion’s tournament up for grabs the competition was always going to be fierce.

Some of the UK’s toughest pro’s were in attendance including:
Paul Jackson, Joe Grech, Dave Colclough, Surinder Sunar, Jeff Kimber, the Hit Squad’s Karl Marenholtz & James Akenhead, Leg 3 winner Martin Silke. Stuart Rutter, Ryan Fronda, Marc Goodwin. Ian Frazer and online whiz kid Chris Moorman.
With a field as a tough as this it was always going to be a tricky one to navigate, but in true tournament style – there can be only one…

And it was Simon Moorman (father of online tournament professional Chris Moorman) who walked away £88,630 richer.

GUKPT Manchester winner Simon Moorman. Images courtesy of GUKPT/Quentin Kozma

GUKPT Manchester winner Simon Moorman. Images courtesy of GUKPT/Quentin Kozma

Playing in only his second ever live tournament and first ever GUKPT, 52-year-old Simon from Essex defeated a final table featuring Surinder Sunar and GCBPT serial final tablist Dave Maudlin before triumphing over Finland’s Harri Isomaki (also playing in one of his first live tournaments after qualifying via an online freeroll for a 50,000% ROI…) after a short heads-up battle.

The irony of this cannot be lost on Moorman junior (Chris) who has so far been unable to translate his prolific online success to the live tournament scene, especially as it was Chris who bought his father into the tournament as a late birthday present.

“The only way I can top this is to win the main event of the World Series of Poker.” Chris commented afterwards.

The tour now moves on to Newcastle, where the 5th leg of this year tour will take place from the 18th-24th May, with the 4-day main event taking place from the 21st-24th.

Visit the GUKPT website for more details.
The Italian Job

On a more continental note, also on last week was the EPT San Remo main event where 1,178 players ponied up the €5,300 buy-in to compete in what has officially become the biggest major poker tournament ever held in Europe.

With an eye-poppingly massive prize pool of € 5,713,300 to play for and a star studded field to play through, this was always going to be a high calibre tournament, hence the picturesque wealthy setting – San Remo is just a 30-minute drive from Monte Carlo.

As well as the obligatory collection of ultra-aggressive Scandies including EPT winner Andreas Hoivold, young Mr Albert Iversen (see my forthcoming interview with him in Poker Pro Europe) fellow Dane Jesper Hougaard and 2007 WSOPE winner Annette Obrestad there was also a plethora of representatives from a multitude of countries.

Representing the US was last year’s winner Jason Mercier, Greg ‘Fossil Man’ Raymer and Chad Brown. Winner of the EPT Dortmund leg Sandra Naujoks was in attendance as were fellow Germans Benjamin Kang, Jan Heitmann and George Danzer.

EPT regulars such as Marcel Luske, Patrik Antonius were in attendance on Day 1B as well as Bill ‘The Mathematics of Poker’ Chen, WSOP champion Peter Eastgate, Ireland’s Marty Smyth, Liam Flood and Tony Cascarino, Wales’ John Tabatabai and Roberto Romanello, online super sicko Ben ‘Milkybar Kid’ Grundy, Richard Ashby, 2007 GUKPT champ Mike Ellis and I believe that Richard Kellett told me he was planning to play as well as many, many others.

In fact I could go on to list a whole host of different names from many, many different countries but I’m not going to as it would take up loads of space and not actually be that interesting, after all it is the action and adventure that actually matters.

EPT San Remo winner Constant Rijkenberg

EPT San Remo winner Constant Rijkenberg

And it was Dutchman Constant Rijkenberg who bagged the €1,508,000 first prize beating Finland’s Kalle Niemi heads-up in just five hands.

The 20-year-old Dutchman from Amsterdam is an economics student so I’m sure he will have plenty of plans to invest his winnings productively, probably none of which will involve blowing the lot playing ultra-high stakes.

The next leg the EPT Grand Final kicks off tomorrow (28th April) so it’ll just be the small matter of relocating the 1,778 poker players up the road to Monte Carlo for the €10,600 tournament and more fast and furious action.

Visit the EPT homepage here for more info.

No rest for the wicked

On a work related note I am busy with a Roland de Wolfe and Juha Helppi interview which should be appearing in Poker Pro Europe at some point in the next few months – I’ll keep you posted.

It looks like a busy couple of weeks for me as I attempt to clear my current workload before heading off to Sin City (Las Vegas, not Frank Miller’s black and white comic book dystopia) for a working holiday involving poker… lots of poker.

Also, big thanks to UK poker pundit Barry Carter for helping me sell some of my work and for all his invaluable advice on making it in the cut throat world of poker journalism.

Stay tuned poker fans – there will be more blogage as I have many more articles to sell. After all life (so I am told by my older friends) begins at 30 – so today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Wrestling With The Prose

April 22, 2009

Well, just finished the first of my many Irish Open features and am part way through another… It’s a good thing I like writing 😉

Unlike wrestling with the pros, you are unlikely to seriously hurt yourself when wrestling with prose – although I have noticed a disturbing tendency for my eyes to bleed if I squint too hard at the screen… Looks like a career as a Bond villain is assured; now all I have to do is call massive all-ins with Ace Six off-suit on the Button…

Just been reading the latest copy of WPT mag – I did quite like their feature on classic poker film hands but noticed a couple of omissions which I felt needed a mention (and perhaps a slating…)

The Sting (1973)

Floyd: “Doyle, I KNOW I gave him four THREES. He had to make a switch. We can’t let him get away with that.”
Doyle: “What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?”

 Eat your heart out 'The Real Hustle' Paul Newman did it first...

Eat your heart out 'The Real Hustle' Paul Newman did it first...

Any movie with Paul Newman in is always pretty classy, after all how can a man who uttered the immortal line: “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned…” do wrong?

(Bonus points for any who can name the film the above line comes from. Answers on a postcard ;))

This has to be one of my favourite poker scenes ever in a movie, where Chicago conman Gondorff (Paul Newman) is setting up an elaborate con against mob banker Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw – who also plays Quint in Jaws).

After Gondorff sends his girlfriend to steal Lonnegan’s wallet on the New York to Chicago train, he then proceeds to buy into Lonnegan’s private poker game with the guy’s own money. Now that is what I call a freeroll…

Being as Mr Newman’s character is a bit of a card sharp he proceeds to rinse the game for some serious cash, also finding time to hand out some classy rub-downs; a true professional 😉

Obviously irritated by this flash, smug player, Lonnegan switches decks (the old cold deck scam) to “bust that bastard bookie in one play”.

This is where it gets really classy, heralding back to the ‘old days’ of poker where cheating was as much a part of the game as card sense. It’s always tough to cheat a cheater though as Lonnegan finds much to his ire; Gondorff uses some slight of hand magic to win the hand and sting Lonnegan for $15,000 – which Lonnegan obviously can’t afford to pay as he’s had his wallet pinched…

Not being able to accuse Newman’s character of being an out and out cheat without revealing himself to be an unscrupulous cheating son of a bitch as well, Lonnegan is forced to bite the bullet, pay the debt, and is now easily manipulated into getting stung in an elaborate scam…

This is classy old school draw poker and cheating at it’s finest, and while I’m not in anyway advocating this as ok – it is a pretty damn good movie.

Lucky You (2007)

L. C. Cheever: You and I both know what the book says you should do, Kid.
Huck Cheever: Is that what you do now? Just play by the book? You might as well play online.

Don't make me angry and crack my Aces - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

Don't make me angry and crack my Aces - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

Unlucky you if you wasted the two hours needed to watch this rather lacklustre romantic poker comedy.
That’s a whole two hours you’ll never see again folks… I don’t know what your ROI and hourly rate at the cash tables is but I seriously considered invoicing the production company for loss of earnings and a severe cheese allergy.

The words romance, poker and comedy don’t really fit together that well… ask any poker player, the only regulars I see at my poker tables are overweight miserable old grinders – granted I don’t live in Vegas, but still, not the best combination for a film.

While some of the poker in this film is pretty realistic (most to be fair, though there is more than the odd ‘cheesy moment’) the final scene…

***Spoiler Alert*** (although you will thank me for this in the long run, now you don’t have to watch the film.)

God, where to start… Not that I didn’t appreciate the cameo by John Hennigan (aka ‘Johnny World’ because he will apparently bet on anything in the world…) that was kinda cool.

No the worst bit, the absolute out and out ridiculous scream ‘fuck off’ out loud in disbelief moment comes right near the end when our hero Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) folds (yes folds…) Pocket Aces on the least scary looking board… ever… to his father L.C Cheever who has… Pocket Kings.

Load. Of. Shite.

Now obviously that’s not the most objective statement in the world but surely even Doyle Brunson (who was the poker consultant) would give his son Todd a clip around the ear if he did that at the final table of the World Series of Poker.

Let me reiterate: the FINAL TABLE of the WSOP…
And the film says soft playing is okay…

Not cool, and not realistic…

Ok, rant over.

Razor Sharp Prose

On a work related and shameless self-publicity note – we have ignition!

Yes that’s right folks, my freelance website is now officially online, slightly delayed due to some technical issues, but online nevertheless.

Check it out:
(I also have but that is giving me some grief at the moment, though it will all be working very soon.)

My shiny new freelance website

My shiny new freelance website

Feel free to check it out – all constructive criticism welcome, you can also check out some of my past work for the various poker mags I’ve written for…

Also, the latest copy of WPT is out (issue 42 with the Devilfish on the front cover) and this has my Pro on Pro feature with James Dempsey (aka ‘Flushy’) and Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough.

I think they’ll be putting it up on their website soon so will post up a link if and when they do. Link through to the feature here.

Well, I’ve still got me a great deal of writing to do folks, though a will be posting up a UK poker news update (nothing to do with the Poker News website at all) on my blog here at the end of the week – most probably Friday.

Tune in for updates and the happenings of the UK poker scene.

And don’t fold Pocket Aces to your dad at the final table of the WSOP, ever…

Irish Open Aftermath

April 15, 2009

Well the dust has settled, I’m back in sunny Wales and we have our 2009 Irish Open champion.

Congratulations to Christer Johansson who bagged himself a bankroll boosting €600,000 for his four days of hard play. The 39-year old Swede is a well-known online cash game specialist who plays under the handle ‘sendmemore’. Johansson triumphed over a professional-heavy field of 700 players, including such stars as Dan Harrington, Jamie Gold, Phil Laak, Marty Smyth, Ciaran O’Leary and Neil Channing.

TV presenter and former model Kara Scott finished in second place, taking home €312,600, with Andrew Pantling receiving €205,200 for third – which just goes to show that a monster chip lead will get you far, but won’t guarantee you the win. Such is the fickle nature of tournament poker.

It was a great weekend’s poker and the atmosphere surrounding the final table and the tournament was great. The Irish are always ultra-friendly and certainly know how to have fun.

As Phil Laak also pointed out to me over the weekend, the creamy froth on the head of a pint of Guinness is a miraculous invention and it is in fact true that Guinness tastes better in Ireland.

While my own time spent at the tables over the weekend (after I’d done all my work obviously…) may not have won me €600,000 I did actually manage to finish up.

Granted it was only €50 up for the whole weekend but a win’s a win as they say.
It was all going so well but a disastrous session at the tables on the Friday night saw myself and GCBPT Liverpool champ Zach Ford get crunched by some crazy Asian woman who was hitting every flop in sight; call a re-re-raise with King Jack, flop the nuts, call a raise with Ace Jack make quads… and it went downhill from there. In fact, the highlight of the evening’s play was retiring to the bar. Still, I was getting paid to be there as well so life’s not all bad 🙂

And on a positive note, I think I managed to drink my body-weight in Guinness.

Back To The Grind

Work-wise I have features and interviews coming out of my ears, but as any freelancer will tell you – this is a good thing 😉

I’m currently working on the interview I did with Albert Iversen and it looks like I’ve got that one sold so will let you know when it’s coming out.

I’ve also sold the Phil Laak feature and that’ll be published around summer time, probably towards the middle of June.

My website goes live at some point tomorrow (fingers crossed) though this is obviously based on no technical issues which always have a nasty habit of arising just when you least expect it.
Check it out:
I’ll stick a link up to it in the side bar of my blog when it goes live.

Off to the big smoke (that’ll be London) on Friday for some more work and a meeting with the editor of a new poker title – I’ll let you know more closer to the launch date.

I may or may not be going to the GUKPT Manchester, it’s all work dependent so I will be grinding hard for the next couple of weeks.

On a poker playing related note, I might even find time to play in my local deep-stack event on Thursday – the £60+5.50 10,000 starting stack at the Grosvenor, Cardiff Bay.
Being as I won this when I played in it two weeks ago, I’ll certainly be looking to repeat chance – fingers crossed…

Keep it real folks, and if all else fails, try Wales 😉

2009 Paddy Power Irish Open Final Table

April 13, 2009

Well here we are folks – out of the 701 runners we are down to our final 8:

Andrew Pantling         2,286,000
Lee Brooke-Pearce      998,000
Atanas Gueorguiev     990,000
Christer Johansson     755,000
Kara Scott                     701,000
William Kassouf         569,000
Andy Bradshaw         351,000
Bradley Verburg         217,000

Canadian Andrew Pantling has been our chip leader for the last two days and showed no signs of relinquishing his monster lead early doors.
Action has been fast and furious and we lost two players in the first orbit of the table.

First to go was Brit Andy Bradshaw who took down the first pot with Ace Jack. After looking down to see Ace Queen on the very next hand Andy raised again 124,000 total (with blinds at 12,000/24,000) only to see Bulagrian Atanas Gueorguiev shove all-in over the top.

Andy snap called and was understandably dismayed to see Atanas flip over Pocket Kings. There was no help for the friendly Northerner on the flop, turn or river and he was out in eighth place – still €56,000 should take the edge off a little.

Bradley Verburg was next to go – his all-in shove with Ace Two called by chip leader Pantling holding the mighty King Jack. A Jack on the flop put Pantling in front and no Ace come the river saw Bradley out in seventh for €74,000 for his four days work.

William Kassouf was next to fall to a spot of cold decking; after Atanas’ under-the-gun raise William shoved with Pocket Jacks only to see Atanas snap call with Pocket Queens. Despite turning an open-ended straight draw a blank on the river saw him out in 6th with €100,900 as recompense.

After being crippled losing a huge pot when his Pocket Jacks were out-flopped by the King Queen of Christer Johansson, Englishman Lee Brooke-Pearce was left with just a bowl of rice that he shipped on the next hand. Unfortunately his Eight Five of diamonds was no match for the King Ten of Andrew Pantling and Lee was out in fifth for €130,600.

Some stellar play on the part of the lovely Kara Scott has seen here edge into the chip lead as we take a break:

Kara Scott: 1,996,000
Andrew Pantling: 1,989,000
Christer Johansson: 1,407,000
Atanas Gueorguiev: 1,626,000

Unfortunately being as my flight is in a couple of hours I’ll leave you in the capable hands of the Paddy Power blogging team and the live feed for all your action updates.

Unabomber Caught

After days of patient stalking I tracked down Phil ‘the unabomber’ Laak for an interview – I sneakily waited until he was getting his portrait done and couldn’t escape my clutches ;).

Stalking the Unabomber

Stalking the Unabomber

As well as revealing his Irish heritage (he has dual citizenship) he revealed that he is a bit of a space cadet (his words, not mine) and an all-round off the wall kinda guy. We talked about Polaris and he openly admitted that he’d play poker in a cave in Outer Mongolia if that’s where the action was.

Well after an excellent weekend of poker I’ll be returning to sunny Wales with my interviewage where I’ll be spending the rest of the week glued to my computer working.

Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted with my progress and let you know when and where my features will be appearing.

Irish Open Day Three Updates

April 12, 2009

The action’s really starting to heat up here at the Paddy Power Irish Open 2009 – with only 22 players left out of the 701 runners everybody will get at least €13,400 for their troubles, apart from German online qualifier Marcel Koch…

As the last remaining Paddy Power qualifier he has bagged himself a tasty extra €100,000 for winning their Sole Survivor promotion.

My clairvoyant abilities continue to grow in stature – after our interview yesterday the young Danish player Albert Iversen has been crunching the tournament and eliminating players left, right and centre.

His stack is now up past the 755,000 mark and he is running pretty hot – remember folks, you read it here first 😉

Canadian born poker player, journalist and TV presenter Kara Scott is enjoying a deep run, although is looking a tad short sitting on a stack of around 160k (the average is around 318k). Still she won’t have done her professional reputation or bank account any harm with her 22nd place or better guarantee.

The tournament chip leader is another Canadian poker professional – Andrew Pantling – and he has been pretty much bossing his table all day. So far Mr Pantling and Mr Iversen have not been at the same table, but if either player gets moved to the same table we could definitely see some sparks flying.


Another player who has been causing the sparks to fly is UK based player Andy Bradshaw, who has been on the televised feature table all day accompanied by a bunch of bananas (11 in total, one for each level, although he has managed to sell three of them already for a tidy profit of €3 – nice work if you can get it ;))

Mr Bradshaw has already had a few disagreements with another player at the feature table whose phone rang mid-hand. After kindly telling the guy not to answer it or his hand would be dead, the gentleman in question did and his hand ended up dead – the two players both seem to be doing an excellent job of winding each other up. Check out the live feed.

Neil Channing has just informed me life is good after realising that all the players he took bets on last night have been eliminated.
He and fellow poker pro Nik Persaud are preparing for the launch of their new Blackbeltpoker website feel free to check it out, it goes live in two weeks I believe.

Pro on Pro

True to my word I managed to track down both Roland De Wolfe and Juha Helppi for an entertaining ‘Pro on Pro’ interview. Obviously I don’t want to give too much away but thoroughly enjoyed the banter the two of them had. Roland admitted he is a sick individual, and that Juha is 32, dresses like he’s 42 and plays like he’s 72…

Hard at work rubbing shoulders with Juha Helppi and Roland de Wolfe

Hard at work rubbing shoulders with Juha Helppi and Roland de Wolfe

In true professional style I managed to not puke all over the table of the Citywest’s Asian restaurant while the two of them enjoyed their sushi (shudder… I’m not the biggest fan of fish so raw fish didn’t really appeal :().

Also managed to bump into Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly in the same restaurant and he promised me an interview a bit later on so I’ll keep you posted.

Jamie Gold also seemed keen – he’s currently bossing his table in the €1,500 freeze-out. Interestingly, he revealed to Ireland’s Andy Black that the new rule changes in the WSOP (no talking during a hand in the tournaments) are all because of him – he seemed genuinely disgusted with the fact that he couldn’t use his poker banter to get additional reads on players, and to be fair – how much fun is poker if you can’t talk? You might as well just play on the Goddamn internet…

Right, well the tourney has just restarted after the dinner break, so perversely; I’m off to get some dinner.

More updates later…

Paddy Power Irish Open 2009 Updates

April 11, 2009

More action and adventure as the 2009 Paddy Power Irish Open continues.

Some big names have fallen by the wayside including Roland De Wolfe, Dan Harrington, Andy Black and Donnacha O’Dea.

There are 138 players out of the starting 701 entries and with €600,000 on offer for first place there is still fortune and glory to play for.

The UK’s Andy Bradshaw returned today as one of the chip leaders but has unfortunately gone out just before the dinner break. Actually correction there – Mr Bradshaw is still going strong and is in fact on the feature table as we speak (as of 14:39 Sunday 12th – well can’t be right all the time :()

The always-friendly Jon Kalmar has also gone along with around 100 others as we draw ever closer to crunch time.

Ciaran O’Leary has also hit the rail running into every tournament players worst nightmare; the dreaded Aces vs. Kings scenario with all the money in the middle pre-flop.

Read more about Ciaran’s exploits here at the Paddy Power Irish Open blog.

The €300 Omaha re-buy is in full swing with 115 players gambling with reckless abandon including Ireland’s Andy Black and the UK’s Dave Colclough.

Harrington on Hold ‘Em

Despite his exit from the tournament yesterday, I caught up with an extremely friendly Dan Harrington this morning, who gave me a great interview.

Harrington on Hold'Em

Harrington on Hold'Em

Without too many spoilers it was a really good interview where he revealed just what his fellow pro’s thought about him giving away valuable poker trade secrets to the general public, how he’s had to change his style since the release of his books, and why poker is just like business.

I’ll be transcribing the interview up just as soon as I return to the UK so watch this space for updates.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing a young up-and-coming Danish player by the name of Albert Kirk Iversen who has been destroying the high-stakes heads-up online cash games.

What’s that you say? Another ridiculously aggressive Scandie… but seriously this kid seems really focused and with three WSOP cashes (including a 3rd in the $1000 NLHE event) and a 4th place finish in the Budapest leg of the EPT it is only a matter of time before this guy takes down a major tournament and wins himself some silverware.

As well as discussing how to deal with 400k down swings and talking metagame, Albert revealed just how much work you have to put into the game to be successful at the top level. He’s currently in the midst of going deep in this years Irish Open so stay tuned for updates or check out the action on the Paddy Power blog.

On The Prowl For The Big Bad Wolf

With some great interviews bagged already, I’m obviously still eager for more so am in the middle of attempting to collar the infamous Roland De Wolfe for an interview – maybe even a ‘Pro on Pro’ interview with Interpoker sponsored Finnish poker pro Juha Helppi.

I spotted Roland playing Chinese poker in the Citywest’s lobby earlier so will see what I can do.

Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak is still in the main event with around 40k in chips, so I’ll have to lurk on the sidelines to get an interview with him, but will be trying my hardest.

Jamie Gold is around as well so I’ll see if I can work my Welsh wizardry and pin him down for interview.

WSOPE 2007 runner-up John Tabatabai (a fellow Cardiff boy no less :)) has escaped my interview clutches this time around… next time gadget, next time… by escaping back to London to terrorise the internet once again, but as I’m in London next week for business it looks like I’ll be able to get an interview sorted with him as well – he seemed very amiable about the whole thing.

I’m off to grab me some of the Citywest’s fine cuisine so have to keep this blog entry like a pair of pants – brief.

Tune in tomorrow for more blogage.

Irish Open Action

April 10, 2009

We have ignition -– the 2009 Irish Open has kicked off with 701 players competing for a slice of the €2.2 million prize pool.

The 2009 Irish Open gets going

The 2009 Irish Open gets going

The Irish old guard are out in force with players like Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood and Padraig Parkinson rubbing shoulders with WSOP Omaha champion and Irish Open 2007 winner Marty Smyth, WSOP bracelet winner Ciaran ‘Big C’ O’Leary and Andy ‘The Mad Monk’ Black and his ultra-fuzzy beard which he probably could have registered separately.

'Networking' with Ciaran 'Big C' O'Leary at the 2009 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open

'Networking' with Ciaran 'Big C' O'Leary at the 2009 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open

Also in attendance is ‘Action’ Dan Harrington complete with trademark green Boston Red Sox hat, Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak with his trusty hoodie and 2006 WSOP main event champion Jamie Gold.

Internet high-stakes whiz kid Brian Townsend flew all the way over from his new UK home only to take the dubious honours of being the tournament’s first casualty; running his set of Fives into a set of Aces on the feature table and busting out on level one… ouch!

Some of the UK’s top players are also in attendance including: Full Tilt Red Pro Richard ‘Chufty’ Ashby, Marc Goodwin, Ryan Fronda, Hit Squad members Karl Marenholtz and James Akenhead, Gala Nottingham champion Rupinder ‘George’ Bedi, Gala Liverpool champion Zach Ford, serial GUKPT casher Nik Persaud, WPT winner Surinder Sunar and Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman.

Flying the flag for Wales is Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough and 2007 WSOPE runner-up and serial raiser John Tabatabai, let’s see if we have more luck here than we did in the Six Nations…

Check out the action via Paddy Power’s live feed here or follow the highs and lows of Europe’s largest poker tournament at the Irish Open blog.

Craic Dealing…

The atmosphere at the Open is always friendly, which may or may not have something to do with the craic that is seemingly in abundance. I couldn’t find any… although I did manage to continue my stunning run of tournament form, managing to get knocked out of the media event after about two hours; getting all the money in the middle pre-flop and running my Ace King in to Pocket Jacks, which quickly became quad Jacks… not good. 😦

Fortunately the kind Paddy Power PR guy Paul Burke took pity on me and fed me pints of Guinness until I couldn’t walk or talk properly (called networking in the trade I believe ;)) and then I proceeded to hit the cash tables… possibly not the best idea I’ve ever had, but a lucrative one nevertheless as I sucked my way out to glory and a nice €300 profit. Tidy!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ladbrokes sponsored player Jon Kalmar today discovering that:

Interviewing Jon Kalmar

Interviewing Jon Kalmar

He is one of poker’s genuine nice guys but will call you a moron if you upset him at the tables (no, it wasn’t me).

He actually used to be a singer in a punk band.

Check out his blog – and I’ll also be posting a link to it in the side bar alongside Ciaran O’Leary’s blog so feel free to peruse at your leisure.

I’ll be pimping out the article next week or so, along with all the other interviews I have lined up so stay tuned and I’ll keep you guys posted.

If things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I should be interviewing Dan Harrington tomorrow and hopefully Phil Laak, Jamie Gold and Brian Townsend, unless of course he’s already left due to his early exit.
Unfortunately Tony G was unable to attend so I won’t be interviewing him this weekend – but rest assured he will be tracked down and brought to a magazine article near you… soon.

More updates to follow over the weekend as I continue my assault on the cash tables and conduct more player interviews (though not at the same time, obviously).

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.

Getting down with the sickness…

April 7, 2009

So… Welcome to my blog; let’s get right into it and start getting down with the sickness…

As a qualified professional and self-confessed poker degenerate, it’s been a busy few weeks for me both on and off the poker tables.

While I’ll be mentioning certain poker websites and providing links through to all topics I tend to talk about, please be aware that this is not just shameless plugging – I receive nothing for getting you guys to check out any of the links I provide, it’s just me being thorough.
(Obviously I’m not responsible for any content I myself don’t post, and if you sign up to one of these online poker rooms on the ol’intermawebthingy and lose a shed load, that’s not my fault either. ;))

RazorSharpProse and WPT

I’m currently in the midst of revamping and launching my freelance website – (be aware that it doesn’t go live until next week) – here you can check out some of the articles and interviews I’ve written for WPT magazine, Poker News and see some of the articles I have awaiting publication for the new and redesigned Players Publishing World Poker Tour magazine.

I’ll be keeping my blog updated with what forthcoming features I have pending and for whom, for any and all interested fans of the beautiful game of poker.

I have an upcoming Pro on Pro interview with Welsh poker wizard and mean Omaha player Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough and James ‘Flushey’ Dempsey that’ll be in the next issue of WPT (issue 42, on sale in the next two weeks I believe)– it’s quite an interesting one where Dave and James discuss the changing face of the game and how to adapt and be successful in the modern game. Link through to the feature online at the WPT website here.

You can check out WPT’s shiny new magazine website here:
Feel free to chip in with some feedback (though I would prefer constructive criticism rather than being flamed…)

GUKPT Updates

Poker-wise, I have just returned from a lucrative working trip to the GUKPT London leg at the Victoria Casino.

Congratulations to Richard Kellett on taking down the £200 re-buy and winning himself the an extremely tasty £26,350 – I had the pleasure of interviewing Rich at the GCBPT Grand Final at the Harborside Casino in Bristol at Christmas and figured it was just a matter of time before he took down a decent live tournament (of course 15th place at the EPT Dortmund is nothing to be sniffed at either…).

I even found time to call in at The Empire Casino in Leicester Square, home of the WSOPE for a hit and run on the cash tables with partner in crime, PLO degenerate and fellow Tafia member Neil ‘6-card’ Shellard.
This coincided nicely with a chance to catch up with their new card room supervisor Alistair Watt – he has been running the Gala’s Harbourside Casino cardroom with aplomb for quite some time so I’m sure his new role at the Empire can only be a good thing for London based poker players.

It’s all about the APAT

The Amateur Poker Association Tour (APAT) hit Cardiff this weekend (3rd April), bringing some great deep-stack play to my local cardroom.
The APAT has gone from strength to strength and, now in its third year is doing great things for the UK’s amateur poker scene.

Congratulations to Dean Saunders (no, not the ex-Welsh footballer) and Jon O’Neill, the only Cardiff players to make it deep in the main event – with 6th and 7th place respectively to fly the flag for the Welsh boys, but it was Simon Auckland who took down his first big live tournament win and £3,200 for first place.
Follow the action and the updates here:

It was also a great excuse to catch up with the Leicester boys, GCBPT champs Rupinder ‘George’ Bedi and Neil Blatchly who were down to compete for a share of the £12,150 prize pool.
I took the opportunity to take the boys out on the town for a few beers where I discovered:

1.) That despite winning the GCBPT Nottingham and taking down 7th place in the Pokerstars Sunday Million guaranteed for $28k, George can’t drink for shit 🙂

2.) Neil thinks gin and tonic is a girl’s drink… but it’s ok to drink Bacardi…

Coral Announce Poker Tour

Fans of the GCBPT will be pleased to note that Coral have picked up the reins where Gala left off; the announcement of the British Masters Poker Tour has nicely filled the gap left after Gala’s departure from the £500 tournament buy-in market.

With six dates announced, the tour kicks off next month in Edinburgh, and in addition to the £500 two-day main event also has a £200 and £100 one-day freeze-out on the Friday and Sunday respectively.

Check out the website for updates and information – with the Gala Tour selling out most legs I’m sure the Coral Tour will be just as well received.

The boys at and A World of Poker (AWOP – will be covering the event with a full live stream, and if it works half as well as it did at the GCBPT Grand Final in Bristol then it’ll be some great viewing.

You can qualify online via the Coral Poker website for as little as nothing, as they will be running freerolls online at at 6pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday along with a number of $5 and $10 qualifiers – though you could always buy into the online final directly for $75+5.

Visit for more details.

Neil Blatchly tells me he will definitely be playing the Bristol Harbourside leg in October to defend his title and I’m sure the tour will be every bit as successful and popular as the Gala tour.
Hell, I might even stretch to playing in one or two myself – that is if I’m not covering them for work… It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it 😉

Irish Open beckons

I’m heading over to Ireland on Thursday for the Irish Open, and after covering PaddyPower’s Irish Winter Festival last October, am really looking forward to returning to Dublin for the craic (no, not the kind you smoke).

With big name players of the calibre of Tony G (“Bring me more Russians…”), Brian ‘Sbrugby’ Townsend and the squeezeplay pioneer himself, Mr Dan Harrington it should be a great weekend.

I’ll be doing my utmost to interview those three so will keep you posted with updates over the weekend – expect interviews… coming soon to a magazine near you.

Feel free to leave comments and questions you want me to ask them, after all – how often do you get a chance to ask the author of one of the greatest tournament books of all time questions about everything and anything…

I’m sure Ireland’s finest (yes that’ll be Marty Smyth, Big C O’Leary and Padraig Parkinson to name but a few) will be out in force to defend their honour and make sure that Europe’s largest and oldest poker tournament title remains in Irish hands.

As far as I’m aware there’s still time to qualify – check out the PaddyPower website for more details:

I’m pretty sure that they’re still running online qualifiers – the Irish Open Last Chance Saloon, a series of $300 + $20 ticket-only satellites.

The four Last Chance Saloon grand final tournaments are scheduled April 5th – 8th at 8.30pm, with feeder satellites running from April 3rd. One Irish Open main event ticket will be awarded for every $4,650 in the prizepool.

Winners of the Last Chance Saloon will also qualify for the poker room’s €100,000 Sole Survivor promotion, which will award a €100,000 package to the longest-lasting online qualifier at the Irish Open.

Irish Open Last Chance Saloon satellite tournaments can be accessed via the poker software lobby; select ‘Scheduled MTT’s’, ‘Specials’ and then the ‘Irish Open’ tab.

I get to play in a media freeroll for a seat in the main event myself so fingers crossed… How good are poker journalists at actually playing cards anyway…

I’m sure I’ll also receive some friendly banter about the men in green’s recent Grand Slam glory at the expense of the mighty Wales – but power to them, 60+ years is a long time to wait between Slams, and the atmosphere in Cardiff was electric all day.

Well, that’s it for today’s instalment poker fans; stay tuned over the weekend for on the spot updates from Dublin’s CityWest Hotel where the Guinness should be flowing and the chips flying.