Anyone want 500 Winamax T-Shirts?

Part of my break from playing poker involves playing poker. For one hour a day I am playing low stakes PLO, simply because I used to know my way around the four card version of hold'em and all of a sudden I don't play it any more. Its quite fun, no pressure, makes a nice change and some of the guys I get coached with are taking it up too, so we are all dissecting hands together. Still staying away from hold'em for the time being, February will hopefully see my fortunes there spin in the right direction.

Started the long grind that is the book. 'Pokers Greatest Prop Bets' is the working title and this week has been the arduous task of compiling as many stories as possible before I start going out and interviewing players. It looks like I already have Ashley Revell (The guy that sold everything he owned and put it on one spin of the Roulette table) on board and I really want to get some time with Erick Lindgren about his golf bet. Obviously there are hundreds of other people, but those are probably my personal favourite stories and a good way to start.

Once again, if anyone can share with me prop bet stories I may not have heard of, even if its low stakes or quite simple stories, I'd love to hear them. Any time someone has uttered the words 'I bet you' in unusual circumstances is what I'm after.

Speaking of unusual circumstances, as you will recall I won my seat to the European Deepstacks next week on Winamax. As fate would have it, my French mate Benjo works for them and I joked with him that I didn't want to wear their gear in case anyone thought I was French.

So Imagine my surprise when three massive boxes turn up yesterday with about 500 Winamax T-shirts inside them. Talk about aggressive tactics to get me to endorse their poker room. Turns out it was some sort of comedy error on their part and a DHL guy is apparently coming round to fetch them (hasn't been yet, 2 days and counting) - he better hurry up because I already have had offers from Barry Neville and Mad Marty Wilson for them.

Bog Reading

I'm on one of my (increasingly regular) self imposed breaks from poker after the 'year of the run good' did not start well at all. I'll spare you the details but I ran awful and rightly cut my losses with my bankroll intact. Thankfully writing is going so well at the moment I've been very busy.

I actually got interviewed by an American sports radio show last week, which was a bit bizarre. Mainly giving them an insight into what UK poker was like for visiting Americans and generally disappointing the host no end when I revealed stud games were barely ever played in the UK and Ireland. I think its being broadcast next week and I think I probably dont sound that great because I could barely hear the guy most of the time.

I've been thinking about doing it for a few years and think 2009 will be the year I attempt it - a book. I know I have one in me, and being as I write about a billion words a month it shouldn't take forever. There are a million 'how to play poker' books out there and although I reckon I could write an OK one, whats the point? Its a really saturated market and I reckon the only way I could write a poker how to book that would sell would be if I ghost wrote one for an established and hugely successful player.

But I have had an idea for a few years now, one which I think people would buy and even non poker players would read. A book about the worlds greatest poker prop bets, a chosen specialist subject of mine. I think almost every poker player has took part in some stupid prop bet and of course, Amarillo Slim has a whole biography of them. I love prop bets as an observer and think there is so much material out there (I got a pen and paper out last night and wrote down 64 bookworthy prop bets from memory) and it would make great 'bog reading', ie. a book you could pick up and put down intermittently and still enjoy.

So thats going to be a little side project for me, I am going to be literally asking every poker player I know if they have any funny prop bet stories they would like to share, whether its themselves involved for just stories they've heard. I'd love anyone to drop me a line with any stories they may have of any silly wagers they have made, even if they were not high stakes, because they all make great 'bog reading'. The only stipulation is that they have to involve poker players (there are already books about silly wagers, but nothing about those made amongst poker players)

Cars/Dogs/Houses/Pokernews and not much poker

I was hoping for a nice quiet January, keep my head down, work hard, save money, go to the gym, watch TV and that's about it. But its been hectic from the start, thankfully mostly for the good.

The Car - sorted. The part cost me 70 quid in the end (Rather than the quoted £800) because I bought it online, a refurbished electric steering column with a 3 month guarantee, not bad. The labour cost me £180 (Not the quoted £400) from my Dad's mate Speedy. So all in all, I forked out £250 instead of the quoted £1200 and would once again reiterate that nobody use the Waggon & Horses Garage on Chesterfield Road in Sheffield. I now realise that the slimey gets were planning on either making a small fortune on the part or, more likely, wanting to buy my car on the cheap and do it up. I have since heard from a friend that they charged them £500 to fix a wire, which they still didn't fix and charged for anyway, and the wire itself seemed to do nothing.

Had a real shock the other day when the Tax Office told me I hadn't filed my tax return, which I submitted last April. That was a day spent panicking, frantically trying to knock a new one together online then at the last minute finding out my accountant (poker player Paul 'M3Boy' Garnham) did them at the last minute in January and I had nowt to worry about. That was a wasted day, but obviously a relief at the end.

One way to guarantee January wont be a quiet month is to move house and get a dog, but thats also on the menu. We've seen a new place that's almost perfect (No drive to park on, which is the only bummer) that we put a holding deposit on yesterday. We are moving (Renting) because we want to get a dog and this place is perfect: nice house, big garden and a stones throw from the local (Massive) park. Being self employed and a significant portion of my income from playing poker, the chances of me getting a good mortgage is slim in the current economic climate, which is a real shame because I have plenty of savings and I earn more than I ever have (and of course its a good time to buy) - hopefully they will loosen up lending in a year or two, by which time I'd like to have a massive deposit anyway.

No clue yet to what sort of dog, but probably a Black Labrador as they tick all the boxes. I have grown up with Old English Sheepdogs, which really are the friendliest dogs in the world but a little too big for our first dog, my girlfriend wants a Bassett Hound but they are a bit too lazy for my liking. Black Labradors are cute, medium sized, tame, well behaved, intelligent and hopefully just big enough to put off burgers.

I'm loving my work with UK Pokernews at the moment and was really surprised when I got a call up from the Big Leagues, the main Pokernews.com website. When Tony G asks you to do something you don't really say no and although I'm not sure what I will be doing yet, I love the site and will be pleased with a new writing challenge. I'm also going to be sticking around at UK Pokernews, which has become a little baby of mine, and will probably reduce the magazine side of things to accomodate it.

And finally, I have still barely played poker in 2009, currently a marginal winner over the few thousand hands Ive played. Hopefully ram a load in the next two weeks before I go to Dublin for the European Deepstack Championships.

Car Troubles

2009, the year of the run good, hasnt quite got off to the best start, nothing to do with bad luck or downswings, simply because I havent really played yet. I've been really busy writing and been having some car troubles, so that has been taking up most of my time. Whats more, I havent really wanted to play poker that much, largely because I've been busy but also a certain feeling of not wanting to throw myself back into the lions den again just yet. I played my first session yesterday and ended it two buy-ins down, mainly down to a few hero calls on my part rather than any big coolers, so 2009 can only get better at the tables.

Car trouble - I take my car into the nearest garage for its MOT, fully aware that I had a problem with the steering (veering to the left ever so slightly) - I get a call from them later saying 'you are in for a shock' and they proceed to tell me it will cost me £1200 for the parts and labour, new steering rack apparantly. I choose to mull it over for a few days and the guy tells me when I pick it up "I know someone that would buy this off you if you didnt want to get it fixed". Then my Dad kindly swings the car round to his mechanic friend and my girlfriend starts looking at parts on the internet. Turns out I actually just need a Steering Column, which cost about £60 and my Dads mate is going to fix it, for we reckon less than £200.

£1200! What a fucking shark, thats a GUKPT and travel expenses, I'm pretty certain he wanted to buy my car on the cheap because its in great condition, so I wont be using the Waggon & Horses in Chesterfield Road in Sheffield again, other than possibly for the MOT retest just to see the dodgy smirk on his face when I tell him I got it sorted for 1/6 of what he quoted. The part hasnt been fixed yet, so I cant help but think that the whole drama aint over yet. I hate cars.

I'm a writing machine at the moment, I sometimes get in these moods where I cant stop writing and I have loads of ideas running round my head and now is one of them, probably because one is being introspective after the end of the year. The durrrr challenge has been the only thing we have been writing about on Pokernews and yesterday I had to vet and rewrite a formula a chap called Sam Glasson made for us on how big his earn rate has to be for his challenge to be at least break even, my job was to make it sound simple enough for anyone to understand it. Hopefully I've done that but my god, my head is pounding, havent done that much maths since ever. The feature is here and I hope its correct.

Hopefully will start playing in some significant volume this coming week, as long as my car doesn't cause me anymore grief, and let the year of running good commence.
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