And Now for a bit of Name Dropping

Things are getting really hectic, in the good way, at the moment. Pokernews is taking up a lot of my time and on top of that, we are moving this week to our new home (Which will be the home of our new dog when he get it). I hate moving so much but we are doing it gradually which has taken the sting out of it, hopefully we will be able to get the internet up and running within a few days as its obviously my livelihood.

The writing side of things is going really well and I have been quite honoured to have been picked to follow Patrik Antonius for the duration of his durrrr challenge and interview him once a week for the next 3-6 months. I'm not the biggest fan of interviewing people but to be so close to what will probably be remembered as the biggest story of the year for online poker is a real honour and I'm so pleased to be a part of it. I spoke to him today for the first time and he seems like a nice guy, so now I am routing for him in the challenge (Don't really want to ring him up on the wrong end of a million dollar downswing.

Speaking of the multi-millionaire Scandie poker legends, I've also been speaking with Gus Hansen and Theo Jorgensen this week on the eve of their boxing match this weekend. I am an absolute boxing nut, so this really caught my eye, especially as I am hopefully going to be writing this prop bet book this year. Having seen many a amateur boxing match between two untrained fighters, this certainly wont be a classic, but both men are in good shape and taking it serious, so it will be very interesting at least.

In a sadder moment, when I was talking to Gus today he mentioned Patrik Antonius and I shamelessly said "Oh yeah, I was talking to Patrik earlier" like I knew him. What a sad twat I am, namedropping to someone I spoke to his friend.

Finally I have some really exciting news, or at least news I find exciting, which I currently have to keep under wraps until next month. So really I didn't need to write this paragraph at all, but keep an eye out for this blog in March when I shall reveal all.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I had it coming; I have nobody to blame but myself.

Feeling smug, I changed my profile status on facebook on Monday to read something along the lines of Barry doesn’t care about the snow because he works from home , I felt at the time that I might have tempted fate somewhere. It appears that it stopped me from playing the European Deepstack Poker Championships today.

I organised my taxi to take me to the train station yesterday on Wednesday night, the woman on the phone advised I book it an hour before my train was set to set off, so I booked it for 8.15am, feeling content that I would invariably get there way too early and be bored, but secure that I was getting there no problem. So naturally I was a bit worried when my taxi driver eventually turned up at 9.00am.

Somehow he got to the station for 9.18am and I had just missed the train, amazing I got there at all because he couldn’t appear to drive at all, so in the snow I guess I am lucky I am still alive at all. The next train wasn’t till 10.11am and my flight was at 12.15pm. This was not good, I am very anally retentive in this department and I am never late for anything, in fact I am usually painfully early for things as important as a plane. I had to buy another train ticket for about £20 too.

The train arrived in Manchester Airport at 11.25 and I would love to say I sprinted, but my suitcase was way too heavy and instead adopted a quick, camp, waddle to the Aer Lingus desk, where I discovered the check in desk shut at 11.30, it was 11.31 and I was told I wasn’t getting my flight. I’d love to say I shouted at the woman, used my most manly voice to put her in her place, but instead I begged like a hungry dog until she reopened the desk.

I had to shell out £15 to get my luggage fasttracked on the plane but now I had another problem, the printer for the boarding pass suddenly stopped working. The woman had to keep changing the computer she was using and get about three of her colleagues to try and rectify the problem, all the time muttering to herself “he is going to miss this flight”. Thankfully we overheard the plane was delayed and she managed to manually produce me a boarding pass and the sprint (Sorry, camp waddle) was back on.

I haven’t been in Manchester Airport for a while and they have completely changed the way Terminal 1 is organised, so I got a bit lost but made it just in time to see the departure lounge to see the flight was still delayed “Thank god” I thought, feeling victorious I made it and relieved I can go and relax, get a coffee and calm down.

Two hours later, they announced the flight was cancelled.

They gathered us into a departure lounge (When I say us, I am also including those two twins that were on Big Brother a few years ago, I always see (vaguely) famous people at Manchester Airport, I saw Tyrone from Coronation Street, Keith Duffy from Boyzone and the thin bloke from Gavin and Stacy) and told us that Dublin Airport was closed and we had to go back into the main part of the Airport.
Everybody started smiling, joking and generally taking the news in good British and irish spirit, all of us acknowledging nothing could be done with good gentle gallows humour.

Step forward a big, fat, ginger, curly haired, bearded, chav, scouser who interrupted saying “sorry, I missed the start, what are we talking about?”

“Well sir, the flight has been cancelled....”

“Cancelled???? I need to get to Dublin, and I need to get there NOW!” he screamed louder than anyone has screamed on the show ‘Airport’

“There are some later flights, but its first come first served....”

“I’m first, I’m FUCKING FIRST”

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhh” came the assembled noise of about 20 senior citizens, as he stormed off effing and jeffing, punching the air and hurling abuse at anyone who would look at him.

I detest people like this, people who throw the dummy out, disrupt everyone elses journey and expect a customer services rep to be able to solve a weather problem hundreds of miles away. People like this are what’s wrong with the world, those that cannot see the world beyond their own nose.

So with that, it was back to the Aer Lingus desk to book in for the 10.20pm flight (It was about 2pm at this point). We all managed to get on the next flight and I was left wondering what to do for the next 8 hours. (Walking about aimlessly it would appear to be the crux of it)

During one of my many wanders around, I checked my emails on my phone to find out one of the many poker media outlets I write for might be no more. I can’t say anything more about that at the moment (It’s not a particularly big one) but it was great to hear about a nice little loss in revenue during my limbo period inside Manchester Airport.

Eventually I went and got something to eat, then found a nice hotel bar, plonked my stuff down, wired my laptop up, shelled out an obscene amount for the internet usage and started getting drunk and surfing the net. I was actually starting to relax a little, discovered that ice on the runway had temporarily closed Dublin airport, and started looking forward to the competition.

Until about 6pm when I found out that Dublin Airport was closed for the rest of the day and my flight was, once again, cancelled. I went back to the Aer Lingus desk (Say it aint so Are Lingus) and found out that I probably couldn’t get another flight till late afternoon the next day, so alas, I resigned to giving up.

I had to buy another train ticket, because the return I bought was for Monday, and I reckon I wasted about £100 on nothing yesterday, not to mention whatever I get charged for cancelling my Dublin hotel. It looks like Winamax should be able to refund me the €1600 entry fee, or exchange it for the shorthanded festival later this year, which is fine by me. It was very depressing arriving back home last night, but I would have loved to have seen the big, fat, beared, curly haired, ginger, chav, scouser when he arrived back at the Airport at 10pm last night, almost makes it all worth it.

That there Credit Crunch Thingy/Save our Snoopy

This whole credit crunch stuff is starting to become a bit of a worry. Not so much the impact on poker itself, I think it’s fair to say that a recession has not found its way to the tables yet and the numbers are booming at both the live and online felt, but in the poker media side of things. Future Publishing, the company that produced WPT Poker Magazine lost the contract with WPT and decided not to make another poker mag under a new name. This was sad for me, mainly from a sentimental point of view, because its the first place that printed one of my articles and everyone whom I have worked with there have always been great to me. WPT Poker is now with a new publisher, and reuniting me with my old mucker Jon Young, so it’s no actual loss to me as a writer.

Gala appear to have ditched they GCBPT tour and blamed the recession, which I don’t believe for one second. Every event and side event sold out and you only have to look at the numbers for GUKPT side events and the DTD £300er to know that there is a real demand for a £500 comp. I think that they must have made mistakes elsewhere (Their online cardroom for example, I was never really aware of any online sats and I think they missed a trick by not promoting them more) and I hope someone comes along and plugs that gap in the market soon.

Then my favourite forum and the place that, for me, is the single most community based forum reflective of the UK poker scene, BlondePoker, are having to size down their operation and cut their live updates/live update staff. It was a lot of things all at once, their business model wasn’t the best, the recession aint helped and they also got royally shafted by Poker Trillion for money they will never get back now that Trillion has closed.

If you are looking at live poker updates, I’d say that Pokernews is by far and wide the most accurate, slick and professional updates you can see, but if you want a bit of fun and community, the Blonde updates are head and shoulders the best. They have some of the funniest writers who know all the players and the community input is fantastic, It would be a shame to see them go. You can help Blonde out by obviously playing on their iPoker card room or by clicking on the RakeTheRake link above the next time you want to get a good rakeback deal. The commission money goes to Blonde, not me.

Perhaps most saddening of all, for me personally because they are mates, is they have had to let go of Adam ‘Snoopy’ Goulding and Chris ‘NoFlopsHomer’ Hall (It didnt stop me from adding the worst picture of Floppy I could find though lol). In particular, Snoopy has put every last breath into Blonde and is losing a significant portion of his income as a result. As soon as I found out I emailed him with some magazine/websitey/freelancey advice and some contacts, because I think poker needs Snoopy more than he needs poker, he is one of the funniest and most enthusiastic writers out there, much more than I could ever hope to be, and it would be a travesty if he had to get a real job.

In other news, I still have the 500+ Winamax t-shirts clogging up my house and nobody seems to want to take them back, I actually received another one in the post yesterday so it looks like my place is a refuge for stray Winamax t-shirts.

The book is coming on ok, I actually started the introduction, I’m a full 4000 words in, dunno if that is good or bad, no idea how long a book should actually be.

Played a home game with the lads (My non poker mates) last night, it’s been a long time since I played with them and very surprised with how much better a few of them had become. We also had burn cards for the first time, which was a nice surprise. There was 10 of us and I came 2nd for 60 quid, ship it, holla, balla!

Finally, check out this video of people that run good, my favourite is the bank robbers:
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