I made a little gag on the Blondeforum which got a mention on Monday nights poker show, thanks to Nick Wright for making sure the world knew it was me, it went something like this:
So what exactly do the BlackBelt Poker Graders have to do?
Paint Neil Channings fence and clean his cars until they get in a fight with the guys from Cobra Kai.
I have interviewed loads of famous players: Hellmuth, Antonius, Hansen, Norman Pace......
But I must say, I was rarely more looking forward to an interview than I was interviewing Moorman's Dad last night after his GUKPT win. I guess maybe there isn't much a poker player, no matter how big, can tell me I havent heard before from one of his peers but with Moorman's Dad it was really unique. He seemed a really nice bloke and he was totally honest, unlike a lot of poker players who win one thing and insist they are the new Phil Ivey, he told me he was really nervous, considered making the 4th blind level an achievement let alone winning the thing and doesn't particularly plan on playing much on the live circuit again. He also emphasised how having no expectation on him made him fearless, and that is what ultimately won it for him.
He also gave me an insight into what being the Father of a professional poker player is like and how he and his son sat down and planned out his poker career, made it an analytical structured thing, discussed bankroll management and such. I might be the first person to interview a poker player's dad and it reminds me of when I sat down with my Mother and she watched me play online, which (along with getting my name in print and my mug on TV) helped reassure a lot of concerns she understandably had with the game.
Maybe I should buy her into the Newcastle Event next month?
All in all, poker needs more stories like this. As awesome as the year of the pro was at last years WSOP (And the poker nerd in me wants another one this year), we have to remember stories like this, like Moneymaker, like Hal Lubarskey, like Brian 'WeeBrick' Clarke and all the other human interest stories are what keeps the poker economy growing.
The interview should be up on uk.pokernews.com by next Tuesday.
Is it just me, or does it feel like we are about to start a golden age of UK poker? Moorman's Dad winning GUKPT Manchester yesterday is something of a dream story for a poker journo like myself, what a fantastic coup that was for the GUKPT. The only thing that tour is missing now is a female main event winner, they have had everything else – they've had online stars, old school pros, everymen, bracelet winners, night-watchmen and even Dave Smith.
Then this BlackBelt poker thingy launches today, didn't go in for the grading myself although I was asked (When I say asked, I wasn't exactly begged, but Mr Channing and Snoops both suggested I go for it) but I think it's gonna either flop or change the UK poker industry for a long time. Good luck to Alex Martin, James Atkins and Nick Wright. I actually think those three have as good, if not better, chance against say Sunny Chattha, Mickey Wernick and Jerome Bradpiece, mainly because they will be sooooooo much keener and much more used to grinding at those stakes. I am sure the bigger names will be able crush the games, but struggle with the discipline aspect, playing so low, being told what to do by mentors etc. I have suggested with the folks at BoylePoker to run a book on it. I would have a few quid on Dave Penly, Alex Martin and maybe James Atkins. If anyone is going to crush it, I'd said Dave Penly would, he is both used to playing in massive games and grinding low stakes, so he would be my number one pick.
Then there was the Poker Show last night. It was awful for the first 20 minutes while they were sorting out the levels, but with a bit of practice I think it's going to be a keeper. I'm supposed to be going on this week, though I am not sure how I would fit into the BlackBelt show or Irish episode this week.
Well, I am caving in and paying the Stars chargeback. If I am going to be playing SNGs again I would be insane not to play at Stars, because nobody else has SNGs high enough, regular enough. By paying it now, at least I get $120 in reload bonus, which takes the sting off. I am gonna play 100-150 SNGs at mid stakes this week to see what my optimal number of tables are, before going back to the $110 & $215 6 max games on Stars and Tilt. I'm thinking about maybe doing a Sharkscope/Battle of the Planets prop bet in lieu of it all.
Nothing much to report yet, I havent seen many markets for the WSOP at all. So far Bodog have a number of markets, all novelty based like 'highest placing author' and will Robert Bellande cash in the main event. Paddy Power usually have some very good markets which I expect to see turn up soon - they had some very good group bets like the best online player last longer market and a field for the $10,000 PLO.
BoylePoker do have plenty of markets and a good one for those people that simply want to bet on the players they have heard of, which is who will win the most money during the WSOP overall. Naturally Phil Ivey is the fave at 8-1 and as usual, a complete no value bet. He is likely to be gunning for a bracelet and a bracelet only, which means he will not be cashing that often unless he wins one. Scotty Nguyen would be my pick on that one, he is one a real heater at the moment, could be about to win a WPT title and has a bet with Mike Matusow that he can win $4 million in 2 or 3 years. He is at 16/1, I personally would want better than that to be honest.
There should be some good markets turn up, the $40,000 no limit event will be really interesting to see as the field is short and all big names. Lots of people will make the mistake of betting on Phil Hellmuth and I might be looking to lay him one way or another once the odds come out. Just because he has ten bracelets in no limit, it doesnt mean shit, because he is well known to do very badly against top pros. Instead of thinking of this as a bracelet event, think of it as an episode of high stakes poker - he has no chance imo.
I spoke to Paul Spilane of BoylePoker and he said that they are interested in listening to any suggestions for potential bets people may want to make, in particular any head to head match ups between two players, of any calibre. I'm going to be doing a bit of research and suggesting a few markets myself, so by all means drop me a line if you want to see some additional markets and I will see what I can do.
The SNG stuff is going well, I've only been playing smaller games this week while I remind myself how to play them ($40-$60) and I've had a nice little run so far. I think I will ditch the cash games for a month or two and see if I can recapture my old form, maybe start playing the $100-$200 games next week. It does mean, if I want a serious run at it, I will have to cave in and pay for the chargeback I got from pokerstars even though I think it was completely unjust. Stars is the only place to play SNGs and if I go back that, I think I will set some sort of Sharkscope/Battle of the Planets prop bet to up the ante a little.
So the plan is to get this blog to the top spot and keep it there. Its no fun being called Barry, one of the least sexy names one can imagine, so if I have to be called Barry Carter, lets make me the top dog.
I spoke to Jesse May today about his new poker radio show which looks fantastic. I am going on as a guest, probably this Sunday, and the guy is one of my heros, simply because he is as big a poker nerd as I am.
The dog fell in a pond today, he did not like that one bit and was screaming all the way home. Bang goes my plans of throwing sticks in the water to him then.
This made me laugh:
The great thing about having a new dog is you can blame him for EVERYTHING. Amongst other things, he is the reason for the blog taking a back burner, as well as poker in general, my hygiene and of course, my battle against obesity. Since we got Charlie, I have really started stuffing my fat fucking face way too much, largely because until today, we have not been able to take him for walks in the park. That changed over the weekend, we had the best two afternoons ever running with him and watching him experience the big wide world for the first time. He loved it too and he is absolutely knackered when he gets home.
I haven’t played a great deal, barely played at all this year. This month has been frustratingly break even, win a session, lose a session, rinse, repeat. My focus certainly isn’t there, that’s for sure, I am on autopilot a lot of the time and although I still love the game and literally find every facet of it fascinating, I can’t seem to translate that into my own time at the table. I need to do something different and at the moment I do not have the time for MTTs so I am playing a few SNGs, which used to be my bread and butter a couple of years ago, and I am loving it so far.
After two years of almost exclusively cash games, SNGs all of a sudden seem incredibly easy. I was always pretty good at them anyway, mainly because have always been good at bubble play (imo) and although you can’t ‘game select’ in the way you can cash games (My favourite thing about cash) there are so many players who don’t understand the bubble, even otherwise very good players seem to struggle with the concept. The bubble has always been my favourite thing about SNGs, even though SNGs are quite a crude ‘solved’ form of poker, I still get really excited on the bubble of an SNG and it still draws up unique situations that ICM doesn’t always have an answer to.
I used to play the $109 and $215 games on Stars, but that was before I multi tabled a lot and I am a little rust, so I am starting low for a few hundred games to remind myself of how to play them and see what the games are like these days. I also may have to get unbanned from Stars, which would mean paying off the $400 chargeback I still refuse to accept was my responsibility.
Writing is going fine, though not without a few glitches. If I have observed something in the last few months that I think is only going to get worse is that poker is becoming very corporate. Recently I have had to deal with agents which is a really odd addition to modern poker, one of them seemed ok but generally it’s a worrying change, how many poker players really need an agent? Especially the online players who barely leave the house. I interviewed a world famous player last month who was very happy with the interview we cut and literally at the final moment he pulled it because we didn’t give proper mention to his pokey little website that was never mentioned in the first place.
Loads of other crappy little bits and bobs like that have happened lately, can’t really mention at the moment, but if you ever bump into me ask me about a few of them, including the chap who is threatening to sue for basically $5.
Thankfully plenty of good things happen too when you are a poker writer, I interviewed Roberto Romanello last week and he cut a very good interview. I also interviewed Phil Galfond, who was nice enough. I also have become matey with a guy called Ben Wilson, another inspiring writer whom I am giving my many years (2) of wisdom too and his blog is way too good for him not to be getting paid for it.
But the best thing about life right now is the mutt, Charlie has learnt sit, paw, high five and now down and he is only 11 weeks old. He also is doing very well with toilet training and if he didn’t bite everything he sees he would probably make Lassie look like a retarded bulldog.