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Shameless Doggy Pic Dump

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Some much needed joy for the Carter family over the weekend in the form of Martha. We have always had Old English Sheepdogs in the family since I was a baby, but when Oscar died a few years ago we thought he would have been the last one - he was such a great dog he seemed irreplaceable. In fact one of the reasons we got Charlie was because I missed having a dog at my Parents so much.

Anyway, its been pretty shitty over the last few months since Dad died and Mum had been trying to get him to get a new dog anyway, so finally she got this little pup last week. Martha seems very clever and a little bit cocky, as she has already been relentlessly bullying our Charlie even though he is three times her size.





Qualified Or Confused?

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I had an interesting conversation with Jesse May in Paris regarding the book (yes most blog posts are going to be about the book from here on in). He was really psyched to see it come out as he was a fan of Jared’s anyway and cut a really good interview with him last year.

I was talking about one of the barriers we will likely face is that some people will have a negative perception of a performance coach, because it’s still relatively new to poker. It’s understandable too, because a great deal of people that claim to be ‘mindset gurus (hate the word guru btw)’ have next to no genuine qualifications to back up what they do. Before I met Jared part of me wondered if what he did was total bullshit, but I was relieved to find out he actually had the qualifications to back his work up.

In most other sports, the sports psychology professionals are qualified up to the hilt but in the more obscure games they don’t need to be. So one of the key points we will be stressing in the marketing drive is that Jared is a qualified counselor, has a full counselling licence, a degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counselling psychology; as well as a thousands of hours work experience in counselling and sports performance.

Ok, I was pretty much showing off on his behalf because I really want people understand this point. I was hoping all that would impress Jesse, but was amazed that Jesse was shocked and impressed enough that Jared a degree full stop, let alone a Master’s degree and a license. It’s amazing, because Jesse is such a well-informed figure in poker I would expect him to expect Jared to have credentials, but his response made me realise how low expectation poker players are in this regard, and unfortunately, how gullible some of the less savvy ones could potentially be.

If this was a mainstream sport, someone without the qualifications Jared has wouldn’t even make the interview stage of starting their career, they would get laughed at – it would be like an acupuncturist applying for a job as a spinal surgeon. If I was paying good money and was at the top end of the game like most of Jared’s clients are, I would expect qualifications stronger than the ones you can get for $99 in an hour over the internet.

It’s probably because psychology is viewed as ‘mysterious’ in a lot of circles that people can be a bit dumbfounded by what is and what isn’t a legitimate qualification. There is a real stigma around talking about feelings and emotion, they are viewed as intangible by many, which is why someone can profess to having Jedi like powers and spout out a bunch of incongruous ‘qualifications’ when claiming to be a mental game coach in newer markets like poker.

I’m not picking on any individuals here, but there are some straight up frauds out there who work very hard to confuse people into thinking they are qualified and educated to a high level in psychology. I tell you that as someone who is 100% completely unqualified to counsel anyone, I am merely a poker journalist who has developed a really passionate interest in psychology and performance after working with Jared so closely for 18 month. Yet by default I am probably less damaging to give mental game advice from than a lot of these so called ‘mindset gurus’ put together (I’d still be a fraud, just less of one).

European Poker Awards

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It was my second time in Paris for the European Poker Awards, hopefully I will get invited next year so I can say with some authenticity “Oh Paris yes its lovely, we go every year”. Last year we stayed for several days after the awards but this time round we went for just the weekend. It’s actually really nice not having that extra pressure of feeling we have to cram in a load of site seeing and instead concentrate on a couple of good nights out and relaxing.

This year a WPT event was on so that were significantly more poker people around and a lot more people I knew. Nothing confirms this more than the all too familiar occasion of Mad Marty Wilson appearing from nowhere, telling a quick story that actually lasts a lifetime then disappearing into the night. I’ve always told my girlfriend story after story of Marty’s and finally she got to meet him, I told her as he arrived in the Aviation Club “Your life is never going to be the same again, you can never un-meet Marty”.

He didn’t disappoint either, top form as always and up for an award no less. Gina loved every yarn he spun throughout the weekend and we shared a table with him, Jesse May, Simon Trumper and David Vamplew throughout the awards (The latter being a really nice kid, I have been explaining to Gina how the new breed of young British players currently crushing live poker are also very down to earth, she was really impressed because most of us would act like dicks with all that money).

I was pretty pleased with how the awards went, given most of the winners were the ones I voted for. Jake Cody I think thoroughly deserved both his awards, I can’t see past Liv Boeree in her category and it was hard not to vote for the biggest winner of the year in the online category. I think the WSOPE is the toughest event of the year (or was at least) so I thought James Bord deserved his award and Tony G for me was the biggest ‘personality’ of the year no doubt.

The best staff category was tough, as I had to choose between my old mucker Marty and Simon Trumper, the guy who runs the greatest poker venue in the world. Thankfully any inner conflict was taken out of my hands, because a very deserving Gerrard Retamero won that event.

I was also delighted to see Nic Szeremta win the lifetime achievement award. This I think was the first time a non poker player (He plays poker, just that’s not why he won) won this award which gives me some hope in 30 odd years time. Tony G reminded everyone that without Nic, we poker media types may not have jobs (He also gave me the biggest laugh of the night by saying “He didn’t make the money, but he had the heart”).

After that, not much to tell you other than it was a free bar and the biggest bonus of the weekend, no hangover the next day, which really is a rare occurrence when I’m paying so how I managed to survive the journey home I will never know.


Rookie of the Year – Jake Cody
Internet Player of the Year - Andreas Torbergsen
Outstanding tournament performance – James Bord
Europe’s Leading Lady – Liv Boeree
Poker staff person of the year - Gerard Serra Retamero ,TK Events
Rob Gardner Memorial Award for the Poker Personality of 2010 – Tony G
Player of the Year – Jake Cody
Lifetime achievement award - Nic Szeremeta


So Paris, valentines weekend, fancy awards do, free Moet all night – not a bad brag, but I have been brought right back down to earth as soon as I got to the UK. I’m now off to the dentist, I chipped my bloody tooth yesterday on a bloody liquorice torpedo last night and it hurts like hell.

The Funniest Boxing Video on the Internet

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If there is one thing my late Father loved is when a young cocky British fighter would act incredibly brash then get put on his arse. There were only a handful of boxers who could showboat and enjoy OTT ring entrances because they were that damned good they could back it up in the ring - Ali, Eubank & Hamed all spring to mind. So when you got some 20 year old up and comer who had only had 4 fights carrying on like they were Ali, he always delighted when they came a cropper. I must say as much as I love supporting British boxers doing well, it rubbed off on me and I would wet myself too.

With that in mind, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the funniest thing I have seen in a long time, Dad would have loved it:

The Week the UK Announced and Lost its Biggest Tournament

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In the space of a week the UK has managed to announce and lose the biggest tournament of the year.


It was a real surprise the WSOPE was being ousted from London after three pretty big years there, which I think could only be considered a success. Not only that, but French poker is heavily taxed and regulated, whereas UK gambling is about as liberal as it you will find in Europe. At first it seemed to me to be a really bad decision and a bad advert for the WSOP who I thought were shunning a great host in favour of one whose government would take 4% of the prize pool.

But then I was reminded by a PokerNews blogger that poker is booming in France right now and that could see the field size double. Just last week D4 Events hosted the European DeepStack Poker Championships in Dublin and the majority of the 737 field were French.

I must say, as great as it was I will be glad to see the back of the jam packed September to October London poker month. An English Poker Open, EPT London, WPT and WSOPE all in a month was just too much in my opinion and for me the reason why the WPT had such a low turnout relatively. The WSOPE was the glue that gelled them all together and hopefully the knock on effect will be that WPT London will become a much bigger event, held at a different time of year, so we get two big majors to look forward to on their own terms, rather than a saturated cluster of them.

The more I think of it, the WSOPE probably should have changed venues every year, going to a different European country and letting the poker world get more stamps on their passports, kind of like the world cup.

In brighter news, Dusk Till Dawn showed they do not know the meaning of the word cant by hosting a 1,600 runner tournament later this year. Last year they broke the UK record of 900 and I think everyone was shocked at how much they raised the bar this time round.
Images from the Press Conference announcing the WSOPE is moving to France.

The key here is they are having 5 day 1s on the Monday-Friday before everyone reconvenes on the Saturday & Sunday. I’ve never heard of 5 day 1s before in a tournament and the question is can they average 320 players per day? The fact that you have to buy-in online will help in this regard because it will stop a huge influx of players arriving on the Friday and ignoring the other days.

Nobody is going to want to stick around in Nottingham for several days waiting for day 2, so you would imagine the Monday-Thursday crowd will be mostly driving there and back in one night. Nottingham being central and on the M1, I think there will be quite a large radius of people preparing to do that, maybe as far as London. Last time the event was also full of coach parties from local casinos, so I do think it’s possible they will hit 1600.

One thing is for certain, it will be the biggest UK attendance of all time, well past 1000, and the biggest first prize you will ever see for fifty nicker. I for one thing Dusk Till Dawn are going to do it.

Its Good to See the MidStakes on TV

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It’s good to see PokerStars and Channel 4 teaming up to televise the PokerStars UK & Ireland Tour. I for one really enjoyed the first season of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour when it was shown on Channel 4 and this seems like the closest thing we are going to get to that now.

Its good to see the mid stakes on terrestrial TV, because that's what poker is all about these days.

The thing I really enjoyed about the old GUKPT show was the fact that it wasn’t Phil Iveys and Daniel Negreanus. Yes there were some well-known UK pros, but the tour also showcased the everyday men and women that played these events. I really enjoyed the little segments where the non pros showed you around their hometowns and places of work. My favourite being the late Dave Smith showing us around his mobility scooter business in Chesterfield.

Rather than showing you the lavish balla Vegas/Monte Carlo lifestyle the bigger shows did, the GUKPT showed the audience that they could really be a part of the action. It showed them “If they can get on TV playing poker, we can get on TV playing poker.” That’s more appealing that watching Phil Ivey hopping in a private jet or playing craps with Range Rover valued chips. As much as I admire someone like Phil Ivey, I can’t think of anyone more appealing to the British public in this regard than a gent like the aforementioned Dave Smith.

Sadly the show didn’t start a trend for TV poker. The GUKPT show understandably couldn’t maintain budget to continue broadcasting (It was always meant to be a one season thing to launch the tour I believe) and more recently TV poker has shifted much more towards the elite, invitational event.

Until now, the PokerStars UKIPT tour has already recaptured the ‘anyone can turn a small buy-in into a small fortune’ ideals of the poker boom and with their extensive budget can hopefully become a year in year out presence on the poker TV circuit too. There will of course be some more big names playing the tour now its televised but hopefully with a £500-£1000 buy-in we can see a few likeable Everyman type players winning big and reminding mainstream TV audiences that poker is a game where everyone can win regardless of age, sex, race, class or experience.

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