After a final table which lasted a marathon 26 hours, the champion of the inaugural Global Poker Tour was crowned in London yesterday afternoon. Unknown player Mark Shetland from Surrey, UK survived a veritably terrifying final table which included Daniel Negreanu, Vitaly Lunkin, Dario Minieri and Jason Mercier.
Poker pundits and hacks on the rail scratched their heads as the Brit ploughed through the field amassing chips with a truly awesome display of out-draws, donk bets which turned out to be good, and generally indifferent play that nonetheless managed to win Shetland the title. He can now boast for one year that he is Poker’s World Champion.
“It’s astonishing that such a collection of acclaimed players didn’t manage to stop the worst player at the table” claimed Jesse Auerbach of US Poker Prime, “it’s almost as if this is a game of chance or something.”
In an exclusive interview with every poker news outlet under the sun, Shetland attributed his win to hard work and skill. “I’ve been playing poker for seven years now and have read every poker book and watched every online video out there. It hasn’t dawned on me in the slightest that exactly the same is true of everyone else and hence, that can’t possibly be the reason for my success.”
Poker Pro and runner up in the tournament, George “Any Media Attention” Salim had another explanation for his opponent’s victory. “Passivity is the new aggression,” he claimed, “there’s no point in telling young players to work on their game and always try to take the initiative in the hand when the reality is, if you donk your way to the top of the pile through dumb luck, the poker press will still report your win as if it was all part of a master plan.”
Salim’s statement rocked some of the older hacks, who, getting on towards their late twenties, had been around the block enough times to know that what the poker media really needs right now is yet more in-depth reportage of how a certain two-card hand played out against another two-card hand when all in preflop.
“That’s the kind of cutting edge information that keeps poker fans glued to their screens,” said Steven Bridge of DeuceSevenHoldsUp.com. “It seems that these days poker magazines and websites concentrate too much on strategy, honest appraisals of the chances of major success in the game, and bankroll management, when really what they need to be doing is regurgitating by rote which way each individual, mind-numbingly straightforward match-ups went.”
Multiple bracelet winner Bill Hellmet was quick to defend the integrity of the game. “I wouldn’t have got where I am today without skill winning through in the long run,” he asserted. “When I say skill, I don’t really mean skill at the poker table, although twenty years ago I certainly had enough of that to be successful at the game. These days, the real skill in poker is in convincing major websites to bankroll your tournament entries and make the poker media focus on all your wins while sweeping your losses under the carpet.”
The controversy was particularly poignant in light of the current struggle of the poker industry to convince the US Senate that poker is not a game of chance. Head of the Poker Players Alliance, Mr Nimbit Lozenge warned poker players everywhere: “what we really need to be doing now is presenting poker with the same kind of narrative that say, golf coverage gets on TV. There should be absolutely no doubt in peoples’ minds that when a player wins one single tournament, it was hard work and application of talent which got them there and not the run of the cards.”
“Only by presenting ourselves as a bunch of idiots capable of believing such egregious, after-the-fact-ist nonsense,” he continued, “can we possibly avoid garnering the respect of intelligent everyday folk outside the poker industry who are capable of recognising the truth when it rears up and bashes them repeatedly in the face.”
This article first appeared in Bluff Europe magazine.