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Barny Boatman
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Tips from The Master. Less is more.

Report by Barny on Tuesday, 27 September 2005 at 12:41 pm

After the biggest break since The Tour began we were all more than ready to kick off with a home fixture down at the Vic. The first surprise of the night was that the £1,000 No limit did not quite sell out, a fact that will no doubt wipe a few billion off quoted poker shares. Don't worry. Apart from a few French stalking horses the traveling European circus was not there in full force and I expect by Friday when John Duthie sets up his marquee it will be business as usual, as latecomers demand that extra tables be set up in the car park and suggest that after years in the card room the waiters must have picked up enough knowledge to be drafted in as extra dealers.

Jac Arama was on my table fresh from a successful heat in the Speed Poker Tournament. I can see why speed poker would suit his game as you don't need fifteen seconds when you've already decided to play every hand. I will say, he does tend to get paid when he hits and is a great chip getter on his day. At one point he passed 10,5 off preflop after there had been two raises. It would have been a winner. 'The old me would have played that hand' he lamented. 'Was that the old you five minutes ago that called a raised with 10,6 off?' We asked him. 'Oh yeah.' he chuckled. 'But that hand can make a straight!'

Having lost most of my chips I did the last of them overplaying a small pair when the man behind me had Aces. It was a pretty early exit, but when I hit the bar Ross and Ram were already there, leaving Joe to pick up where he left off in the WSOP main event as the Mob anchor man.

With them was Ram's mate Teddy, the unforgettable 'Lord and Master' from last years Poker Million. For the price of a pint he was happily dispensing poker and career advice and he told me that I was seeing too many flops these days. 'Not tonight I'm not!'

Next up for a bevvie was Des Wilson. He's popped up everywhere this year watching and interviewing players – particularly Dave Ulliot – and his book on the European poker scene is obviously going to be a great read. He says it will be full of surprises, although if he gets a quote from Simon Trumper that I haven't already heard that will be the biggest surprise of all!

We were joined at the bar by The Mob's former fitness trainer Stevie 'Five Card' Thomas one of the world's greatest five card strip deck players. Steve's dad was the first Greek Cypriot to open a bookies in Britain and Steve has a million stories about the gambling scene going back to the fifties. He is working on a book himself, so one way or the other you should get to hear at least some of them.

Back at the tournament it was mixed news for the firm. Vicky Coren re-raised L Patton all-in with the Aces. He called with sevens, won the pot and finished the day chip leader. There are seventeen players left and seated to his left is a certain Mr Beevers who is second in chips with 67,200.
Others still in contention include Micheal Greco, Bambos,Jeff Duval and Jac Arama who went from 4,000 to 36,000 in the last few minutes. I've just spoken to Joe and he sounded fresh and confident. I've got a feeling his name may be on this one.

After today's final we won't be back to the Vic until Friday when The Prima Tour continues with the £3,000 EPT tournament. With two starting days and a maximum two hundred and fifty six entries it will be a huge event. One player who should be back in action is John 'Large' Kabbaj who missed yesterdays comp because he'd just had laser eye treatment. Mind you, he told me that he had just won his heat of the speed poker despite the fact that he couldn't see the flop at all. So maybe the Lord and Master is right: The key to success is to see less flops!

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