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Poker Million Preview…

Poker Million Preview… It’s been an exciting two weeks in the poker world. If you like the excitement of the very future of poker being put at stake, that is. Because the news that sponsorships are disallowed for the coming Poker Million was crippling enough to bring the televised sport to a standstill. And who stepped up to the plate? It was the poker players and it was Ladbrokes, again.

The nicest thing is to see the European poker community pull together in a show of support. There was a very similar situation that occurred at the first series of Late Night Poker. The players in the first series were generally considered fools in the poker community and guinea pigs in a larger process. There was also, however, a pioneer kinship between the players, a belief in the future, that was present at that first series and which I never saw repeated until I had a similar experience at the first Poker Million on the Isle of Man. I didn’t counsel anyone to be a part of this. I didn’t plead with The Hendon Mob, Padraig Parkinson, Julian Gardner, The Devilfish, Simon Trumper, and Peter Costa to play. But they are. And some of these players have put a lot of work into getting sponsorship and are devastated by this development. And have been mistreated before. I can't say for sure why they are playing. But I take my hat off to the real gamblers.

What is this tournament going to be about? It’s going to be a barn burner. First of all, this is not some glorified version of Late Night Poker, nor its continuation. The Poker Million is not even in the same ballpark. The difference between fifteen hundred pounds and ten thousand dollars is large. For fifteen hundred pounds you can have some laughs and say you played on television. For ten thousand dollars, you’re gonna have people calling you an idiot. This is what is called pressure.

This is what poker is all about. Why is it that some people only seem to have had success in big buy-in events? Why do you hear about some players being great but never see it in action? It’s called pressure. And here we’re gonna have a chance to witness it for real and for close. This is the center stage, and people are going to be squirming. The magnitude of John Duthie’s achievement in the first Poker Million has never been given due credit. Outside the poker world, that is. Inside the poker world, among the knowers and the shakers and the world class grafters with solid steel chains, among those people John Duthie is a folk hero, a living legend. Because he played when it really counted. And everything else is smoke and mirrors.

I think the cream is rising to the top. I think you’ll see some fantastic television. And we might find out who really is the best.

I’ll be back tomorrow with highlights from the press conference…

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