24/05/2010

No Time for Lounging

Neil Channing 'Bad Beat'

From the second I got home from Monte Carlo my feet didn’t touch the ground.

The General Election caused me to have to have about 5,000 bets and that involved hours poring over the Internet. I managed to get some exercise by traipsing around dozens of betting shops trying to get various cashiers to understand the words “constituency”, “Plaid Cymru” and, more worryingly, “Liberal Democrat”. I despair for the future of the country sometimes; it’s probably a sign of getting old.

In between election betting and following the results I had some events to play on Black Belt Poker, a home game to attend (I won £120), and the opening of Bluff@Mint Cardroom, which involved me having my picture taken. The room has a few tables and looks very nice, although I’m guessing they won’t get a regular £25/50 game. If they can get the ladies in body paint to play every night it could be popular.

At least the country’s decisions saved me the nuisance of going back to a lot of those shops.

The weekend was spent getting up early to be at the Vic for 11am to present the Bluff/Black Belt Boot Camp. With our original star guest Annette announcing her sponsorship deal with Full Tilt, and rushing off to Vegas, the punters had to put up with Nik Persaud, Alex Rousso, Kevin Williams and myself. I was worried that they might be disappointed so I stayed up until 5am both days planning my contributions. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves in the end and I think I learned a few things.

On Monday I was in a television studio in Hammersmith at 8.30am. I was there for two days working for the Poker Channel. I had to watch eleven online SNG freerolls and talk about the play. This was really hard work. When they were looking for someone who could talk solidly for nine hours a day they picked well, but I’m not sure if they really wanted someone commenting on the “play” quite so honestly and forthrightly. Hopefully the players won’t be too offended. Even though they get to stay anonymous, they’ll probably all hate me if they watch it.

I didn’t manage to squeeze a six-day £500 tournament in Nottingham into my agenda, but I did follow the UKIPT pretty closely. Black Belt Poker didn’t put too many people into the main so I was naturally very excited to see Owen Robinson go to the final as chip leader. PokerStars sure must have been pleased to see our brand dominating.

In the end, Owen lost a massive flip and finished fourth. We were all very proud of him.

I spent that weekend running around.

On Saturday I was playing ‘The Poker Lounge’ in Cardiff. This is a kind of UK version of ‘Poker After Dark’. The series is sponsored by Full Tilt and they’d sent over a few of the big guns. When I found out Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen and Praz were in my heat I thought about ringing in sick. GG $20,000.

In the end I think I played well. I lost a 56,000 flip five-handed with 120,000 in play holding A-K of diamonds.

The luckiest part of the whole thing was that my good friend Tristan was driving from Swansea to Oxford that night and I persuaded him to take a quick detour. We reached his enormous mansion by 2am.

At 11am on Sunday I was playing The Oxford Cup, a prestigious £20 rebuy primarily for students, a tournament proudly sponsored by Black Belt Poker.

Eight hours and £40 later and I was on the train back to Cardiff having had a lot of fun.

My next Poker Lounge attempt was against Roland, Barny, Erick Lindgren and a Full Tilt qualifier called Alex Keating who has a few good results. Alex decided he was the warm favourite and I decided I was no worse than 4:1. There was one player I really feared though and that was Theo Jorgensen. I’ve played with Theo many times and he’s always played great. He’s fearless and was coming here full of confidence. He’d flown in from Paris having won his first WPT less than 48 hours earlier and had already won the morning heat for $120,000.

I got to be three-handed with Theo and Alex and although I only had 13,000 out of the 120,000 in play, I felt all right.

When I got to 82,000 heads-up with Theo I started to not fancy it. We played heads-up for over an hour and I had a couple of chances. I’m not sure I played it great and he eventually got me. Thankfully we’d done a small saver.

It felt like I’d done nothing but run around for two weeks, mostly because I hadn’t. It was nice then to go to the Vic and actually get a game, even if it was £5/10. My list of 28 things to urgently do before Vegas could wait a little longer.

I played two long sessions in two totally different games. In the softer game, I played well and I won. In the tougher game I played badly and lost.

Funny that.

Maybe it’s time to finally dig that list out.

Next time Neil whinges and whines it’ll be from Vegas. You can hear him moaning more often by following SenseiChanning on Twitter.