Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NEWS: Moneymaker less capable than own watch

Friends and colleagues of the former WSOP champion have stepped forward to say that Chris Moneymaker, 30, is less capable in his day to day activities than his own wrist watch. Greg Raymer has worked along-side Moneymaker for the past two years: “It’s sad to see someone get outperformed by their own watch, but there’s no denying that this watch has about three times as many features as Chris.”

The watch, a Suunto Vector, was a Christmas gift from his parents, and delivers flawless precision and style, standing in sharp contrast to Moneymaker; a man with neither a scratch proof face, nor the ability to withstand a depth of 100 feet underwater.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A warm tide

I won’t pretend I wanted to get knocked out of the Ultimate Bet Aruba Classic after only 10.5 hours, but suffice to say the thought of having to spend the rest of the week on the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen was hardly killing me.

Having arrived many days before the main event began, I was already more than familiar with the beach and happy to be back there after the event; bobbing in the sea and mentally rehearsing my new bad beat stories. A few days earlier a bunch of us had leaned on our UltimateBet host to finance some shenanigans, and we’d sampled the delights of the banana boat (and by ‘sampled’ I mean involuntarily consumed 9 pints of sea water, and by ‘delights’ I mean having been rendered blind). Another member of the gang and I were ready to take things to the next level, and opted for the deadly ‘Ringos’. You could tell these bits of tubing were going to be more intense than the banana boat simply because you had to sign a piece of paper that said “If you kill me, it’s my own fault”. Oh, and if you’re wondering who the other player in this story is, I can only refer to him as “21” because he asked me not to use his real name in stories unless he looked ‘cool’. However, chances are you’ll never find out his real name because I’m struggling to think of any stories involving him where he looked ‘cool’. He has a perm you see.

So, anyway, we found ourselves back at the water sports hut, where some 19 year old local lad (with an obvious hatred of “Englishers” who eat all his mangos and shag all his sisters) seemed far too happy to accept twenty bucks to drag us along behind his boat. As we stood there waiting for said boat to arrive, 21 asked me how long I thought they’d be. “I don’t know... Why?” I asked. “Well, I think I need a piss." he replied, "I'm wondering if I have enough time.” However, don’t be fooled into thinking 21 was calculating how long it would take him to make a return trip to the pool loos. Oh no; his gaze was fixed firmly on the azure sea.

Now we’ve all pissed in the sea folks, but if you’re a half-decent human (well, the sort of half-decent human that discharges themselves in large bodies of water anyway) then you at least have the class to swim out a bit - away from others - and do your best not to look like you’re having a slash. It was with this thought in mind that I looked over a scant minute later to find 21 standing, as a man might at a urinal, hands on hips, obviously topping up the sea. He’d gone in just deep enough that the water was above waist-level, but… only just. Take the ocean away and he’d have just been some bloke standing in the middle of a field proudly wetting himself.

Returning from his mission, clearly relieved and smiling like some demented incontinent, I was glad we’d opted for the individual Ringos rather than the two-man version. These puppies had linings, and the thought of being dragged behind a boat in an inflatable bucket filled with someone else’s piss (or my own, for that matter) was hardly after-dinner speaking material.

Ultimately I found out why the disclaimer sheet I’d been asked to sign was so necessary because, as I sit here some three weeks after the event, I’m still in agony every time I sneeze thanks to two cracked ribs. They say that hitting the sea at 30 mph is much like running into a wall sideways at 20mph. I’ve no idea who “they” are in this case, but they aren't fucking wrong I can tell you.

And the worst thing about my injury was that I was now much slower on both land and sea, and 21 – the bastard - knew it. Which is why, for the rest of the trip, he’d stand close to me in the ocean with his hands on his hips and a smile on his face, laughing as I flapped and yelped in pain, desperately trying to get away from the expanding cloud of warmth that enveloped me.

Not waving. Pissing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Joe Le Taxi

If you can remember back far enough, I was telling you about a trip with the poker lads heading to Deauville. As I signed off last time we were just arriving at Paris on the Eurostar…

Having enjoyed the wonders of the modern railway, we [myself, Ali Masterman, Ben Grundy, Pommo, Dubai and Ben Mayhew] fall out of the station and onto the filthy Parisian streets. Ooh la la. Just breathe in that… stench. This truly is the city of love. If it wasn’t for Dubai pulling his pants out of his arse crack in front of me as we trudge up the rue, I’d be right in the mood for it.

The instructions for our journey become complicated and painful-looking at this stage. A taxi is required across the city to a different station, where a train (that I have no doubt will make the Eurostar look like a palace on wheels) will take us down to Deauville.

I now know this group a little better, but back then this was my first time meeting them, so I really just expected us to act the way we looked (i.e. like a bunch of poorly-dressed gypsies) and follow the travel instructions to their ultimate conclusion. The fact that my arse was attempting to detach itself from my body [you might remember I was paying the price for a half-cooked steak on the George Forman] made this a less than slightly appealing idea, but what can you do? I mean, it’s not like anyone is going to have such a disregard for money that they’d just pay for a taxi all the way to Deauville is it!


...and then I got my first glimpse of the Pommo bankroll in action.

We shuffle like jawas across the road to a sniffy-looking cabbie who has the misfortune to be the only one we can see with the capacity to carry all of us and our bags. He doesn’t look happy, but then again he is French. I’d be miserable personally.

I’m struggling to remember exactly who did the talking (I was busy hiding behind a lamppost in case it all got embarrassing) but I believe it was Dubai who took the reins, using his trademark charm and international communications skills. Either that, or he spat out, “’Ow much to Doughvile mate?” I forget now.

The cabbie looked relieved… “Oh…” he said, “zat’s a ver long way.” Now the French cabbie had made the text book error of thinking Dubai would give a shit. It’s easily done - I myself have had many conversations with Dubai expecting him to give a shit. “Yeah. I know mate. ‘Ow much?” A look of panic spread across the cabby’s face, until he realised that his way out of this was simple – just price himself out of the game. Totally unaware of the poker player in front of him, Joe Le Taxi pushes €600 out, confident it'll get Dubai off the pot – so to speak. He really has picked the wrong crowd for this play. Dubai calls the twat’s bluff with a “Come on boys – we’re in.” The cabbie literally shits his pants. I mean actual shit flies from his pantaloons in all directions.

I am, of course, speaking metaphorically. I pride myself on being the only man in Paris at that exact moment who could shoot an apple of a child's head with a stream of pressurised rusty cack.

A moment of inspiration sweeps over Le Cabby, and he blurts out “CASH! It has to be cash!” I mean, it’s brilliant. What are the chances of finding a troupe of travelling poker-playing gypsies who not only find €600 acceptable, but happen to have it on them in cash? Well… needless to say the driver’s face slumped in final defeat as Pommo plucked out his “ready-for-Deauville bankroll” of which €600 really was only a very very small percentage. Frankly, I get the felling Pommo had enough to buy the cab company let alone pay off this fella, but I was grateful for the ride as my arse was heating up like some faecal kiln and could deliver a ‘hot sculpture’ at any time regardless of my plans or wishes.

And so thus it was that we pilled into what was to be our chariot for the next two and a half hours. Smug, relatively comfortable, and trying really really hard not to shit myself in front of my new friends.

Ali attempts to bond over a cigarette, whille Le Cabbie pretends to enjoy his company, grimacing all the way.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Holding the nuts

Having recently attended a Full Tilt press event, I was chuffed to finally interview a couple of my favourite poker personalities; namely Howard Lederer and Mike Matusow. The most interesting event of the day, however, came later that afternoon as I stood by the bar, shooting the breeze with a group of journalists. As we chatted away, I absent-mindedly clasped my hands behind my back. Now, unbeknownst to me, Phil Ivey had chosen that exact moment to squeeze between me and a pillar in the room. It’s the sort of thing I couldn’t do if I tried, but I somehow managed to perfectly cup Ivey’s balls in my hands. Neither of us acknowledged the testicle cupping, but I immediately felt imbued with magical nut dust from the poker wizard’s pods. I said my goodbyes (without shaking hands, obviously) and hurried home to log-on for some heads-up action. I won 7 out of 9 games. The mystical knackers of Ivey were indeed the source of all things good in poker. Frankly, I regretted not having rubbed them three times.

Now it might strike some as an unorthodox approach to ‘winning poker’, but if you ever have the opportunity to fondle Ivey’s bollocks before a big tournament, grab the opportunity with both hands. Literally.

I’d also made another observation as I walked out of the venue with Shelly Rubenstein. Ivey was climbing into a car just in front of us clutching the “How to Play Poker” supplement I helped the Poker Player Magazine boys write. Shelly and I looked at each other in a ‘did you just see what I saw?’ way. “You’d think he was a bit beyond that.” Shelly ventured. I agreed, but couldn’t help thinking that if Phil Ivey spent a little less time reading books and more time fiddling with his genitals he’d be unstoppable.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Almost there...

Ok, so I made it sound like I was about to start daily installments. I know. Ain't I a disappointment. Anyway, I've been busy. The good news, however, is that I've nearly caught up with all my post-WSOP work, and will be making a proper blog entry later this week, followed by - I promise - regular entries. Meantime, I thought I'd post this little WSOP 'diary' I was asked to do for one of my newspapers. I know it's cheating, but it's better than nothing. Maybe.

Anyway, here it is:

Of all my poker-related regrets (which we don't have enough pages to go into, let alone words) my greatest is that I didn't get into poker when I got into poker. When I played my first hand of Hold 'em back in 1995 if I'd only then followed that up with a trip to Las Vegas I would have found myself with only 273 players to battle against for the chance of winning a million dollars. In its day the WSOP was the biggest poker tournament in the world. It's amazing to now think that most lunchtime online 'fun' tourneys have more entrants that the WSOP did ten years ago.

The sad truth is that it's taken me this long to make poker a big enough part of my life to justify heading out for the WSOP, but not as a player' yet. Unless you fancy dedicating weeks of your life to one single game of poker, with about the worse odds you'll ever face, the main event is hard to see as a 'value' event. And yet they came; all 8,773 of them, armed with $10,000. Once Harrah's had taken their cut, the prize pool stood at $82,466,200 - not bad for a little game that started up in 1970 with 38 players. Someone would walk away with the winner's gold bracelet and $12 million. And I was there...

Arriving in Las Vegas in July is a bit like turning up at a tropical hair-dryer convention - and that's just the weather. Once you feel the oppressive 109° heat smack you in the face like a big hot sponge, you realise that spending the entire seven weeks of the WSOP in a big air-conditioned room isn't such a bad idea. Pulling up at the convention side of the Rio there's nothing to do but marvel at just how big this event has become. The main room holds 2,000 players and is an absolute hangar of a room. Two hundred tables, two hundred dealers and fleets of floor managers and waitress staff fill the room... and then the players arrive. Imagine an insect war to end all wars, fought between crickets and grasshoppers. THAT'S the sound 2,000 players collectively shuffling $20,000,000 in chips make. It's ludicrous and wonderful all at the same time.

Each of the four "day one"s required to accommodate the number of entries is a fan-boy's dream. I stand in the centre of the room, spinning around in the middle of this madness, clutching onto my press credentials and the privileges they bring as if my very life depended upon them. Every table seems to home a player you've seen somewhere before. Chan, "Jesus", Brunson, "Devilfish"... the list goes on and on. In conversation, they all say they have absolutely no expectation of wining, but some aren't as convincing as others. Especially Helmuth.

One thing I'd not prepared myself for was the amount of spectators. They fill the isles and roped-off areas, line the corridors outside the main hall, and gather in autograph-hunting packs as soon as anyone vaguely recognisable steps outside the protective barrier of the players' area. On the first "day one" the organisers end up kicking all the spectators out for the first few hours as the players are unable to climb over the crowds to their tables. I now receive filthy looks from the 'normals' every time I flash my press badge at the security guards for entry, while others smile at me and pass me their cameras, asking if I'll take some pictures of all the players they've seen on the TV.

In addition to the players and fans, drop-dead gorgeous dolly-girls from Bodog, Doyle's Room, Ultimate Bet, Full Tilt et al line the corridors, dressed in very little and handing out the sort of tat that wouldn't be seen dead in your local chemist but seems very popular in the USA. I can't imagine that these overweight, 50 year old lawyers would ordinarily go quite so mental over a free t-shirt, but here they are prepared to whoop, dance and generally humiliate themselves for even the smallest of key rings.

However, a battle of this magnitude produces a steady stream of casualties, and the 'walk of shame' from the tournament room to the exit is like a long military hospital ward, with the walking wounded shuffling towards the light like the ghosts of the deceased. Cell phones that had been forbidden are switched back on, and a stream of bad-beat and hard-luck tales fill the corridors. Walking along-side them, I feel I'm learning more about the WSOP in this short trek than I would watching pocket kings crack pocket aces for 15 hours straight. As I hold the door open for a weeping 60 year old ex-WSOP competitor, I'm just glad I'm only here for the taxi stand. See you next year.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Superham Returns

Ok - I apologise...

I went to all the trouble of getting you to come read my blog and then abandoned you like a Polish child. Can you ever forgive me?

The good news is that I've been so encouraged by how many people out at WSOP asked what happened to the blog that I plan to get back on the case ASAP.

The honest truth is I've just been so busy with things that generated an income, any 'non-profit' projects got relegated to the very bottom of the to-do list.

My first book (co-authored with Poker Player Magazine's Editor, Dave Woods) has turned up in the post and comes out in September, and I continue to write for Flush, Poker Player, The Sportsman (Christ, I hope they pay me) and various other poker publications; not forgetting the blog.

I'm still presenting and appearing as an 'expert' on Poker Night Live (now from 9pm-1am every night on ch. 843) as well as ticking over with my events company ( and poker tables company ( ).

There's also a web site project that I'll tell you about soon.

Meantime, I know most of you are waiting to hear more adventure with Poker Generation X, so that'll be where we kick off next time. The blue book was with me for WSOP (just got back today) and is full to brimming with 'hilarious' antics that make an episode of Terry and June look like a staple-gun enema. I can't wait to tell you about Pommo buying a pair of shoes off a loser in a Vegas Sports Book. Quality.

Stay tuned, true believer.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Careless memory

I take a lot of stick out on the road thanks to something that has come to be know as Matt's "gay book". My "gay book" actually likes girls as much as it likes boys, but because it's only tiny (and a nice pastel blue) people seem to think it's sexuality is in question.

Truth is, it's a godsend. It comes with me everywhere, and every anecdote, comment, gag and gaff is captured within. Problem is, as I myself have often had a couple of snifters when making use of the "gay book" I'm not always sure what the hell it all means when I come to look back through it later.

Random comments recently discovered:

Author to remain anon: "We bought two bottles of booze for £15,000 each and took three girls back to our room. One passed out, one just sat in the corner of the room crying, and no one can remember what happened to the third."

Entry under the heading of RANDOM FACTOID: "John Duthie has a VERY BIG face."

Pommo: on being one of Company Magazine's Top 50 Batchelors. "As long as I'm above Dean Gaffney and Sid Owen I'll be happy."

Some yank: "Oh I love Europe, especially Australia."

Pommo: "Get pissed the night before a tourney. You feel so shit in the early levels you can't be bothered to play and don't knock yourself out."

Gus Hanson wears 'Jazz Shoes' and walks a "bit funny".

So, as you can see, the "gay book" is not to be dissed. And next time, we shall plunder the "gay book" for what it has to say about the continuation of the Eurostar journey we followed previously.

Be seeing you...

Also does girls

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Liar Liar!

This is a preview of my next poker column written for FLUSH magazine.

The best lies are the believable ones...

One of the things I love about presenting Poker Night Live is the contact we have with newcomers to poker when broadcasting our amateur nights. The other evening I received an email from a new player saying, “My game is coming along nicely, but I still don’t know how often I should be bluffing. I feel it’s a real weakness in my game.” Now then… the following announcement is VERY important. There’s no law that says you HAVE to bluff in poker. Bluffing is a skill that bubbles away in the background and should ONLY be used when the situation calls for it. Now I know that was a lot of CAPITAL LETTERS but it’s an important point that needs shouting.

To expand upon “when the situation calls for it” here’s a quick example of rubbish bluffing for the sake of bluffing. Steve gets dealt 7-4 off-suit. It’s a dog of a hand. The blinds and antes are huge and he’s under the gun (i.e. first to act). “I’m all-in!” Steve declares, pushing all his chips in and staring down anyone insolent enough to look at him. He is “Mr Bluff”. He is a warrior. He is a wild card. He is also called by Dave with pocket kings who busts Steve out of the tournament like the chimp he is.

The key thing to remember is that bluffs should occur as a reaction to a situation. They also need to be misleading, not confusing. You don’t want to baffle your opponent; you want to sell them an untrue story that they will believe. Treat bluffing like lying to your wife. When do you do that? Answer: when it will be believable and get you what you want. You’re late home because you were enjoying yourself and didn’t want to leave the pub/footie/mistress. Do you call and say, a) I lost track of time and the tubes are up the spout so I’ll be home late, or b) an eagle stole my trousers and I tripped over playing cricket on Pope Gregory’s yacht in Africa and punctured my spleen?

Remember; misleading, not confusing.

Imagine you have a small random hand and limp into a pot only to see an ace fall on the flop. If no one takes any action before you, making a decent-sized bet yourself is selling the story “I have an ace”. It’s not confusing; it’s a deliberately misleading lie. If people buy into your story, you’ll get what you want (i.e. they fold and you take down a pot that you wouldn’t have won just by playing the cards).

So remember, bluffing isn’t just about making random moves in the hope of scaring people away; it’s about reacting to specific situations, and selling stories to get what you want. Don’t feel you have to bluff to succeed in poker, but realise that others will bluff against you, and it’s a very useful weapon to have in your poker armoury. Oh, and NEVER lie to your wife. She’ll see through it every time, guaranteed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

All aboard

The Scene: Eurostar to Paris, heaving to Deauville EPT.
The Players: Me, Ali (Virgin), Dubai, Dpommo.

The Eurostar 'port' at Waterloo is hardly the most glamorous lounge I've ever waited in, but my guts have been complaining about a steak sandwich I fucked up on the George Foreman yesterday night, so I'm just glad to sit down before gravity has the chance to force anything out of my arse unexpectedly. I don't know why I bought the bloody thing to be honest (the grill, not my arse). Like I need another cookery toy in my kitchen. Anyway, I suppose it'll look nice next to the blender (never used) the sandwich maker (some of the residual cheddar dates back to 1998) and an Ideal Home Show slicing machine I haven't touched since I nearly lost a finger just trying to get to the instruction book out back in 2002.

The Bagel Factory is advertising "Hot and Crispy" bacon bagels, and though the doc recommended I avoid eating and starve out whatever weevil rode into my stomach on the Foreman express and started partying, I'm starving and can't resist. Sadly, a more accurate description than "Hot and Crispy" might have been "Microwaved to the temperature of the sun and flaccid like John Pertwee's cock," but I imagine that probably wouldn’t look so good on their poster. It is, frankly, disappointing, and I think I just heard the weevil downstairs cheer at the arrival of breakfast. He certainly just opened another bottle of champagne if the pressure in my sphincter is to be believed.

In a move that I've since come to expect with this bunch, we upgrade to the highest level of travel possible. Pommo is small enough to look comfy, but I know Ali and I are going to have to be careful not to spend the next few hours cracking shins like horny boy elks fighting over lady elks. Exactly what makes this seat "1st Class" I really don't know, but Ali almost immediately pulls the arm off his chair for no apparent reason. "If you're looking for the 'in-flight' movie screen, I think you're fucked son."

A reasonably pretty waitress appears, prompting Dubai to sit up ever so slightly and remove his headphones (which are - just to give you some colour - larger than many family cars currently on sale). "Hope the lobster's fresh." he quips. "Yes," she replies, "Straight from the Thames." Touché. Dubai retreats back into the relative safety of his Craig Davids. "I'll pass on the lobster."

Thankfully, being the resilient chap he is, Dubai is ready for round two as the 'main course' arrives. It's the Eurostar's take on a full English, and Dave ventures a "Sausages medium please". She rewards him with total silence - as if he doesn't exist. I think he could be in here. Apparently Dubai recently turned up at a MacDonalds and asked for the fries to be lightly salted. The spotty underachiever at the till turned to the 'oil monitor' and shouted "FRIES LIGHTLY SALTED!" God only knows exactly how much phlegm his burger contained by the time the youths had had their way with it.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


OK - not necessarily a relevant report, but I had to share a glorious moment.

Isabelle Mercier.

Originally I thought she was quite atttractive, but I think there lurks a manipulative skank behind the 'pretty poker' facade. I've interviewed her a few times, and know her on a 'nodding at each other and smiling' basis. However, I found myself in a tournament in Monte Carlo with her to my immediate right. With her 'No Mercy' moniker, agression was very much on the cards, so - as I would with any hyper-agressive muppet - the plan is to allow her to steal lots of little blinds, and odds-and-sods hands, and then - when i get a hand - milk her back for everything she's nabbed, with interest.

I just seemed to keep getting involved in one-on-ones with her (and not in a naked good way, sadly) but no one else at the table was getting too involved, simply because i don't think they thought they could go up against her with anything other than aces or they'd lose their bottle.

Blinds are 50/100. She raises pre-flop to 250, I call with poket nines. Flop comes 9-2-5 which must look good to her pocket kings, because she does one of her 'special' chip flips, and dumps 500 into the pot and stares at me. I do a little bit of acting, a little "hmm"-ing, and then look at her chips. She has 650 left, so 1150 to me if i want to get her all-in. I raise her everything she has and she looks at me and smiles. "I think you might not like this" and very proudly plumps her kings down. "That's nice dear" I offer as I show her my set of nines. She starts squirming and sitting on her feet. Strange girl. No help comes and she is just bursting with reasons why she was so right to do what she did.

I'm already bored of my story. But you get the point. Note to self: Don't be an arrogant twat. Ever.

Monday, March 13, 2006


If there's one thing I've learnt from talking to the guys and gals that are already playing online poker for a living, it's that rakeback should be a big part of your consideration when selecting a 'home' for all your dosh.

Up until now the only addition to my actual winnings have been fabulous 'loyalty points'. You might not be surprised to hear that so far I nearly have enough points to buy 1/9th of a shite baseball cap. Yehaw.

I decided to contact all the big sites, essentially just saying that I plan to start playing seriously, and asking why I should give them my rake. I guess it's not too surprising to find that the big boys didn't want to offer me anything; suggesting that just being allowed to play on Poker Stars should be enough to make me happy. Others suggested I contact them after a month of playing "as i mean to go on" so that they can appraise my play. Yeah, and get a month's worth of dosh for free. Do I look like Johnny Bananas.

Ultimately I found a bunch of guys that broker rakeback deals. Just to name-check the guys that have been most helpful: and

So... after much deliberation, I'm down to Littlewoods or William Hill. I think.

More soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Preparation H

As previously mentioned, this blog is here to record journeys. Not necessarily only the journeys of others; just journeys. Initially the plan was to use this as a place for me to post the stories too grim or rude to be used in any of my published writing - an idea that became even more tempting once I started traveling more with the young poker players that are tearing up the scene right now (on and off the tables). However, the more I travel with them, the more I realise that I want to be one of them! I'm not too old to tear it up, and I certainly think I'm good enough to take them on over a table... so what next?

The first course of action - preparation and research.

First up is to work out just how much money I have spread around the 12 different poker clients that I somehow seem to have ended up donating to, and consolidate this as my starting bankroll.
Secondly I need to work out who is going to offer me the best deal to pump this bankroll.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And so the journey begins


I'm no stranger to writing, but I'm new to writing without some editor then removing all the swearing and juicy bits. I'm the poker columnist for FLUSH, as well as a regular contributor to POKER PLAYER, COOL PLAYER and the official WPT magazine. If you're the sort of sad git that likes to watch obscure late-night TV you might also see me presenting or commentating on the award-winning (ahem) POKER NIGHT LIVE.

My involvement in poker stretches back some ten years, but it's only in the last six months that it's become my life. I travel where the cards take me, participating in and reporting on some of the great tournaments. I also get to meet and travel with a host of great and not-so-great poker pros and wannabies.

Here, in this blog, we will see what trouble we can get into.

Welcome again...