Saturday, November 17, 2007

It ain't easy

Probably the Holy Grail for most poker players is getting some kind of sponsorship deal. The thought of being able to play with the best poker players on the planet without having to personally stump up thousands in cash sounds like a dream come true. Oh, and the prize money is hardly a put-off either…
I recently had this dream realised, when a company called WINunited decided to make me a sponsored player – representing them in a bunch of UK tournaments.

Now I always thought the tough part of the tournament circuit was the long hours of focus required at the felt; the punishing ‘fold fold fold’ of card-dead levels; the grim buffets; having Tony G slag your mum off to your face while Devilfish tries to get off with your girlfriend, etc. However, I’ve recently found that the hardest part of the gig is actually getting to the bloody games in the first place!

With the GUKPT taking place in nearby Luton, it seemed the perfect opportunity to unwrap my freshly-branded shirt and get things going at the tables. Having had the funds transferred to my account, I logged into the official GUKPT site just to be sure I had the details right. There it was: Wednesday 8th August, £300 PL Omaha, 8pm. Superb. With Luton about an hour’s drive from my gaff I thought I’d set out at about 5:30pm, giving myself plenty of time to get familiar with the venue, have a natter with anyone I knew there, and just generally prepare myself for the event. If the traffic was bad, I’d still be there no later than 7pm (7:30pm if it was REALLY bad).

I found myself too distracted to work during the day so ended up killing time playing Mah Jong for money (I’ll tell you more about that another time) until about 5pm when I thought I’d start gathering up my bits and pieces and prepare for the zip up to Luton. As well as the iPod, I’d also remembered to power up my trusty Tom Tom so that it could take charge of dragging my lazy arse up to Luton without having to think. I often worry that I’ve become too reliant on the Tom Tom. If it ever breaks down I’ll have to make a life for myself wherever I am at the time – I’ll never find my way back home without it.

Anyway, I decided to do a quick internet search to get the venue’s postcode for the GPS, so Googled the casino rather than jump direct to the GUKPT site I’d mostly been referring to. Up popped the address, along with the tournament listings. But something was wrong... On this site it had the £300 PLO as a 6pm event. The fools! They’d only gone and put the wrong time on their own site! How laughable. I mean… unless the official GUKPT site had got it wrong.... Nah. That was a ludicrous idea. I mean, how likely was it that the official site would be so stupid as to get the time wrong for their own event? Gulp…

I decided to call the card room anyway, you know, ‘just to be sure’: “Hello there. You’ll probably think I’m being silly (chortled I, nervously) but I just wanted to check that the time of the £300 Omaha event hasn’t changed.” “No sir,” I was reassured, “it’s still at 6pm.” AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG!

Sadly, no amount of Tom Tom-foolery or disregard for British speed limits could get me round the M25 and up the roadwork-laden M1 in anything less than an hour and a half, leaving me standing in the tournament room watching everyone play in MY tournament. I’ve never really understood the phrase crest-fallen, but my ‘crest’ was not only fallen, but dragging along the floor like a prolapsed anus.

All I could do was use the opportunity to register for the £1k Main Event in two days time, grab a free coffee, and shuffle back to my car and the pitiful stare of my GPS. “Take me home Tom Tom, take me home…”

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