Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lucky Boy

So I know the last post was a bit doom and gloom, but things are on the up! I appear to slowly be transforming into a session musician while remaining closely connected to the poker world without having to rely on it entirely. Which is nice.

This week sees the recording of the final week of the radio show I've been doing with Jesse May for over a year now - It's incredible to think we've done 32 weeks of this! We started out producing three three-hour live shows a week for twelve week runs. We did this for the first two seasons (seems like even we English now prefer the term 'seasons' to 'series' - how very '24') but the third season has seen us shift to three podcasts a week, no more than 70 minutes in length. It's proved much easier both practically and from a content control point of view. I won't lie to you; with nine hours a week to generate we often had dullards on the phone that I STILL let talk for 30 minutes just to eat up the shows (shame on me). With these more compact shows we've not had to fill in such a way, while proper planning has allowed us to keep the quality high.

I'm not sure if the show will get picked up for a second year right now, but it would seem a shame to have built up a good name for ourselves to not continue. I'm also worried that if we don't have a radio show I'll never get invited to any PR jollies again. Which brings me to... BRIGHTON!

Yes, thanks to my affiliation with The Poker Show and also the ON THE RAIL podcast, I was fortunate enough to be invited down to Brighton for the relaunch of the seafront G Casino. I introduced myself to the group via a slight faux pas, involving a rather attractive PR lady who brought out the never-useful 'alpha male' in me. I attempted to take over the manly duty of instructing the taxi driver, and promptly sent him down towards to the wrong casino some 15 minutes away (doubly embarrassing considering the G Casino turned out to be literally one minute from our hotel). Still, everyone agreed it was nice to see a bit more of Brighton (ahem).

Inside the G you can see where Vegas has really set the trend for UK casinos. I remember my first experiences in London casinos, where nursing-home carpets and silence were the order of the day. The G Casino has smart decor (is it too metrosexual to REALLY like chocolate and orange as a colour scheme?) a lively sexy atmosphere, with music and chatter providing a much more welcoming background noise than the snorting and gambling of old. Another interesting introduction to the G Casino is... SPACE! Yes, rather than dedicate every square inch to gaming machines, there's lots of room to simply 'be' without having to constantly face flashing slots or avoid eye-contact with a blackjack dealer.

I've always envied how relaxed casinos are in the states, where the majority of visitors are there to party, meet friends, have a drink, grab some food, and MAYBE gamble. In the UK it's always felt like you have to walk in, check your coat, shuffle to a table, must immediately gamble, and then quickly leave to make way for more 'winners'. I'm glad to say the G seemed to be full of young people (well, young at heart anyway) mostly more interested in the bar, restaurant and Four Tops tribute singers (of which I counted only three - a small technical error I'm sure).

Poker-wise there's a 10-table room, boasting games such as a mid-week £15 freeze out (which I think is the perfect kind of level to encourage people to play that might not normally). In my journalistic guise I sampled the beer, lemonade (which seemed fine but NOT as tasty as beer) and also attacked a few plates from the bar menu. The PR team even pitched in with the eating and drinking to make sure I had a good time. God they work hard.

I know this has ended up like a bit of an advert, but I'm keen to impress upon you that casinos are becoming nice places to be - regardless of whether you consider yourself a gambler or not. Rank now have about a dozen of these revamped G Casinos in the UK, and if the Brighton one isn't near enough for you, I suggest you find one that is and make an evening of it. You never know, you might even win something (or at least meet a pretty PR lady dragging hungry journalists around).

Happy hunting.