The Beat

The Beat

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Neil Channing on London, Ninjas and the 1st card off the deck rule.

Tours of London

You might think the highlight of this month for me would be the same as the highlight of the month for any poker pro living in London. Of course the EPT and also the UKIPT London should be the highlight of the year for any UK pro, not just the London ones. At least this one is taking place in the autumn and it doesn’t clash with the Cheltenham Festival, making it impossible to play. Two amazing month-long festivals coming to my town in one year! It should be everything I dream about.

I’ve gone over the schedule and it looks like it could get very expensive very quickly, though. First up we have the UKIPT London, with a few side events and a high-roller and then the EPT, with a multitude of events to fit the pockets of anyone with a decent six-figure bankroll. I guess I’ll play the UKIPT, and maybe the high-roller to that one, and then see how I go.

Obviously, it will never be like the old days of watching Phil Ivey cram into a corner of the Vic restaurant where they’d stuck an extra table. I was never a massive fan of the Metropole as a venue and the fact that the event is moving to the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden ought to be a good thing. It definitely looks very grand.


London Fields

The Connaught Rooms is not a casino, and they will be tagging onto the licence of The Hippodrome, which Stars are involved in. I think I’m right in assuming the venue will be cashless, although it isn’t clear from the website, and that will mean no direct buy-ins on the day, on site, from last minute punters.

The EPT website says that you can buy-in via your Stars account three days before, but there are no details of any other ways to buy-in. Stars tell me that players who don’t want to buy-in on their account will need to go to the Hippodrome and pay with cash or a card and then walk ten minutes to the venue to play.

The problem here is that I’d rather not be playing tournaments purely against people who are organised enough to buy-in three days before and who have a few grand in their Stars account. I would really like to just play against people who turn up on the day and fancy a bit of a gamble for fun. If those people are all busy queuing at The Hippodrome while the clock is running and they have no idea how to get to the Connaught Rooms, are they going to come?

I notice that the Barcelona EPT had a massive increase in numbers, but I’m currently wondering if the London poker market is anything like that. Will all the players who turned up to play the events in March be happy to come back and play again? Will the players who turned up for sunshine and a great beach in Barcelona fancy wind and rain in London in October? I hope so, and I’m pretty certain that the UKIPT and the EPT main events will be busy, but I just wonder whether there is room for all these side events, and, if I want to take part in them, are they going to be mostly full of tour grinders and missing a lot of casual players who just fancy buying in on the day?


First Card off the Deck

I think we need more clarification about the “first card off the deck rule”. This is the one that says that your hand is dead if you aren’t at your seat as the first card is dealt. We have already seen from Barcelona that dealers are not really sure what constitutes “at or near your seat”, that nobody is sure how to police the rule, and there is masses of room for inconsistency – the rule will be enforced with a massive amount of zeal by certain individuals and not by others.

The main problem with enforcing the rule is that it’s hard to be killing hands and dealing cards at the same time. If you start killing the dead hands after you’ve dealt the final card to the button, then the player just ALWAYS says they were there even if they were 20 feet away. It’s now down to the individual dealer to decide whether they like that player or whether they fancy a fight.
If a law is unenforceable, as I believe this one is, then it makes it hard for people to respect the rule of law.

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but in a world where finding and keeping customers is hard, I’m not quite sure why nobody wants to just listen to the customers on this one.


Northern Stars

If – by some miracle – I fail to make the final of the EPT London, I will soon be cheered up by a trip I’ve had circled in red in the diary for a while. I’ll be off to Carlisle to play the Northern Poker Stars Championship event. The group of people that play regularly at the Ukrainian Club in Carlisle are great and when I went there last year they treated me like a king. I promised them I would come and play in their main event which has a £200+20 buy-in and which attracts a decent field from around the North East and even from Scotland.

Everyone is welcome and the event is all done on the one day of October 12th. Apparently they have done a deal with the Hallmark Hotel next to the train station for discounted rooms, and I know from experience you’ll get a warm welcome and, they tell me, a shot at a fantastic trophy.
If you can possibly make it, you should.


Ninja Stars

My last poker event of the month will be great as I don’t even have to leave my house. October 21st is the start of our popular Ninja week at Black Belt Poker. We’ll have tournaments each night to suit all bankrolls and the main event on Sunday 27th will be a $50 NLH.

As usual I’ll be bound to get the sums wrong and they’ll be loads of value with guarantees, overlays, cheap satellites, bounties and added value.

If you haven’t tried us yet, it could be the week to start.


Tags: Neil Channing, rules