The Beat

The Beat

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Neil "Bad Beat" Channing surveys the affairs of the gambling classes

Hoodie Hell

I played a fair bit of live poker last month. It was the first time I’d really played live since Vegas. I was over in Ireland for the IPO and the IWF and they were both great fun. The IPO is made up almost entirely of recreational players – normal people with jobs, who have looked forward to the weekend and are determined to have fun. Although the IWF is a bigger event with a major prize at stake, half the field are satellite winners and for many this was the biggest event they’d ever played, and they still seemed to come at it with fun in mind.
  I then played the UKIPT in Bristol. I got a nice friendly table with a bunch of people who seemed to understand that poker is a game, you are meant to enjoy it and it should be fun, while accepting that most days you won’t win the first prize.
 With 550 players and a £90,000 first prize, the UKIPT was definitely a success and one that you would bet will continue to be throughout 2013.
 I came away a little worried, though. Later on in my day the table changed and the average age got much younger. Now I don’t want to be an old fogey here, and I’m certainly not grouping all young players together on this one. What happened, though, was two youngsters joined the table and put the hoodies up and the headphones on.
 From now on every pot was three-bet after a 90 second tank, conversation died, we stopped getting any hands in and people were made to feel conscious about their play.
 As if that wasn’t bad enough, a third young fella arrived who immediately wanted to make little comments about strategy to the other guys. We weren’t having strategy discussions on our table; we went for barber shop talk, like news, holidays, sport and gossip. Strategy talk was not going to help anyone here.
 Our new guy was also very slow but, just in case he hadn’t upset me enough, he now went for a major crime. He berated a nice man who was having a perfectly enjoyable day for playing a hand in a way that he thought was sub-optimal.
 I know the readers of Bluff are not stupid, so I don’t need to tell you why berating players is not a good thing to do, and why it’s very bad for the game. I will just say, though, if you are one of the people who thinks it’s cool to come to an event, stick your hoodie up and your music on and the only time you open your mouth is to talk about poker strategy in a way that is certain to alienate the people playing for fun, or to berate those same people – please don’t. Please don’t, for all our sakes, otherwise we will have no games left to play in.


Foxy Festival

This month I’m going to play some more live poker. There are so many venues in London now and competition is fierce. I think the Fox Poker Club is doing well. They seem to have settled into the niche of being a good place to go for small to medium tournaments and they do that job pretty well.
It seems that Genting have decided to slide a few of the events that used to happen at the Palm Beech to The Fox and that means they have now got a decent little festival this month.
  The regular monthly Fox Club £400 is on the weekend of the 8th and 9th, while the “Big Game” is on Monday 3rd. Having these as a building block to the festival should get a few more into these already popular events.
 I’m looking forward to playing the main event which is a £1,500 with two day ones. The Genting Poker Series has been popular all year and I’m sure plenty of the London regulars will buy-in to this one on the day. Genting have qualified a few people throughout the year and there are live satellites during that week. I’m hoping the field won’t be quite as tough as the recent EPO which they held, and I guess they’ll get slightly more runners for this one.
 The one event of the week which I fear for is the High Roller. I think a £5,000 event in London could work, but it must be noted that, aside from the EPT, this is the highest buy-in for any tournament in the country. I think you have to think very hard about the date and time and who you are trying to attract. Last month I wrote about the GUKPT Grand Final and their event finishes just after the Genting event starts. The Grosvenor £2,500 event is among the top five biggest buy-in events of the year and the day two is on Saturday 1st at 2pm.
 If I were running a £5,000 buy-in event in London, I might not choose Saturday 1st at 2pm as the time and date. I don’t think the big players in London really like to start playing in the afternoon anyway. Obviously the professionals can make the effort to come anytime there is a big event, but I would have thought this event should be pitched at the Mayfair-based high-rollers who want to play weekday evenings and would like a one-night event that doesn’t clash with work or family commitments.
 I would have put this one on the 10th and then I could have had some satellites over the weekend. Having a big buy-in at the start is never going to encourage players and if you have it at the end you may get some of the winners from the other events buying-in. It would be a shame if this event struggled as there is a place for it in the calendar.

12 Days of Xmas

If you’re reading all this stuff and thinking, “He just talks about big buy-in things that I’m never going to play,” I can maybe help you this month. Black Belt Poker are running a great promotion called the 12 Days of Christmas. Our 12 Days go from the 7th December and involve a $5 tournament every night. If you want to win prizes in this promo you’ll need to collect Gift Vouchers for these tournaments and then you’ll need to cash in the events. If you can cash seven out of the12 events you’ll get a fantastic Irish Open package.
 To take part, you need to get to the site and start collecting your Gift Vouchers. There are lots of different ways to do that. Six cashes, five cashes, four, three, two and one get you great prizes, and even if you fail to cash in any of the 12 Days events you still get a Christmas present from Black Belt Poker.
 We’ll send you a pair of socks.

Tags: neil channing, column, bluff