The Beat

The Beat

Monday, 16 December 2013

Neil Channing on Newcastle live, UKIPT and the Hall of Fame.

Six Sense

By the time you read these words I’ll be in the final of the UKIPT six-max in Nottingham. Who knows, I may have already won it. I thought I’d mention it anyway to say a thank you to Rob Yong and the team at DTD and the UKIPT people for running a major six-max event.

Six-max is always popular with the players. Not only does it add a bit of variety to the schedules but it also means more comfort – you don’t have to become so well acquainted with your neighbour. On top of that, it’s a more fun-game to play. The blinds come round much quicker than they do in a regular ring-game so you’re forced to play more hands and you can get more involved in the game – much less sitting around waiting for a hand to be done. Given all those advantages, you might think this would be the only form of the game anyone should ever play.

Sadly, it doesn’t work like that.

The people running the events – the casinos, clubs and internet sites – will quite rightly tell you that tournaments do not make money. The main expense of running them is the dealer wages, and if you only have six players on a table you need more dealers per player. You also may not have room for so many tables so you might have to turn people away. Luckily, DTD is pretty big and it’s sure to be packed with players, so hopefully everyone will get in.

Six-max plays differently to other tournaments. People bust much more quickly and therefore seats are vacant and tables are opening up all the time. It may actually turn out that the speed at which the game is played means that tournaments are much faster, and players are busting and finding their way to the bar, cash games and casino much more quickly than in “regular” events. Maybe if they did the maths the organisers of events might find that six-max is actually the best format for them.

Certainly, I’d like to see more six-max events scheduled but, failing that, it would be great to have eight-handed tables for the main events of the big tours.

That way you would get the best of both worlds.


Hit the North!

I haven’t played too much poker in the latter half of this year. I did make an exception to go up to Carlisle where my good friend, Ken Johnston, runs the Northern Poker Stars Championship. That was a really good fun event and it made me realise again just what a thriving poker scene there is up in the wild and windy north. Having in the past run our Black Belt Live events at Aspers in Stratford, E15, we thought we’d go to Aspers again. This time we chose Aspers in Newcastle.

Players in the north often complain that poker events forget about them and I’m keen to show that isn’t the case. I’m hoping that, as well as bringing a large bunch of our regulars up from London and encouraging the Carlisle crew to come along, we’ll attract players from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Scotland, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle itself. The event is a £180+20 NLH run over two days. It is held at Aspers Newcastle on December 7th. We’ll be crowning a champion and presenting the trophy on December 8th.

I’d hope we’ll sell out the 150 places in this one at least a week before, and if you’d like to come you’ll need to register at Black Belt Poker. All buy-ins will be only dealt with by the site. You can’t buy-in at the venue, and if you try and leave it until the day you’ll miss out, so please register now and don’t complain to me when you ignore these instructions.

I warn you now, though: I’m quite keen on winning this one. (Ed: and true to his word he did go on and win it!)


Hall of Fame?

December is a time to look back at the achievements of the year and various poker awards come up at this time. I was taking an interest in the poker Hall of Fame recently.

There was a fair bit of controversy in the two players who were inducted in the Hall of Fame this year. Tom McEvoy has four WSOP bracelets, he is a past Main Event champion, and he worked hard at getting smoking banned from poker tournaments. For all of those reasons I think he deserves a place. The fact that he wasn’t the only person to get smoking banned, that he may not be the greatest poker player in the modern age, and that he does not play high-stakes cash and never has done, does not bother me too much.

Scotty Nguyen has five bracelets and has won the $50,000 Championship event as well as the Main Event. He is not a feature in the biggest cash games, however, and he sometimes gets drunk and says rude words. Neither of these things really bother me and I’m happy enough to see him there.

There were seven other players nominated and I would guess that many of them will come up again next year. With only two players going in each year, I can see places for Mike Matusow, Jen Harman, Huck Seed and Carlos Mortenson pretty soon. You have to be over 40 to get in and it won’t be too long before Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey get a place.

Two people who were nominated this year were Thor Hansen and Chris Bjorin. Other than Carlos, they are the only Europeans to get a mention. Given that the four I mentioned from the nominees this year look certain to just “get their turn” soon, and given that Carlos is kind of regarded as American, it is kind of sad for European poker.

I could make a really good case for Surinder Sunar, Donnacha O’Dea and the Devilfish to be included, but with just two a year going in it seems that they may never make it. I like the idea of the Poker Hall of Fame, but it’s sad if it’s just be the US Poker Hall of Fame.


Tags: Neil Channing, Poker Hall of Fame, Chris Bjorin, Surinder Sunar, Devilfish