Saturday, 14 August 2010
I’ve been nominated for an award! Very exciting. It’s for “Contribution to Poker” in the British Poker Awards. I felt a bit odd about it at first because some of the other nominees have made enormous contributions to poker over the years, with which it feels strange and almost rude to be competing, but the editor of Bluff magazine tells me that it’s “pretty much for this year” - and of course, my poker book came out which needs ALL THE HELP IT CAN GET.
For a lifetime achievement thing, I’d be embarrassed to look even vaguely interested in taking on Anthony Holden or Jesse May - or pretty much anyone on the list - but if this were a lifetime achievement category, where is Al Alvarez, or John Duthie, or Nic Szeremeta or The Hendon Mob? No, I shall take on face value that this is for the last 12 months, in which case I would DEFINITELY like my little book to be in with a shot of best contribution to poker, so please help me avoid getting no votes at all!
But what if you’ve read the book and want to vote (for or against, up to you; if voting against, any of its rivals are highly eligible) but aren’t familiar with everyone in the other categories? Here are my thoughts:
BEST CASH PLAYER.
I’ll be voting for my friend Neil Channing, who has done wonders to spread the popularity of poker, both with his own sparkly personality and the time he has put in this year to launch the BlackBelt poker website. He’s a great cash player and has been working like a horse. Or there’s Ben Roberts, the most gentlemanly gentleman in all of poker, who has been beating the cash games all over the world for decades and is inspirational in his general attitude and his behaviour at the table.
BEST TOURNAMENT PLAYER.
Here, I’d probably choose between Praz Bansi and James Dempsey, who both won first-prize bracelets at this year’s World Series of Poker and helped Britain break the record for number of bracelets won by any nation outside America in a single series.
BEST ONLINE PLAYER
In this category, I personally would vote for Richard “Chufty” Ashby because he was another of the five heroic Brits who gave us the bracelet record at the WSOP. He smashes it up online. Other notables are Ben Grundy (who used to write a poker column in the Telegraph), Chris Moorman (who seems to have mastered the internet) - or, as a wild card, Luke “FullFlush” Schwarz who is the biggest character here. He has a bad boy image, making terrible remarks in TV games; I worry about that kind of thing, but it definitely draws more viewers to televised poker and he’s a sweet and lovely chap when you meet him.
BEST INTERNATIONAL PLAYER
Phil Ivey is the greatest tournament player of the modern age. Tom Dwan is also a genius. Either of those would be deserving winners. Isildur1 is a mysterious figure who beat all the big players online, but remains anonymous and nobody knows who he is.
BEST POKER LEAGUE
I haven’t played in any of these poker leagues and can’t really have an opinion here.
BEST UK CARD ROOM
Well now. If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that the Victoria Casino is my home from home; I love it like a relative and couldn’t vote for anything else. It is the absolute grand-daddy of British Poker, and its ultimate HQ. But, based on the year 2009-10, if I had just arrived in the UK and tested them all blind, I would be most impressed by the Dusk Til Dawn in Nottingham which is a beautiful and spacious room run with dedication by Simon Trumper and a great team of dealers; the Palm Beach which has a small twinkly card room and treats players very well; or the G Casino chain, which has done a great job of hosting the new UK & Ireland Poker Tour.
BEST CONTRIBUTION TO POKER
Aha, well, this is where I’m hoping for a couple of votes. I’m not going to help you realize how good all the others are, you’ll have to Google them.
BEST UK POKER FORUM
The Hendon Mob Forum is the only one I look at, so that’s what I’d vote for. But BlondePoker and Gutshot seem to have great community spirit, especially for more recent players, and are very well deserving contenders.
Or pick ‘em all with a pin. Do it that way and at least I have a 5/1 shot. Voting is here - as long as I don’t get 0 votes, I’ll be happy.