Last Bahamian Highlights - And A Proper Film!
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Well, I’m back from the Bahamas. I didn’t have my mini-video-camera with me for the last couple of days - which is a shame, because those were the days I played blackjack with Verne Troyer and poker with Ricki Lake. Get me, gambling in secret with Hollywood stars! But hey, at least I had the camera when I was looking at a stuffed crab in a shop window.
For those who are missing the video action, I’ve got some proper footage for you at the end of this post - a whole TV show. First, some final highlights from the Bahamas:
1) I made a final table! Yay! It was the ladies-only event and I don’t usually play those, but I made an exception (rationale in my poker column here) and was very glad I did, when I made the final and finished fourth for $9,312. That was where I played with the American actress turned talk show host Ricki Lake, who also cashed, in 6th place for $5587. I was impressed with her play: aggressive, committed, unafraid to move all in when she sensed weakness. These are usually the aspects of tournament poker which newer women players find difficult to grasp. Take a note, ladies: when in doubt, ship it in.
2) Another highlight began when I was playing blackjack with a funny American guy who’d just done his money in a $5-$10 Omaha game. I like making friends at the blackjack table, as long as the other person understands the rules: the friendship lasts for as long as you’re both at the table, not beyond, and you have to concentrate on the blackjack at the same time. I liked this guy, he was fun and amusingly bitter about the cash game he’d just been playing. There was something very English about his tone; his acerbic comments made me homesick for Ashley and The Sweep in my home game. He was complaining mainly about the last hand in which he went skint.
“This crazy gambler, playing any four cards”, the American moaned. “It was the dumbest piece of luck. I flopped a flush, he had two pair, we got it all in. I shoulda run it twice but I was so behind, I was stuck, and there was like $8000 in this pot so I didn’t. Course the madman hits a boat on the river, now I’m here.”
Sadly, our blackjack game, and friendship, ended when it was time for me to go off for dinner. Hard though it was for me to tear myself away from the action, I’d made plans with John Duthie, the Mr Big of European Poker, and nobody stands up Mr Big.
“How’s your trip going?”, I asked.
“It was good tonight”, said Mr Big. “I had a great hand against this American guy. I flopped two pair, he had a flush, we got it all in….”
3) Bumping into Jake Cody and James Dempsey at the airport for the return flight. Dempsey was wearing shorts, an Italia 90 shirt and a giant hat. Cody was clutching a toy wolf that played tunes. They looked like a couple returning from a honeymoon they’d won on a game show. Cody may be one of the most terrifying opponents in modern poker, winning $1.7m last year alone, but you wouldn’t think so to see him asleep on a plane with a cuddly toy clutched in his arms. I’m normally frightened of flying, but not with that sight across the aisle…
So, home at last, and here is the promised “proper footage”: grown-up, professional Channel 4 televised poker. This is properly shot and edited, with real action coverage, rather than just me holding a £50 camera at arm’s length and waving the three of spades. And it’s quite fun poker - basically it’s me talking too much, worrying about my glasses, drinking tea, trying to smash it up on a tough table with Kevin “ImaLucSack” MacPhee, Anton Wigg, Celia Lin and Fabien Quoss. Sadly I got unlucky on Day 2 and ended up not cashing in the tournament, but (if I say so myself) I played pretty well. See if you disagree, it’s the first episode of the London EPT 2010.
(It’s 50 minutes long although, barring a couple of quick interviews, I don’t appear until 24 minutes in, so you can always scroll forwards if you just want to see how badly my hair needed washing.)
Next stop: EPT Deauville.