Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Delightful Deauville

We flew to Paris last weekend with the intention of playing the EPT event at Deauville for which I won a seat on Stars.

Handily there was a juicy 500E short handed NLHE tournament at the Aviation on the Sunday which would serve as an appetizer.

Unfortunately I drew a seat next to the best short handed player in Europe, Devilfish. Fortunately I declined his offer of a last longer bet, but that was the only thing I did right in the event. The 'Fish treated the other players on his table to an absolute clinic of how to play short handed no limit. He amassed a huge stack of chips without ever seemingly putting a large proportion of them on offer. I finally took a stand against him with a suited ace only to find him with AK. End of me. I must admit I was very shocked the next morning to discover he didn't make the final. It just goes to prove doesn't it? (I'm not sure what it goes to prove, but it definitely proves something!)

Monday was Valentines day. Katharine and I did a few of the touristy things in Paris we hadn't done before, namely Notre Dame and the Pompidou Centre. All very romantic. One question though, does anyone know how to hail a taxi in Paris? We were shouting and hooting and waving our arms like maniacs only to be soundly ignored. Does the little light being on denote the taxi is available or not?

Deauville is alot of things, but easy to get to isn't one of them. Tuesday was travelling day. There are only about 3 trains a day from Paris so we had to make sure we caught the noon train or face a 5 hour wait. Other players chose the Ferry followed by a drive through Normandy. I'm told one couple even chose the vagaries of the French bus system.

We were staying at the Normandy hotel which is linked to the Casino Barriere by a tunnel. I cannot deny it is a *very* expensive place to stay, but I honestly think the service was the best I've encountered. When we had the "Do Not Disturb" sign up, not only did they not bother us, a shutter was rolled down over our windows to prevent light coming in! One day I retired to my room during the dinner break to have a shower and a change of clothes. When I returned a few hours later my clothes had been folded up and put away! It was like having a butler for a week.

The restaurants and facilities were excellent too. All in all the hotel cannot be recommended highly enough.

The town of Deauville is also a delight. It is so beautiful it could almost be a toy village. Countless interesting bars and restaurants. Plus two racecourses and a high class golf course. And the walk by the seafront was just stunning. It was so refreshing to play a big tournament away from a big city. I would guess the town does get very crowded in the summer, but perhpas if you could sneak a weekend in mid april, it would definitely be a break worth having.

Onto the poker. I won't dwell too long on this as Mr Anon hopes not "oh god is this going to be a 'i have just blown another massive stack deep in a tourny' story??". Basically I played great for 1.99 days and awfully in the last 5 minutes of day 2. Then I lost 2 coin flips on day 3 and finished 10th. No regrets. Congrats to my mate the Cobra for finishing 6th, an incredible performance considering the pressure he was under.

The tournament like everything else in Deauville was just about perfect. A lovely quiet, elegant room was dedicated to the event. Excellent dealers and tournament staff. A structure that couldn't be faulted in any way. I suppose a report from me wouldn't be complete without at least one gripe. So here goes. 3% of the prize pool was kept for the staff. Fair enough. But, when I went to the pay out window I was pushed politely towards the tip box and "expected" to leave something. Because I thought the event was so good I did leave another couple of % of my win, but I feel 3% is usually more than enough and anything extra should be purely voluntary.

All in all a wonderful week. I honestly don't think I've enjoyed a week's poker more. Met some great people (including Luckyblind who played out of his skin in the big event and is a top bloke) had fun, and won some money. What more can I ask?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Poker Scribes

I was pretty critical of Mike Paulle and Max Shapiro the other day.

But, they are far from the only tournament reporters on the block.

Tony "tikay" Kendall is rightly becoming well known over at blondepoker for his engaging takes on the European poker scene.

But, two others have made their mark recently too. Rolf Slotboom is writing reports for pokerpages and I must confess I was suprised how good they were. Check them out next time there's a major European event.

But, really the new king of tournament reporting is Brad "Otis" Willis who reports on PokerStars sponsored events here.

He gives a real flavour of the events and has taken tournament reporting to a new level. Next time PokerStars have an event, don't go anywhere else for your updates.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Normal Service Will be Resumed Shortly...

The internet connection is crap here in Deauville... but it's the only downer on a wonderful town and tournament.

I will furnish the full story when I return to Blighty on Monday(ish).

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Who Rattled Szeremeta's Cage?

This month's information packed and fun filled issue of Poker Europa includes an unprovoked and personal attack on me by the editor Nic Szeremeta.

The accusations are so risible as to not really worth responding to. But I will.

Firstly he attacks my thoughts on the PokerStars tsunamui relief appeal. Fair enough I suppose, but he neglects to mention my post of January 25th "A Good Point, Well Made..." where I changed my view for the final time to being generally supportive of the appeal. Since when has questioning motives of a big company been a crime anyway?

Then the only piece of the srticle which made me genuinely angry. He says I pledged $00,000 out of my win at Luton to tsunami relief. What business is it of his or anyone else whether I donated? If and how much I gave is a matter for me and my conscience. Would he would broadcast exactly how much he gave to charity if he won a big tournament? (A moot point I know, seeing as it's impossible he wins one). You have to question the motives of a famous person when they donate a large amount of money to charity and then let the media know all the details. In the words of Smashy and Nicey do they "do alot of work for charidee..."?

Finally, perhaps the most ridiculous part of the attack. He has often criticised the fact I and others dwell on the negative and don't boost poker. So, I write a wholly supportive piece about Marcel Luske saying what a great guy he is and he picks out five words "He's not a great player" and prints them. My view of his playing ability s purely subjective and means nothing.

Perhaps Mr Szeremeta should practice what he preaches and not dwell on the negative.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hats off to Gary Neville

(There's a title of a post I never thought I'd make)

Neville's words after the England v Holland friendly about the motives of Nike in supporting football's anti racism campaign were admirable to say the least.

The fact Nike make Man Utd's shirts and his criticism might lead to Neville being victimised in the pocket make his stand all the more impressive.

The full story is here

At the Risk of Annoying Big Dave D...

....because I know he hates the mindless cheering on of players in big finals when the writer has no financial interest. He calls it "Doyles Disease" I believe..

But, in the final of the PPT in Los Angeles is a guy who epitomises the phrase "good bloke", who hasn't had the best rub of the green for the last couple of years and has done more from me than I can over hope to repay.

So, just this once. I think I'm justified in saying COME ON ASHER MY SON!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I had to laugh...

Just tuned into Challenge tv for the Ultimate Poker Challenge.

I know it's the announcer's job to hype up the forthcoming programme but when she described this as "The World's best poker players doing battle for a huge first prize" I was more than a little amused to see that 6 of the seven contestants were: Steve Simmons, Michael Ross, Brain Nadell, Renee Wexler, Ken James and Mike Turner (who dey?) and they were playing for a first prize of wait for it.... $8000!

Talk about, filler tv!

Still, funny to see all this hoopla for a comp where the prize money is less than a £100 event at Luton!

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Quick Zip Around the Sites

I had an inexorable urge yesterday to go to Don't ask me why. It was inexorable.

Anyway, I was confronted by the same message which was there when I last looked about a year ago: "Our new site is under construction and will be appearing here very shortly". Exactly how shortly is "very shortly"? I mean, this is ridiculous, it's taking them more time to launch than it does for Jac Arama to turn over his cards when he's got the winning hand! At least it must be worth the wait, if it has taken this long to construct it's clearly going to be something special. Or maybe not.

Over at the Hendonmob all the talk is of Mark Napolitano of pokerpages taking the Mob to court over alleged theft of poker tournament results information. Frankly, I am surprised Mr Napolitano has got the time to mess about with court matters, after his starring appearance in the Pokerpages calender I would have thought he would be snowed under with modelling contracts. Anyway, I am no legal eagle but I'm not quite sure how the results of poker tournaments can belong to someone. Let's take a hypothetical tournament at the Vic which is won by Jim Britton (I told you it was hypothetical). How can the fact he won the event be "owned" by pokerpages or anyone else? Surely once the result is known the information is in the public domain it is owned by everyone. When QPR beat Man Utd 4-1 at Old Trafford a couple of years ago who owned that info? Was it the teams who provided the result? Was it the Premier League? Was it whichever news agency who you gathered this glorious information from? Or does everyone own it?

The legal action certainly smacks of sour grapes. Pokerpages had all this information at their fingertips for years and never did anything with it. The Mob got their fingers out and turned the data into a valuable and excellent resource. It is certainly a shame the user will be denied using the Mob's database in the future. Let's hope some agreement can be thrashed out and everything will return to how it was.

Maybe I'm not impartial but I believe is not nearly as bad as some people (well, Big Dave D in particular) reckon. Granted Hellmuth's column is usually pure drivel and Sexton's piece often isn't much better. And the less I say about Tom McEvoy the better. But, Daniel Negreanu's articles are without exception fascinating. Roy Cooke might be one of the most insightful thinkers on limit hold'em. I am also a fan of Ciaffone and Brier while keller shows promise. Allyn Shulman might not write to everyones tastes but her feature on Gus Hansen this week is excellent.

There are a couple of new kids on the poker websites block. I am not sure if Dave "The Queen Mother of Poker" Colclough knew what he was getting into when he secured the services of Tony Kendall for his new website Blondepoker has been set to comprehensively cover the uk and european poker scene. DC is notoriously laid back and tikay is, well, decidedly not. The guy writes great tournament reports and profiles and will certainly be an asset to the site. Tikay is a lovely bloke but I certainly wouldn't want to work with such a workaholic. He will want everything to be 100% right from day 1 and while that is admirable, poker players in general aren't so hassled by details. I hope it works out for them and early signs are certainly positive. is a new magazine style site with lots of intersting stuff and the best odds calculator I have seen. The only criticisms I would have is the site is pretty hard to navigate and the online poker tournament directory is nowhere near extensive enough. Still both sites are well worth checking out.

However, one site which certainly isn't worth checking out is It looks like Mark Strahan has totally given up on the site. A grand total of 5 new threads were started on the site's forum in the whole of January. And each and every one was spam!

I'm sure nearly everyone who reads my nonsense also reads www.pokerbastard.blogspot. But if you don't I urge you to check out his post "From The Mailbag". It's not really the post which is worth reading, it is the comments (29 so far and counting). The early parts of the thread involve DY trying to claim intellectual ownership of his initials and various people arguing this point. And later on it becomes a surreal debate on the pros and cons of professional poker play. There is a list of pro players and my name is surreally sandwiched between Stewart Reuben, Donn O'Dea, Surinder Sunar and Ben Roberts. If I had 10% of the money or ability of any of these guys I would be happy. In fact the whole thread is surreal. In the words of the bastard himself "You couldn't make it up."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Crikey! People Actually Read My Tosh. (Here's the proof..)

A couple of months ago I wrote something about PokerStars. The next day I received an email from them about my post.

Now, today on Pokerpages Mike Paulle reprints part of my critical post about him on his blog. He hopes "maybe we can let this thing go" after printing some of the reponses (with highly satirical and rib tickling funny editorial notes attached) to his original article.

What he doesn't do is apologise to Mr Stolzmann for the ridiculous and damaging comments he made in his original post.

Meanwhile, I guess if I am ever lucky enough to be in the final stages of a tournament where Mr Paulle is reporting it will be a pretty safe bet that he will not be too complementary of either me or my play...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Brief Copenhagen Trip Report

Very nice city, people friendly and lots of interesting stuff to see and do.
Main tournament very well organised with a good structure.
Hotel better than average and fairly priced.
Local players were eager and welcoming.

Copenhagen is the most expenisve city I've ever visted. We went to a bar in the city and two small beers cost over £8!
The supporting (non EPT) poker tournaments were complete farces.
The rake on cash games was ridiculously high.
In the casino all winning bets are taxed! if you have 100krone on a blackjack hand which wins you get paid 95! Makes it impossible to win.
Dealers were poor. I accept they were new to dealing poker, but on a couple of occassions I tried to help when they had a problem and was basically told to shut up.
I played badly in the EPT event.
Standard of service in restaurants and bars was very low. Possibly the worst I've ever encountered.

Although I enjoyed my three days in Denmark, sadly I doubt very much if I'll ever return.

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