My mouth hung open a little, "Durrr" style, when I checked out the cashier page shortly after winning an all expenses paid trip to London to see the Full Tilt Million Dollar cash game.Full Tilt had been more than generous and I resolved to pop in and see the Queen about making Sir Alcanthang's knighthood an official one after all the hard work he had done to ensure two British players made it to London.
The Britblogger challenge game had been run over the last ten weeks and finishing in the top two had won Bullmeister and me our trips to the big smoke.I only knew Bully through playing the Brit Blogger games but it didn't take us long to get in touch regarding our plans for London.The Big man started the wind-ups right off the bat by telling me he'd been credited with nearly twice the amount I had received as prize money!
I was up early to catch the train from Glasgow to London on Wednesday morning and when the 6ft 5' Bullmeister joined me a couple of hours into the journey at Preston, I managed to quickly squeeze in my opinion that players shouldn't take $5 blogger games too seriously and thankfully this seemed to stick in his mind as we got around to discussing an outrageous bluff I'd pulled on him during the last game! Bully turned out to be a top bloke and I thoroughly enjoyed his company over our two day stay.
After checking in at our hotel it was straight to the Hellenic Centre for the big game.The atmosphere seemed relaxed and after ordering a couple of beers from the free bar it was time to settle down and watch some of the worlds very best players do battle at the felt.
The tone was set when Patrik Antonious and Phil Ivey were both in blind for $100k each on the first hand! Ivey's 73 spiked a 3 against K6 and a small ripple of applause broke out.I can imagine how I would feel if I lost a big pot at low stakes I play at and people started applauding.One of the floor guys was quick to ensure there was no more clapping at moments like that.
The audience itself was small and and most had no clue about poker as they were paid extras.Both Bully and I felt it was a shame that real poker fans couldn't have been used, but for the sake of the production we could understand it as everyone turned up on time,the players were pretty much left alone when milling around on breaks and there were no interruptions to play at the tables.( despite Bullys threat to streak naked and my temptation to step forward and flick Durrrs ears or push his gaping mouth closed!)
There was plenty going on away from the tables too with players playing roshambo for huge money right beside us and Chinese poker for even bigger stakes going on too.There was gambol in the air as well as the cards,that's for sure!
Bully became close friends with one of the actor extras he was sure had starred in Last of the Mohican's!Upon receiving his actor friends business card before leaving on Friday it became clear that Bully's Oscar winning buddy had mainly been starring as a clown/magician at children's parties!
Other interesting highlights were the change in young Tom "Durrr" Dwan between day one and day two.I realise the boy will take a coinflip for $100k without blinking, but at one point he lost his $150k stack and watching him sitting waiting on a reload ,he looked like a wee boy who had won a competition to play with the seasoned pros who were all chatting away like old buddies.From what I could see his play was still fearless during day one, but he was very quiet and just didn't seem to fit in at the table.By day two he was still playing almost every pot ,his confidence around the other pro's seemed to have grown and he was a lot more chatty and outgoing.
Mike Matusow arriving at the table and not caring who was winning but just wanting to know who the loosest players were was quite funny, as was his $5k promise to anyone who could drag Hellmuth back to the table after the Eleven time bracelet winner stormed out.The Hellmuth blow-up came after the tournament director casually touched his shoulder to get his attention and had more to do with him being down over 200k and him playing up to his poker brat image than anything else it seemed to me.
Without hole card cameras it was hard to follow every hand in great detail.Ivey's set of threes beating Ferguson's Aces for over $500k stuck in my head and a couple of spectacular Ivey bluffs also caught my eye.I'm looking forward to catching more on the Sky sports coverage during January.
Overall it was a fantastic trip.Henry from Full Tilt made us very welcome and it was an honour and a privilege to get within touching distance of guys playing poker for nosebleed stakes.Bully and I didn't like to bother many of the pro's during their breaks but Chris Ferguson was a pleasure to chat to and Gus Hansen was kind enough to sign an autograph for his number one fan ( my Mum!) after the game had ended.
I've missed out winning at roulette,avoiding sniffer spaniels ,the fine Indian meal Bully and I enjoyed on Thursday night,me sitting down next to Bully at a fast food outlet and offering him the barbecue sauce he'd requested only to find it wasn't Bully at all,the sexy secretary at the window across the road from the Hellenic Centre and the receptionist losing our room key. (Bully wound me up that we'd probably been robbed!)
Thanks again Full Tilt.It was a blast!
I haven't played much since I arrived home although I'm looking forward to tonights Bloggerment and RTR league games.I did manage to catch up with Al Eleven last night for the first time in ages and I hope next time it won't be so long!
Tomorrow I'm chilling out and then on Tuesday I'm off to Amsterdam for a couple of days.Back soon....