Table Talk With Tikay

Table Talk With Tikay

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

To deal or not to deal and much else besides.....

The WSOP 2014

That break before the “November Nine” seems to take all the zip and zing away from the Vegas WSOP Main Event atmosphere, doesn’t it? However, the final itself was an absolute corker, and well worth the wait. The eventual winner Martin Jacobson certainly handled the pressure well, as he was chip leader at the end of Day 1a, over four long months before the final. He seems a decent sort, too, judging by his comments after the event.

I’m not really sure if the $10 million up top was a good idea or not. On balance, though, anything which gets positive headlines in the mainstream media has to be good, right? Martin was the third winner from Europe in the past seven years, following on from Peter Eastgate (Denmark, 2008) and Pius Heinz (Germany, 2011). But what about the British and Irish? We haven’t even had a finalist since 2011, when Eoghan O’Dea and Sam Holden both made the November Nine.

Why is that? Variance, run bad, or, perish the thought, not good enough? Probably not the latter, in fact almost certainly not, but it should lead to some self-examination. The Brits and Irish seemed to be noticeable by their absence this year; I’ve never seen so few of them at the WSOP in the decade I’ve been attending.

It’s a shame because, for all the criticism, the WSOP in Las Vegas is still the biggest poker tournament in the world. As far as I’m concerned, as long as I have breath in my body and money in my pocket, I’ll be there every year.

Martin Jacobson 2

Deal or No Deal?
When the last three players returned to play out the WSOP Main Event Final, they were playing for around $4m, $5m, and that magical $10 million up top. It all seemed pretty good-natured from what I saw, especially given the monster money they were playing for. Does anyone else think that they may have done some ‘business’ overnight?

It would not bother me one jot if they did, but I do find it a bit odd that deals in WSOP Finals are almost never mentioned. They must happen, surely? It seems to a bit of a taboo subject: we all know about it, but never mention it, much the same as my Aunt Edith’s incontinence.

I know I would deal, given that chance. Once we get into millions, who cares how many you get any more? When the first guy nervously clears his throat and says “Anyone fancy chopping it up?” my hand would be first in the air.

OK mate, if you insist.

Patrick Leonard

Has anyone ever seen the likes of Patrick Leonard before?

A few years ago he was a micro stakes player, and, like so many, appeared to be deluded enough to think he could be the best. Most do when they start out. I certainly did. (No, I did!)

In fact he was so convinced, that in 2010, just four short years ago, and whilst grinding $10 HU SNG’s, he started a Diary on blondepoker called ‘The Best in the Business’. Seemed a tad arrogant, that title; it’s a jolly long way from $10 SNG’s to the pinnacle of online Poker, but that’s what the boy has done.

Even more remarkably, he took a weird route, initially climbing the cash game stakes until he was near the top, then promptly quitting cash and starting to play MTT’s. But within twelve months, he was top of the PocketFives rankings, having re-invented himself as an MTT player. So he has proven he can beat Cash AND MTT’s - that alone makes him a rare beast.
A typical diary entry from him these days would be “Thursday. Average night, won the $50 cubed, and made four final tables. Think I cleared about $23,000. Reminder – buy bigger mattress.”

Honestly, in all the years I’ve been around the poker scene, I don’t recall anyone who became so good, so quickly, at both disciplines of the game.

Table Talk 2

JT ‘John’ Law

I don’t want this to become the Bluff Europe obituary column, but after I commented on the sad passing of Liam Flood in my previous piece, I now hear that JT ‘John’ Law passed away recently.

Newcastle-based John truly was a gentleman of our game, warm and friendly off the table and a perfect nightmare as an opponent on it. He was aggro years before aggro became fashionable, and his style never changed. In 2005, he lost Heads Up for a WSOP Bracelet and the half million that went with it after looking set for the win. Never have I seen a man so disappointed, but he retained his dignity as ever. That makes anyone a champion. Two years later, back in Vegas, he plundered the then mighty Bellagio Cup series with four final tables in a fortnight, cashing out for over $100,000. Really, though, we’ll remember John for playing the poker circuit in the North and Midlands. Places like Newcastle, Sheffield, Blackpool and Stockton were his happiest hunting grounds.

Fittingly, his last two cashes were both in £10 tourneys in Hull, the last as recently as September. Many poker players would do well to remember how well John conducted himself, both in victory and defeat. He was a great friend to me, but then, he was a great friend to everyone. I doubt he had an enemy in poker, and nobody ever had a bad word about him.
RIP John.


As I submit this to Bluff, the next UKPC has been announced for February 2015, and once again, the magnificent DTD will be the host venue.

The Sky Poker UKPC only began in February 2014, followed by a 6-Max version in August, but it’s already well established and should go from strength to strength. In fact, it received a nomination for “Best UK Tournament” in the British Poker Awards.

Has the live poker scene in the UK ever been better or more buoyant than it is at present?

Huge guarantees, great atmospheres in cardrooms across the country and, at long last, players are no longer herded into ridiculously cramped poker rooms. Late entry, re-entry, multiple Day 1’s, we are genuinely blessed to be well-served by the various tours and festivals that clutter our shores. UKIPT, GUKPT, GPS, UKPC, WPT, it’s never been better in the UK. Don’t take all this for granted, you’d miss these events if they weren’t around!

Table Talk 3

King For a Day

The British Poker Awards, organised by Bluff Europe, close for voting on December 31st. Somehow, I’ve got two nominations, but what I will rule is that the UKPC is voted “Best UK Tournament”. Agree or disagree, I don’t care, but use your vote NOW, at

All third party software will be banned on online poker sites. Shout all you like, I don’t care. You know it makes sense.

Patrick Leonard is banned from online poker for three months, to give the rest of us a chance.

The C-word is banned from poker. The nine letter C-word, I mean – Chr***mas. Urgh.

I rule that 2015 is the year we will stop moaning, and start bigging up poker, it’s a truly beautiful game.

Happy Christmas and a … Merry New Year to you all!

Tags: Tony Kendall, Tikay, WSOP, Sky UK Poker Championships, UKPC, Patrick Leonard