Table Talk with Tikay

Table Talk with Tikay

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Awards, Sky's UKPC, Vegas & coloured decks...

Award Yourself a Night Out

The 2015 British Poker Awards take place on Monday 23rd February, at the magnificent Hippodrome Casino in London. The great and good of poker will be there as well as few lesser mortals such as myself, and there is a reception in the bar beforehand with plenty of other fun to be had on the night. It promises to be a real celebration of poker, and I can’t wait!

It’s a great chance to meet your poker heroes - and villains - away from the table, and chat with them in a relaxed atmosphere. Think of the Oscars or Sports Personality of the Year then add some poker, the chance to maybe meet Her Royal Highness Victoria Coren and His Excellency Neil Channing, who of course recently became a Sky Poker Ambassador. Now in its fifth year, it’s an annual affair, and there’s nothing else quite like it in poker. See you there.

Table Talk awards

Vegas Vacation

I knew that dusty old lamp would be a decent Christmas present once I gave it a polish. In line with previous wishes in my monthly Bluff Europe column, the schedule of events for this year’s World Series of Poker was released earlier than usual this year. They’ve already whetted my appetite with ‘The Colossus’, a $565 tournament with a $5 million guarantee. To meet that ambitious guarantee, it will need to break the world record for most players in a live tournament, which currently stands at 8,733. I’d bet it will. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest ways ever to kick off the 2015 WSOP, and Vegas will be heaving.

“They’ll never cope!” or “The queues will be a nightmare!” are just two comments from the online community already. Of course there will be queues and a few glitches along the way, but so what? It’s a £5 million guarantee for a $565 ticket. I wouldn’t miss it for the world and I think anyone heading to Vegas will feel the same.

The Main Event sticks with its controversial selling point of awarding $10 million to the winner, despite vociferous arguments against doing so by players such as Daniel Negreanu. Does the $10 million top prize make much difference? Not really. It’s a great headline though, and the organisers will hope that it reaches far and wide, pulling as many players as possible to the neon poker haven in the Nevada desert.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we see more Brits at the WSOP this year. The Germans and the Dutch seem to be doing OK in the World Series, so why not us? We have some of the best poker players in the world, including the world’s biggest online tournament winner in Chris Moorman and one of the biggest live tournament winners of all time in Sam Trickett. Hopefully there will be a huge British contingent in Las Vegas this year and we see that rewarded with some golden bracelets.

I will do everything I can to be there, because nothing in the world beats the atmosphere. If I can get cheap flights and a hotel, then I’ll be blogging for fun from the Strip. My daily WSOP blogs are the highlight of my year.

Table Talk Vegas

The Championships Return
Both the British Poker Awards and the Sky Poker UK Poker Championships will take place at the same time, which is quite spooky really, as the 2014 Sky Poker UKPC was nominated for Best UK Poker Tournament. Hopefully, we’ll receive the award just as this year’s tournament kicks off, which would be very special indeed.

The Main Event sees a doubled guarantee this time, with the prize-pool up to £1 million! There will also be an 8-Max tournament, as well as a High Roller for any nosebleeders in attendance. Everything takes place at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, so you’re guaranteed a great time regardless of whether your luck holds at the felt.

The real eye-catcher to most recreational player, however, is the ‘Mini’. For a buy-in of just £110, it has a gargantuan guarantee of £200,000, so even I will take a shot at that little beauty. The top fifty players all win a £1,000 Main Event seat, too!

In an added twist, if you make the final table of the Mini and the Main Event, you can win yourself a Mini car worth the best part of £20,000. Everybody loves a freebie, so I expect plenty of players to tackle both tournaments in the hope of driving away from Nottingham in a set of new wheels.

DTD Interior

Ta-ta, Kara

In surprise news, and closely following Vicky Coren’s high profile departure from Pokerstars, Kara Scott has moved on from her role at partypoker. I feel like poker has lost two great ambassadors in quick succession and just some of us have regarded Vicky’s rise to prominence and enduring success at ‘Stars, it’s worth looking back at Kara’s journey in poker.

We first worked together on a TV show called Poker Night Live, which was broadcast from a dingy basement studio in London during those halcyon days of 2005. There was no make-up department, no wardrobe, we just had to turn up and do it. If we forgot to bring our own make-up, there was a communal powder-puff shared between all eight presenters. I only forgot once!

At that stage, Kara was a complete poker novice, knew very little about the game and never claimed otherwise, but we both moved on to Sky Poker TV. By then, Kara knew the ropes, both of poker and TV. Pokerstars came calling, and she had a great result in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, finishing 104th for over $41,000, completely justifying the faith they had in signing her.

Kara moved to partypoker in 2009, and before the ink on that contract was dry, she came second in the Irish Open for over €300,000. She went on to front much of their TV output over the next few years and became the darling of ESPN’s World Series coverage. I hope that will remain the case as I can’t imagine the spectacle without her at the centre of it. Kara is a lovely girl who works her socks off and she hasn’t got an enemy in poker.

Kara Scott

King For the day

Ask an Audience

The audience interaction at the recent BDO World Darts Championship was incredible. In poker, it has been the same with British rails at the World Series. It adds a lot to the whole experience and helps sell our game worldwide. I would encourage more spectators at live poker events by giving them a freeroll to enjoy while they spend days watching their friends. A bumper background of fans always look great in the photo of the eventual champion.

Roses are Red

I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day, but the beautiful card game. Diamonds and hearts are red too. Clubs and spades are black. That is, of course, unless you play online, where we have enjoyed four colour decks for well over a decade now. But why is that only online? Why can’t we have four colour decks in live poker? They make a difference. Someone needs to get on their Bicycle and get them into circulation.

Online Poker

Why don’t we come up with better and more frequent rewards for the little guys? Their money will last longer that way. The big boys are making plenty and that’s great, but the money from the bottom finds its way to the top eventually. We’ve all seen sign-up or deposit bonuses, but there is so much more that can be done, so let’s do it. More players mean a larger poker economy for us all, and will give poker the boost it needs.

See you next month. Don’t forget to enjoy your poker - it’s why we play the beautiful game.

Tags: Tony Kendall, British Poker Awards, Sky Poker Uk Championships, Las Vegas