Blog – Poker players up close and personal

Blog – Poker players up close and personal

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

After reading Victoria Coren's latest piece (If in doubt, don't bluff. It's well worth a read as usual) I stumbled across another interesting article on The Guardian website all about book signings by sports stars at the old Sportspages bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London.

Now I should declare an interest here and say that before writing about the world of poker I used to work behind the counter at said shop and can vouch for some of the eccentric behaviour from some of the great and the good of the sporting world.

Reading the descriptions of the book signings reminded me of just how precious some sports people can be and how lucky we are in poker that most of the big names are down to earth, by and large friendly and are much more accessible to the fans than players in any other game.

This was brought home at my first visit to the WSOPE. I had a couple of free hours to kill in London one afternoon so decided to go and hit the rail at The Casino in the Empire in Leicester Square. It was quite a surreal experience seeing all these faces that I'd only ever seen on the telly before. Is that really Barry Greenstein in the shocking woolly jumper, Durrrr is much taller than you'd think and David 'Viffer' Peat really does talk as much in real life as much as he does on The Big Game.

In how many other arenas could I as a fanboy chew the fat with a World Champion like Chris Ferguson or rate the players at the PLO table with Mike Matusow yet I somehow managed to do both at the WSOPE. Could you imagine trying to do that with a Premier League footballer? You'd probably have to go through an agent just to share the same airpsace and even then they'd probably find some way to screw some cash out of it.

This brings me on to next week's Poker in the Park extravaganza in Leicester Square. Some of the biggest names in the game will be on hand to share their poker wisdom with the great British poker public. In what other sport (is poker a sport? That's a topic for a another blog) could you meet the likes of Roland de Wolfe, Dave Ulliott, Neil Channing and Liv Boeree and share in their undoubted expertise. All for free. It would be like Arsene Wenger rocking up at your Sunday league football team to give a pep talk or Nick Faldo turning up at the driving range to give everyone's swing the once over.

Given the prima donna behaviour of the so called superstars of other sports we in the poker world should be grateful for fantastic opportunities like this. They don't come round very often so make the most of them when they do and head down to Leicester Square next Thursday and Friday. You might even get a World Champion assessing your play.

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Tags: Poker News, Blog, , Poker, players, up, close, and, personal