In 2008 I had the chance to play on Late Night Poker. Part way through the sixth level I found a pair of Aces under the gun. I blew the cobwebs off my chips and threw in a raise. Action was folded to the big blind who, upon noticing my relentless aggression (ahem), decided to make a stand and reraised. We weren’t deep by this point so I called to disguise my hand a little. Luckily the pot sized bet we had left was easy to get in once the BB had flopped a set…
Barny Boatman was co-commentating that day and described me as having a, ‘face like a depressed panda’. I got to know Barny quite well after that and he was kind enough to ask me to join him in Cyprus for the World Cup of Poker event earlier this year.
Ignoring the fact that Devilfish was my favourite back in the original Late Night Poker days, Barny is undoubtedly an icon of British poker and his bracelet win at this year’s WSOP comfortably wins my UK poker highlight of the year award. There can hardly have been anyone who wouldn’t have been thrilled for Boatman senior as he cut his way through that big field no-limit event like a panda chewing on bamboo.
The new blood
It hasn’t only been the old guard that have been cashing in this year though. There have been a string of stellar results for young Brits. The sound of the British national anthem was still ringing in the ears of those in the Pavilion room when Matt Perrins stepped up to take his seat at his second ever WSOP final table. This time around it was a game he even knew the rules to – what chance did the other guys have?
Matthew Ashton was a name familiar to only a few of us before the summer but he emerged from the Series not only with the huge $50k Poker Players Championship and $1.7 million but also as frontrunner for the WSOP Player of the Year award. I’m sure he was slightly less concerned with the latter but it set up a shootout between him and Negreanu in Paris at the WSOPE. He managed a further two cashes but ultimately fell short. Negreanu won the final event to take the title.
Tom Middleton was next up. His victory at EPT Barcelona was another hugely popular win. Middy’s work ethic, combined with him being a great guy, meant nobody was surprised at his huge score but also that most of the UK were seemingly there to cheer it in. It was particularly interesting to hear the story that went with it. The deal negotiations were shown on the TV broadcast. And a deal that is done not with an opponent, but between the player, his backer and some other UK guys on the rail adds an interesting twist; especially when one of the backers involved is 40,000 feet over the Atlantic, oblivious to the deal he is giving out! All’s well that ends well though and Team Middy ended up with all the euros.
Sam Trickett took the highest ranking for any UK player in this year’s money list ($2,407,049) for the third year running, even if it is kind of by default. Stripping out tournaments with less than 20 runners slips him down the list although he did narrowly miss out on winning the prestigious Premier League, finishing as runner-up to Dan Shak. Looking at UK tourneys there is only one person who can be crowned the King of England in 2013. To grab your best ever result is a great achievement in any year but to do it twice in the same year is something special. Hats off to Kevin Allen for taking down both the £1k DTD Monte Carlo (£120,000) and the £2k GUKPT Grand Final (£158,700). Christmas is looking good in East London, #oioi.
Online, Chris Moorman is unsurprisingly set to finish the year top of the UK rankings. In 2013 he surpassed $10m in lifetime online cashes, a phenomenal amount by any measure. He even took time out to threaten the live scene with another WSOP final table but after finishing fifth he’ll have to make do with his near $3m in live cashes. Hopefully next year he can finally get into the black…
There’s much to look forward to in 2014 with all the UK tours seemingly going from strength to strength. Yes, there were some stops which saw considerable overlay this year but judging by the early 2014 schedules being released, this hasn’t stopped the major operators setting the stall out strongly for the new year. If you’re excited for the events coming up in 2014 and fancy getting yourself some cheap seats while everyone is distracted by Christmas, keep your eye out for the online satellites that are already running on Poker Encore. I’ll see you on the other side.
PokerEncore.com’s Karl Mahrenholz writes for PokerPlayer magazine. To get the latest issue or to save over 50% on the cover price and subscribe for £12.99, click here.