The dust has finally settled at the 2006 World Headsup Poker Championships here in Barcelona and we have a new world champion - more on that in a moment.
What a great event it has been, moved out from last years location the" disco bar" at the rear of the Gran casino to slap bang in the middle of the main floor. This move created a totally different atmosphere the place was buzzing, and along with all the media interest a whole raft of reporters and several TV crews (Television not transvestite - though thinking about it one or two locals did seem to have large Adams apples and a funny dress sense?) Oh well! Pokers for everyone I suppose.
The event itself was oversubscribed, well run and a credit to the organisers with plenty of support tournaments and side action. Unfortunately we lost a lot of the big names in the first two rounds but this didn't prevent the TV crews that were following the top stars around getting some footage. For instance, I`m sitting having lunch at a well known ( to me anyway) seafront restaurant and who should walk past but my old pal Marcel Luske closely followed by a TV crew.
Now I may not be a big star but if and when I am I don`t want to be treated like some circus performer, poor Marcel was filmed playing football, beach volleyball, Frisbee, handball and finally emerging from the sea after a willy shrinking swim! Count me out.
With the demise of so many big names early on in the tournament including last years winner Peter Gunnarson it was inevitable that a new name would rise to claim the top spot, and so it was that one Isaac Mayolas De Vega stepped up to take the title, 125.000 Euros and the loud applause from a partisan crowd. I actually tipped this guy ( well everyone gets lucky once in a while) a few days earlier having watched him in two matches at the start of the tournament before he reached the TV table .The focus and concentration the guy showed was really impressive and it wouldn't surprise me if we heard the name a few more times over the coming year.
As for the Brits well Paul Jackson did well (second) but the rest of the boys seemed to have "off" days and by their own admissions didn`t play well, room for improvement me thinks.
Barcelona wasn`t all about poker for one or two of our stars, Marc Goodwin found himself some great golf opportunities (read fish). Now for those of you who don't know Marc is virtually pro class at golf i.e almost scratch, perhaps 3-4 handicap on a bad day. So after some faking and wrangling he finds himself against another poker player who thinks he too has found a fish!! So to keep the bet alive after eight or nine holes of which Marc has won six and kinda made one or two bad club choices to avoid totally embarrassing his new found friend, he now decides to deliberately "shank" the ball off the tee a few times. Ah Ah.. thinks his adversary a chance to recoup some money ! The match ends up winning Marc about 8000 euros, so his opponent suggests that they play again tomorrow for the same stakes but with a side bet of 300 euros on each hole for the longest drive. Marc agrees and just to make sure has someone check his drive against his opponents which turns out on average to be almost 80 yds better in Marcs favour....Like the man says" there`s one born every minute!!!"
So with Barcelona done and dusted I was off to film the finals of the Bet 24 Nordic Poker King series for Danish TV. This has been a great 12 month series and well received in several Scandinavian countries. There is talk of an even bigger series next year aimed at covering more of Europe including the UK so as soon as I hear anything I`ll let you know. Lookout for the Bet 24 name brand as I think you will be hearing a lot more about it in the near future.
Well time to wrap up the column for this time but before I go just a quick mention about my other job - "Playing poker". I`m off to the Midlands Meltdown in sunny Walsall so if you are there come and say hello and who knows you may get a mention in my next column which will include a summary of the event.
Until next time, stay safe, play well and enjoy your poker.