Two great results recently for 'Team Trotter' ..one mine and an even bigger one for Dan 'Lucky Scrote' Carter.
Barcelona has been the venue for The World Heasdsup Poker Championships for the past few years and this year it was a case of 'more of the same please'.
One thing that had changed though... A major sponsor... in the form of 888.Com. The agreement signed just two weeks prior to the event taking place (talk about cutting it fine!) gives 888 the option to sponsor the World Headsup Poker Championships for the next three years. Anyhow, after some last minute legal issues (Read.. Sleepless nights) we finally had a major sponsor onboard and were all set to rock-n-roll. Of course once wind of 888`s involvement got out entries flooded in and the event was soon full.
Matt had decided to send our top gun young Dan over to compete and, as in previous years, I would be doing my much lauded and garbled attempt at commentary.....delicious!
Now on most trips abroad I choose our national carrier as my preferred mode of air transportation for two reasons..
1) They are usually reliable and on time and,
2) My luggage usually arrives at the same destination as my good self.
This time was no exception....nearly.. well almost. After a two hour delay at Heathrow, having arrived two hours prior to departure, a pleasant one hour thirty five minute flight and.... a wait of nearly five hours to claim my luggage, what should have been a pleasant journey (total time door to door of around 5-6 hours) actually took a little over twelve!... I could have driven there quicker! Oh and did I mention that we landed at terminal A or 1 and the luggage was merrily carouseling around terminal C ..3 or what ever the Spanish call it.
And ...yes wait there`s more...to get there (Terminal 3) you have to go out of the airport ..through customs /immigration etc and re-enter some half a mile further on. Just try arguing that with Spanish airport security that have no comprehension of what the heck you are trying to tell them, but my mild mannered darling wife seemed to have the ability to converse fluently in Spanish as... after the fourth attempt.. with midnight fast approaching and some three hours into the discussions with airport security... she screamed 'We don`t want to fly out! We have just arrived and are only trying to claim our bloody cases you moron!'. I was gobsmacked... though not as much as the burly security guards who sheepishly waved us through... total mastery of the Spanish language.... delicious.
Dan`s route through to his final appearance was a very tough one indeed and saw him beat several tough Scandinavians on route to set up a televised quarter final match with one of the biggest names in European poker - Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot.
I think Dave had a cunning plan to help him defeat our young hero, as after befriending Dan, they were both spotted out clubbing into the early hours the night before.. Dave on soft drinks and Dan... necking the devils own brew...very crafty Mr Ulliot.
But sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men.... and, even after treating (If that`s the right phrase) his ardent admirers to yet another pre-match rendition of his version of "Blueberry Hill" the Devilfish was outclassed, outsmarted and finally sent packing by our young hero...thank god!...no more awful piano crucifixions of sixties classics!
For my part I extolled the virtues of our hero in commentary...I think.
Once in the final he met Ladbrokes`s sponsored runner Jeff 'Jaffa cake' Kimber, who it has to be said, had in my opinion a slightly easier route to the final. Nonetheless having watched Jeff play it was apparent that an easy victory for Dan was not on the cards. In fact any victory for Dan was going to be a tough task...he would need to be on top form to overcome Jeff.
I met Dan prior to the final and upon telling me that he was a little tired and not totally focused, nagging doubts started to creep in. Had he left his best plays behind in the tough battle with the Devilfish? One consoling thought was that Jeff had.. in my opinion, one major weakness in his game...he constantly took the worst hand in the worst position and that for me is a no-no.
Unfortunately my worst fears were founded and Jeff proved just too strong for Dan on this occasion, though it has to be said I still think Dan was a little battle weary and not at his best on the day. Not being at your best for a major World Title is possibly a lame excuse and one cannot take anything away from Jeff as he is a very worthy champion... Dan may well be kicking himself for letting this one slip past, though the deal done on the money will offer him some small consolation.
The whole episode.. well several episodes, can be seen later in the year on Challenge TV and then you can judge for yourself, Oh and keep a look out for the idiot commentator doing the "Stevie Wonder" thing with the sunglasses on ...what was he thinking!
I swear to god I will never wear sunglasses again on TV when doing anything other than playing, regardless of what the producers say...totally embarrassing...funny but ....Oh My God !!!
Moving quickly on... my own 'win of the year'...so far, came in the form of victory at the GBPT at Bournemouth. Possibly rated second best to the GUKPT, Gala`s five hundred pound buy in tour is starting to attract some following, and it was with this in mind and Matt`s hope of TV exposure for the site that his orders were 'Singleton... you`re off to Bournemouth'.
As things turned out it proved a great decision...edited photos not withstanding!
Along with several other Pro's including Simon Trumper and Paul Jackson, several TV personalities (Hale and Pace?), sports stars and internet wanabees and the dynamic duo of 'Dale and Wright'. Yep, yours truly ably supported by 'Donk Dale' and Nick 'i-pod' Wright, it was like walking through a minefield in lead boots ...accidents were sure to happen!
Surprisingly Nick... through skilful play, and I... through skilful luck, make day two. Not surprisingly 'DonkDale' didn`t but at least he got to stand around, socialise and cheer us on...he`s good at that, well he should be ...he get`s plenty of practice!
Once the dust clears, nine of us emerge from the carnage - myself and Paul Jackson included. At this point Grub Smith has a huge chip lead and my plan is to avoid him until we get down to three handed... oh yes, by now I feel I can win this baby. My play at the final table has since been described as 'tight'. Hmmm ...Ok, how misleading that may well be. It will be interesting to see it on TV especially my first major play on Grub... all in with 6-8 straight into his pocket Queens...oops! (No, I didn`t win that encounter).
Well after 7 hours of 'tight-grinding' play I emerge victorious much to the delight of Mr Dale and my bank manager. All the hours of soul destroying practice on the internet finally rewarded, to say nothing of the publicity and accolade heaped upon me... pity about the doctored photos though.
So is this the start of a hot streak for 'Team trotter'? Will Donk and the rest of the team start pulling their weight? Will Dans hair (he now looks like Leo Sayer) get cut and straightened in time for Luton? Will I ever be able to show my face in public again once the sunglasses episode`s of the World Headsup are shown on TV ?
These and many more questions will be answered in the continuing saga of........ 'The adventures of Team Trotter'
Until next time.
Stay safe, play well and please.... Don`t mention the sunglasses!