Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Kid on the Blog

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Having successfully completing the Grading and just missed out on a trip to Vegas by a gnat’s pubic hair, James Mitchell was initially a Blue Belt with Black Belt Poker. However, as part of our unique Belt-Up rewards system, players are awarded Belt Points for winning money in tournaments that Black Belt Poker have a piece of, and after finishing second to Bambos Charalambos in the 2009 World Heads-Up Championship for £30,000, James instantly rocketed up to Brown Belt status, thus becoming only the second player behind Hugh Kirton to have successfully worked his way up through the ranks to Brown Belt.

Now receiving $4,000 a month to play tournaments, James is a regular on the live circuit and has some impressive results behind him including a third place finish in the 2008 Luton GUKPT for £45,100. He’s also an established cash player, tackling the mid-high stakes on Black Belt Poker.

For the first time since the Grading last April/May, James has decided to put pen to paper and write a blog entry about his recent experiences on the ever-turbulent poker scene. As a young professional poker player, James isn’t a stranger to the fast lifestyle of the industry: If he’s not hanging out with his fellow pros such as Ramsey Ajram and Black Belt Poker’s own Nik Persaud, then he’s riding in flash cars with none other than Black Belt Poker blogger and infamous nosebleed stakes motormouth Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz.

In this blog entry, James regales us with tales of his latest poker jaunts and offers a glimpse into what it’s like to be a poker pro. Why was a $25/50 hand of Omaha that Nik was playing important to James? Why has he retired from Lodden Thinks? How did he win £2,200 off Sida Yuen in the space of a few minutes?. Click the following link to find out…

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Monday, 28 December 2009

Boot Camp Freeroll – Tonight!

The word ‘value’ is frequently thrown around poker sites, and frequently misused, but here at Black Belt Poker, we genuinely believe that we offer some of the best ‘value’ around. Exhibit ‘A’ is tonight’s Orange Belt Bootcamp Freeroll, available only to those who have achieved Orange Belt status or higher on the Black Belt Poker skin.

But despite these restrictions, we are serving up two guaranteed seats into the inaugural Orange Belt Live Bootcamp Freeroll, scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2010 at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London. Each seat is valued at £150, so with only a certain number of players eligible to play, this is an unmissable opportunity for all Orange Belts to cash in on their hard work at the tables.

Last month, Nick ‘sprinterz’ Spiers and Kevin ‘KVNSTVBBP’ Stevens topped a field of 19 to earn entry into the Live Boot Camp, and you could be joining them tonight! Simply boot up the poker client, search for scheduled > Black Belt tournaments > Orange Belt Bootcamp FR, and click register in the bottom right hand corner. Kick-off is at 8pm.

If you’re not an Orange Belt, then don’t fear, as the following month on Monday, January 25, 2010, there will be a third and final chance to obtain your seat, meaning that those turning Orange at the end of the current month can still qualify for the event.

The Orange Belt Live Bootcamp is a one-day mentoring service in which entrants will learn the secrets to becoming a winning poker player courtesy of 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing and serial GUKPT Finalist Nik Persaud. With their combined live and online experience, this is a great chance for Orange Belts to hear from the pros and discuss ways in which they can take their game to the next level.

For more details, click here.

Monday, 21 December 2009

James Akenhead Confirmed for London Live

This March, Black Belt Poker brings to you its highly anticipated live extravaganza, the Black Belt London Live. With Belt bonuses, last-longers, online qualifiers and an estimated prize pool of $60,000, Black Belt Poker are already serving up a feast of hors d’Ĺ“urves with which to lure you into the Grosvenor Victoria in London, but wait… there’s more!

As well as all these added incentives, there will also be a number of high profile bounties up by grabs. Eliminate a poker pro and not only will you receive a signed belt and photo of your fallen victim, but you will also be presented with a unique and personal piece of memorabilia brought to the event by each individual bounty, thus making the experience much more special.

But these aren’t just any old pros that time forgot, but some of the most formidable forces currently running amok in the world of poker. Already putting pen to paper and securing their seat in the Black Belt London Live are household names Julian Thew, Jesse May, Marty Smyth, Praz Bansi and Richard ‘Chufty’ Ashby, as well as Black Belt Poker co-founders Neil Channing and Nik Persaud. We’re not just giving you the chance to play with your poker heroes, but show them who’s boss too!

Also confirmed is WSOP hero James Akenhead. Fresh off his $500,000 Poker Million win in which he defeated the likes of Luke 'FullFlush' Schwartz, Juha Helppi and Black Belt’s own Peter Vasiliou, James will be donning a red target on his chest at the Black Belt London Live so you can take aim, fire, and pick up that exclusive bounty. But with over $2.7 million in tournament winnings including ninth in both the WSOP and WSOPE main events, your aim’s going to have to be top notch.

With more stars than an entire series of Celebrity Squares, The Black Belt London Live will be strewn with a host of familiar faces from the world of poker, all with alluring bounties on their head. So, what are you waiting for, register for the event via the Black Belt Poker cardroom, get watching those Dog the Bounty Hunter DVDs and we’ll see you in London next March.

To open an account on Black Belt Poker and register for the event, download the poker client and follow the simple steps provided.

For more details, check out our promotions page in ‘Play Poker’.

Satellite into the London Live for $3!

Would you spend $3 for a chance to win around $15,000? Well, we're offering you that very opportunity. Via our online satellites, you could win a place at BBP's inaugural Black Belt London Live tournament and be part of the fun when we hit the felt at the Grosvenor Victoria casino in London next spring.

Up to 300 players, including celebrity bounties like Marty Smyth, James Akenhead, Devilfish and 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing, will clash on March 12-14 in a bid to win a trophy and the estimated $15,000 first prize.

There is also an estimated $60,000 prize pool and scintillating special bonuses for the winner if he or she has a Purple Belt or above. Purple belts will bag an additional $15,000, while those with a Green belt or above will land an extra $25,000. Meanwhile, Orange belts will also be automatically entered into the Last Longer Freeroll, whereby the final four players standing in the tournament will scoop $500 each.

To get a piece of the action the direct buy-in is $200+20, or you can purchase a London Live Main Event tournament token from our online store for 5,500 Spending Points.

Alternatively, if you think you have what it takes to earn your way into the tournament, try to qualify through our satellites for as little as $3+0.3. We are currently running several weekly and bi-weekly Stage 2 qualifiers, and a monthly Stage 1 qualifier in the run-up to the Main Event.

The satellite schedule is as follows:

Mondays @ 8.30pm:
Stage 2: $3+0.30 No Limit Hold'em Rebuy
1 seat guaranteed

Tuesdays @ 10pm:
Stage 2: $12.50+1.25 No Limit Hold'em Freezeout
1 in 4 win seat into Stage 1

Last Wednesday of every month @ 8.30pm
Stage 1: $55+5.50 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout
2 seats guaranteed, 1 in 4 win seat to Black Belt London Live

You can only buy in to the London Live tournament through the Black Belt Poker site, so sign up now and avoid disappointment. Don't miss out and remember, only 300 seats!

To open an account on Black Belt Poker and register for the event, download the poker client and follow the simple steps provided.

$25,000 Added to First Prize at London Live!

It would appear as Christmas has been extended as far as March, as at the first ever Black Belt London Live (Fri, Mar 12 – Sun, Mar 14), Black Belt Poker will be rewarding players with a number of exclusive Belt bonuses, including an additional $25,000 to any Green Belt or above who manages to leave the Grosvenor Victoria as the inaugural London Live Champion.

No, it’s not a misprint: as well as a first prize of $15,000, players who are Green Belt or above at the time of the event will be eligible for a whopping $25,000 if they are crowned champion – that makes first prize a potential $40,000 for a mere $200+20 investment!

But that’s not all. As well as this amazing bonus to our top Belts, we haven’t forgotten our other players and have duly raided the Black Belt Poker safe once again to reward Purple and Orange Belts with a mouth-watering incentive of their own. If a Purple Belt wins the Black Belt London Live, they will receive an additional $15,000, thus doubling first prize! And there’s more: if you’re one of four Orange Belts remaining in the event, you will have sewn up a $500 last-longer!

This is a fantastic opportunity for all current players, but also for new players who wish to take advantage of the incredible added value on offer. The Black Belt London Live is three months away, meaning you still have time to work your way through the Belt rankings so you are Orange, Purple or Green Belt come the day of the event. To find out how you can reach the various Belt categories and take advantage of the plethora of benefits on offer, then simply check out our Belt-Up Rewards programme in our ‘Play Poker’ section.

The Black Belt London Live is set to make a big impact on the poker calendar due to the added value on offer. As well as the aforementioned Belt bonuses, players will also be treated to high profile bounties, online qualifiers, a deep structure and an estimated $60,000 prize pool. If you only play one event in 2010, then this should be it, but be quick, as seats will sell quicker than a Madonna gig where you get a free hotcake with each ticket.

Registration can only be completed via the Black Belt Poker cardroom. Entering the event is easy: simply download the poker client, open an account and find Scheduled -> Black Belt Tournaments -> Black Belt London Live Day 1A / 1B in the poker lobby.

For more details, check out our promotions page in ‘Play Poker’.

Live & Kicking

Christmas may be the time for giving, but this March, Black Belt Poker are giving you the chance to add a spring to your step by going live with the Black Belt London Live.

Scheduled to take place on Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London, the Black Belt London Live is Black Belt Poker’s first foray into the live scene and will be awash with added value including bounties, Belt bonuses, last-longers and much more.

Black Belt Poker have decided to cater for all bankrolls by making the event an affordable $200+20 No Limit Hold’em freezeout. The Black Belt London Live will run over three days with a generous 20,000 starting stack and 45-minute clock. Rarely are players given the opportunity to play such a good structure for such a low buy-in!

With an estimated $60,000 prize pool and a $15,000 first prize to the Black Belt London Live Champion, this is a fantastic chance to boost your bankroll and earn more bragging rights than you could ever imagine. What’s more, we’re offering exclusive Belt bonuses to our players including a gargantuan $25,000 added Belt bonus to any Green Belts (or higher) who take down the event.

There are two routes to entering the Black Belt London Live: either qualify through one of our many satellites, or buy in directly by logging in to the Black Belt Poker cardroom lobby and selecting Scheduled -> Black Belt Tournaments -> Black Belt London Live Day 1A / 1B. To open an account on Black Belt Poker and register for the event, download the poker client and follow the simple steps provided.

With so much added incentive to both current and new players, this is an unmissable opportunity for players of all poker backgrounds. To avoid disappointment, secure your seat now and we’ll look forward to seeing you at Black Belt Poker’s first ever live event.

For more details, check out our promotions page in ‘Play Poker’.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Blog Standard

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Durrrr and Isildur might have become the epitome of ‘degeneracy’ to most, but back in the good ol’ UK, Black Belt Poker co-founder Neil Channing might be able to give them a run for their money having confessed in his latest blog entry: “We disembarked from the plane at midday and were on a train at 9pm. By midnight we could just about see the Pleasure Beach, and feel the wind and rain on our faces.” Yes, swapping his front row seat at this year’s WSOP final for the piercing cold drizzle of Blackpool, Neil completed the rarely witnessed Vegas/Blackpool double to participate in the GUKPT’s penultimate outing of the year.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as Neil soon found himself sooted and booted at Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair to watch poker’s high stakes behemoths tackle durrrr in the Full Tilt Million Dollar Challenge. A good friend of Sammy [George], Neil was graced with a ringside seat and unveiled: “In the end he lost $750,000. Tom let him off really. Sammy wanted to carry on and pull up another half a mill. He was really starting to steam. Durrrr told him to get some sleep and come and play another day.”

Whilst Neil was livin’ it large in London’s finest, Hugo Martin was tucked away in the murky depths of the Vic cash game, observing his familiar surroundings with his usual elping of sardonic wit and cynicism. In his latest blog entry, Hugo introduces us to the YAG (young-aggressive) and tells of how a fallen victim refused to relinquish his seat. “I’ve seen this sort of thing happen in tournaments before when players have gone broke, but stay sitting in their seats. Usually they are novices who haven’t played much before and they don’t really understand that that’s it. Nobody cares anymore, you’re brown bread and it’s seat open!”

As well as touching upon the offbeat topic of ‘manicured hands’, Hugo also reminisces (not necessarily fondly) on yesteryear, and in particular the characters of downtown Vegas: “At one point,” comments Hugo, highlighting a player commonly know as ‘Cowboy’, “this philosopher of the felt makes the wise observation, ‘There’s no shame in being broke, only shame in staying broke.’ Considering that all the interview footage with Cowboy takes place outdoors near the bus station downtown, which leads me to guess that Cowboy’s home is one of several park benches near by, he should know all about always being broke.”

To read more from either Neil or Hugo, then be sure to check out their latest blog entries in our blogs section and keep those eyes peeled for future entries.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Holly & the Ivey

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We may still be two weeks away from Christmas, but Black Belt Poker have decided to hand out the gifts early, starting with a rare interview with the man the general consensus considers to be the world’s greatest poker player, Phil Ivey. In an extensive two-part interview, I ask Ivey a number of questions revolving around issues such as durrrr, prop bets, his supposed media-shyness and much more, as well as detail my own personal experiences of what it’s like to meet a legend of the game.

Phil Ivey is without doubt a poker icon having amassed an incredible $12.2 million in tournament winnings including eight WSOP bracelets, a WPT title, a Poker After Dark title, and numerous other final table appearances, most notably his recent seventh place finish in the 2009 WSOP Main Event for $1,404,014. In the all-time money list, Ivey is second to only Daniel Negreanu.

However, despite his tournament prowess, it’s probably his cash play that has garnered him the most respect, having made appearances on numerous televised cash games and become a permanent fixture in some of the biggest games Vegas has to offer. More recently, he has also shown that he can conquer the online world, mastering a range of different games and making an impressive profit at the nosebleed stakes on Full Tilt where he is reported to be over $15 million up.

It is therefore with great honour and gratitude that I was given the opportunity to interview the Full Tilt pro on behalf of As the interview progressed, Ivey began to open up more and more, serving up honest answers to the questions I threw at him. When probed about his reluctance to conduct interviews, Ivey said, “I don’t really mind doing this interview, doing the media side, it’s just that I’d rather be doing something else… People have started to take that as me being media shy, unfriendly, not wanting to do interviews, but that’s not the case.”

If you would like to hear more from Phil Ivey, then I urge you to check out the first instalment on Black Belt Poker and be sure to return next Saturday for the final part of this revealing two-part interview.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Green Belt Wins First Deepstack Payback

Last Sunday, Black Belt Poker staged it’s first ever Deepstack Payback event, a monthly tournament requested by the community in which players are treated to a 3,000 starting stack and a 15 minute clock.

On top of the usual payout structure, Black Belt Poker were also offering two $50 bounties for the scalps of Brown Belts Nik Persaud and James Mitchell, as well as a unique offering exclusive to Black Belt: win the event and you receive a bonus 25 percent of your prize money if you are an Orange Belt, or 50 percent if you are a Purple Belt or above. At $20+2 for entry, this was a genuine bargain!

The game of choice was No Limit Hold’em, and in all, 20 players turned up to grab their slice of the Black Belt pie. After an epic battle, the eventual winner was Jack ‘UGotWTFpwned’ Sambrook, who toppled second place finisher Sacsayhuaman to lap up the first place winnings of $200. However, as a Green Belt, Sambrook picked up an additional 50 percent, making first prize $300. But it didn’t stop there, as he also snipered down bounty James ‘MixedBag1’ Mitchell making his total winnings an impressive $350!

The Black Belt Poker Deepstack Payback is a monthly added money tournament that takes place on the first Sunday of every month. The next Deepstack Payback will arrive on Sunday, January 3, and will be the first of 2010. If you would like to enter then simply click ‘scheduled’ in the Black Belt Poker lobby and select the BBP Deepstack Payback. If you don’t already have an account, then simply download the poker client and follow the simple steps.

Good luck in the tournament, and be sure to check out our Belt-Up rewards system to find out how you can reach Orange and Purple Belt status and take advantage of the added value money on offer.

The results in full were as follows:

1st UGotWTFpwned -- $200.00 (+$100 added value and $50 bounty)
2nd Sacsayhuaman -- $120.00
3rd FalconAyr -- $80.00 (+$50 bounty)
4th UseTheForceLuke
5th NikPersaud
6th CroadYuk -
7th MixedBag1
8th mavperth
9th browndog0
10th wondrwman
11th DrFunkoffski
12th Ka7ieVick
13th professoracid
14th Grey17
15th prince247
16th SirNutFlopper
17th StilettoMafiosa
18th Bambury
19th WarrenW
20th sprinterz

Monday, 7 December 2009

Challenge Channing

He may be the nice guy of poker, but when he’s at the poker table, Black Belt Poker’s Neil Channing won’t hesitate to take your chips. It’s this killer instinct that has helped him become one of the UK’s most successful poker players. With in excess of $2.2 million in live tournament winnings, including becoming the Irish Open Champion in 2008, Neil is ranked an impressive 11th in England’s all-time money list.

However, having established himself as a big winner in the largest cash games the Vic has to offer, it is perhaps ring games where Neil excels, and now Black Belt Poker are offering you the chance to take on one of, if not the best cash players this country has to offer. In Challenge Channing, you can test your skills against Neil at the Black Belt Poker tables. From 7.30pm every Tuesday evening, Neil is available for a spot of full-ring $0.25/0.50 cash play, but be warned, he takes no prisoners.

Challenge Channing is just one of a number of promotions that make up our Super Tuesday bonanza. Also taking place on Tuesday is the Black Belt Poker League II, a $5 No Limit Hold'em Freezeout held weekly at 8.30pm. Currently approaching its third week, the League is a series of 10 added value events in which the top 10 players at the end of the League receive Belt Points in accordance to their finishing positions, with first place and ultimate champion receiving 2,500 Belt Points, which is enough to maintain Purple Belt for one month! This is a great opportunity to fast-track your way through the Belt rankings, and with just two legs played, there’s still plenty of time to get involved. To register for the event, simply start up the Black Belt Poker skin, select ‘scheduled tournaments’ in the lobby and click on Black Belt Poker League II.

Finally, Super Tuesday also brings you the Tuesday Midnight Donkament, an entertaining free-for-all at 12pm in which registered players get to experience Black Belt Poker’s very own rebuy frenzy. At just $3 a pop, this is a cracking tournament to release some tension and have some unadulterated fun before hitting the sack for the night. Plus, as an added bonus, if you win both the League and the Midnight Donkament, you’ll receive free entry into the $250,000 guaranteed monthly freezeout worth $320!

So, why not join the rest of Black Belt Poker at the tables tomorrow from 7.30pm as we attempt to felt Neil Channing and battle our way to victory in the League and Midnight Donakemnt. If you don't have an account, simply download the poker client, link your account and be playing within moments.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Poker Million Preview

It seems like only yesterday that John Duthie became a millionaire on the Isle of Man, or snooker player Jimmy White shocked a nation by toppling seasoned pro Joe Beevers heads-up, but nearly a decade on, and the Poker Million is still going strong and with the wind firmly in its sail.

This year, Ladbrokes have been replaced by Full Tilt as event sponsors and the line-up has inevitably become more star-studded than ever before. Whilst 2000 was a who’s who of Late Night Poker, this year’s outing showcased some of the finest players from across the globe with titans of the felt such as Tom Dwan, Antonio Esfandiari, John Juanda, Gus Hansen and a host of other household names.

One aspect that has remained constant is the presence of Jesse May, the undeniable Voice of Poker. Having commentated on the likes of Bruce Atkinson and Guy Bowles in the first live final several years ago, Jesse returns to the fold in 2009 to witness the next generation of poker players commence battle with CardRunners tutor Taylor Caby and November Niner James Akenhead tackling current chip leader and proclaimed ‘Bad Boy of Poker’ Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz for the first prize of $500,000. Also chomping at the bit will be Dag Martin Mikkelsen, Juha Helppi and online qualifier Peter Vasiliou, the latter of whom formed the subject of our first ever Poker Pitstop.

In his latest blog entry, Jesse previews the 2009 Poker Million live final, offering his thoughts on Peter Vasiliou, James Akenhead and Luke Schwartz, praising the latter by saying, “He is the most underrated guy in the poker world. He only does crazy when it’s smart to do so, and now is that time. If the result comes down to who wants it most, then I believe Luke Schwartz will come out on top.”

If you would like to read more and find out who Jesse thinks could be a dark horse for the title, then check out his blog now.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Movers & Shakers - November

We were pleasantly surprised last month when Mike Carroll became Black Belt Poker’s first ever player to have risen through the ranks to become Green Belt. Reaching Green requires commitment to you game, and Mike had obviously been ambushing the tables with some gusto.

With that in mind, it is with great delight that we announce three more Green Belts, all of whom will be joining Mike at the first ever Green Belt Boot Camp in the new year. In addition to their free Boot Camp entry, they’ll also have the option of submitting a monthly hand for extensive analysis, as well as a free TeamViewer session in which they’ll receive one-to-one mentoring from a Black Belt Poker Pro. Most importantly, perhaps, they’ll now be earning Belt Points at six times the rate!

Overall, November was a highly active month on the Black Belt Poker skin which, in addition to the aforementioned Greens, saw the promotion of 4 Purple Belts and 24 Orange Belts, culminating in our most successful month to date. With promotions such as Challenge Channing, Black Belt Poker League II, and the Orange Belt Boot Camp Freeroll, there was plenty for people to get their teeth into.

Black Belt Poker would like to congratulate the following players on their achievement for November and wish you the very best of luck at the tables for the month of December:


Tomasz Jedlecki
Jack Sambrook
Simon Mairs


Ramsey Ajram
Dave Eames
Matt Smith
Warren Wooldridge


Steve Cash
Mike Shaw
Owen Robinson
Paul Marrow
Joe Balicki
Shane Brimstone
Andrew Maguire
Andrew Leake
si 76
Jonathan Spinks
Nabil Salah
Julie-Ann Jameson
Robbie Wooldridge
Paul Harrison
David Clark
Malcolm Sievwright
Adam Unwin
Lee Clarke
Carolynne Wilby
Adam Collins
Andrew Miles
Luke Chambers
Stephen Dickson

For more information on the Black Belt Poker cardroom, the Belt-Up rewards system, or any of our promotions, please visit our help pages in the ‘Play Poker’ section of the site.

Suited & Booted

Last night, Black Belt Poker held its first Live Boot Camp Freeroll, exclusive to Orange Belts with the top two winning entry into the inaugural Black Belt Poker/Bluff Magazine Boot Camp in February. With just 19 players in the field, this provided massive value for our current Orange Belts.

After just over two hours of play, the last two players standing were Nick ‘sprinterz’ Spiers and Kevin ‘KVNSTVBBP’ Stevens, both of whom will now be joining 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing and online pro Nik Persaud at the Grosvenor Victoria in London on Saturday, February 13.

With Spiers and Stevens becoming the first confirmed attendees, there are plenty of seats available, two more of which will be up for grabs next month. On Monday, December 28, Black Belt Poker’s Orange Belts (included those who reached that status today) will be eligible to register for the second Orange Belt Live Boot Camp Freeroll, with the opportunity to take advantage of one of the benefits of their current Belt status.

If you’re not an Orange Belt, then don’t fear, as the following month on Monday, January 25, 2010, there will be a third and final chance to obtain your seat, meaning that you have the whole of December to earn the 500 points target to become Orange Belt. Even if you have only just come across Black Belt Poker, then you can still qualify. Simply download the poker client, link your account and earn 500 Belt Points before January 1 and you’ll be automatically promoted to Orange Belt status and eligible to register for that month’s freeroll.

The results in full were as follows:

1st sprinterz
3rd browndog0
4th TheSimian
5th aaarggghhh
6th uSayMrE
7th JonnyNUFC3
8th JHobbit
9th bigstumuffin70
10th Ka7ieVick
11th steve87mu
12th AverageAtPoker
13th 10Royals
14th StilettoMafiosa
15th TFMonty007
16th CroadYuk
17th TableKnight
18th shawty9
19th Elysiumjay

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Carry on Camping

Roll up, roll up! Calling out to all Orange Belts or above – gain entry to Black Belt Poker's Live Boot Camp next year with our Orange Belt Boot Camp Freerolls. Having garnered feedback from our players, we decided that current Yellow Belts deserved a chance to qualify for the freeroll, so duly decided to make the Orange Belt Boot Camp Freeroll a monthly tournament, scheduled to take place on the last Monday of each month leading up to the event. In short: we’re giving away more free seats, and more added value for both our present, and future, Orange Belt players!

The first Orange Belt Freeroll is taking place right here on Monday evening, November 30 at 20:00 GMT – just two days away! If you are currently an Orange Belt, then this is your chance to bag a place at our first ever Live Boot Camp where you'll receive a free mentoring masterclass, running from 13:00-19:00 GMT, at the Vic on Saturday, February 13.

In association with Bluff Magazine, our in-house pros Neil Channing and Nik Persaud will be spearheading the event, complimented by contributions from some of our most talented Brown Belts. Together they'll be sharing their insight and tips on how you can take your game to the next stage. However, first things first – you must qualify from our Orange Belt Boot Camp Freeroll. All you have to do is finish in the top two and you’ll be on your way to the Grosvenor Victoria to learn from Black Belt Poker’s finest.

If it doesn't work out for you this Monday, then don’t fret as you'll have two more chances to qualify for the inaugural Live Boot Camp on December 28 and January 25, meaning that current Yellow Belts can still work their way up to Orange Belt status and register for what is a superb added value event.

Even if you have only just come across Black Belt Poker, then you can still qualify. Simply download the poker client, link your account and earn 500 Belt Points before either December 1 or January 1 and you’ll be automatically promoted to Orange Belt status and eligible to register for that month’s freeroll.

So log-on, strap your belt tight and play your way to experience the dawning of a new era at Black Belt Poker.

Friday, 27 November 2009

FullFlush Talks Isildur

Dust off your Jackeys or woteva, FullFlush is back!...

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This month, online enigma Isildur has taken the poker world by storm by ambushing the nosebleed stakes and taking on all comers for huge sums of money. Multi-tabling up to eight heads-up tables at a time and playing insanely long sessions, Isildur has witnessed more hands in the space of a few weeks than some pros have in the entire year. He can lose and win millions in minutes and has been involved in several of the biggest hands to date, including a record-breaking pot against Patrik Antonius for in excess of $1.3 million!

There’s no doubt that Isildur is fearless, relentlessly aggressive and willing to take on the very best the game has to offer – an anti bumhunter of sorts. In that sense, perhaps one of the few players who can truly relate to the online felt’s latest sensation is Luke ‘__FullFlush1__’ Schwartz. Like Isildur, FullFlush sent a ripple through the poker world when he emerged from nowehere to tackle Full Tilt’s finest head on, playing and often beating the likes of durrrr, Urindanger, martonas and many more.

Having experienced somewhat of a hiatus of late from the blogging world, FullFlush has returned this week in emphatic fashion to break his silence and offer his views on poker’s latest icon: “There's a million things to Isildur's game,” claims FullFlush, “he's got pretty much everything and plays boards particularly well. Perhaps his only weakness might be that he can tilt now and then, which is bad at Omaha. No Limit is definitely his best game, but Omaha might be a problem for him."

As always, FullFlush is never short of an opinion or two, and in his latest entry he also discusses the WSOP final, the Poker Million and Andrew Feldman’s open challenge, suggesting, “I'd happily stick 500k on the line, not just 100k. The only thing stopping me is giving him coverage.” Maybe most importantly, however, he reveals what the public really want to know: the true filling of that infamous EPT sandwich…

If you want to hear more from the Bad Boy of Poker, then check out FullFlush’s latest blog entry now.

Monday, 23 November 2009

New League Starts Tomorrow!

Action to poker players is like blood to a vampire; no matter how much you supply them, they’ll always be thirsty for more. We here at Black Belt Poker are always looking to satisfy the needs of our players, and so it is with great pleasure that we bring to you our latest Black Belt Poker League.

If that wasn’t enough to stop your fangs from tingling, then you’ll be pleased to know that our latest League comes with added value in the form of Belt Points. To reward those who participate in the League, we’ve upped the value on offer, meaning that as well as the usual merchandise for the top three, we are now offering a whopping 6,750 Belt Points, with 2,500 for the overall champion. That’s enough to maintain Purple Belt for a whole month!

The prizes are as follows:

1st 2,500 Belt Points (plus merchandise)
2nd 1,500 Belt Points (plus merchandise)
3rd 1,000 Belt Points (plus merchandise)
4th 500 Belt Points
5th 350 Belt Points
6th 275 Belt Points
7th 225 Belt Points
8th 175 Belt Points
9th 125 Belt Points
10th 100 Belt Points

Black Belt Poker’s first league may have drawn to a conclusion just one week ago, but we don’t like hanging around, meaning that League II will kick-off tomorrow at 8.30pm with a special appearance from Irish Open Champ Neil Channing! The League will consist of 10 legs of $5 No Limit Hold’em freezeouts and will take place weekly on Tuesday evenings. The League is open to all Yellow Belts and you are free to join the League at any point. To register, simple go to 'scheduled tournaments' and select 'Black Belt Poker Leauge II' in the tournament lobby.

The Black Belt Poker League is a part of our Super Tuesday extravaganza which also includes two other promotions including Challenge Channing and our Midnight Donkament, a $3 No Limit Hold'em rebuy frenzy for all those late night degenerates out there. To download Black Belt Poker and register now click here! Remember to link your poker account to your Community profile to gain Yellow Belt for depositing, and qualify for this promotion.

Play ECOOP on Black Belt Poker

With FTOPS and WCOOP attracting players in their groves, the thirst for online festivals is at an all time high as tournament specialists look to take advantage of those vast fields and gargantuan prize pools. At Black Belt Poker, you too can join in with the fun and frolics of cyberland as tonight sees the start of iPoker’s own contribution to the world of online festivals: ECOOP V.

Kicking off with a $200+15 No Limit Hold’em freezeout, event one delivers a mammoth $250,000 guaranteed prize pool. Over the course of an additional 13 events, iPoker players will be treated to an eclectic mix of events to suit all wallet sizes, ranging from a $100+9 Pot Limit Omaha High Low freezeout to a $2,500+100 No Limit Hold’em freezeout. The pinnacle of this year’s ECOOP will of course be the Main Event on Sun, Dec 6, a $1,500+80 No Limit Hold’em freezeout in which players will battle it out for a mouth-watering $1,500,000 prize pool! For more details, check out the full schedule now.

The ECOOP is available on all iPoker skins, but here at Black Belt Poker, you get the chance to use your Spending Points earned through playing on the site to play a satellite into the ECOOP Main Event. For as little as 325 Spending Points, you can purchase a tournament token through our newly erected online store for a $12+1 Stage 2 qualifier. Alternatively, you can opt for a more direct route, and use 2,725 Spending Points to register for the $100+9 Stage 1 qualifier, where subsequent survival will result in a Main Event seat and the chance to win a slice of the $1,500,000 pie.

Black Belt Poker is constantly looking at ways to improve its service and offer our users different benefits. Even if you don’t wish to participate in ECOOP V, then you can still utilise those Spending Points on a number of other regular iPoker tournaments, or even purchase an exclusive Black Belt Poker shirt or hat. If you would like to start earning Spending Points, then play now by downloading the poker client. For more details on the Black Belt Poker cardroom and all its promotions, be sure to visit the ‘Play Poker’ site or drop us an email at for more information.

download the poker client now ...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

De Wolfe Den

Roland De Wolfe is perhaps one of the most underrated players in the game. Despite becoming only the second player to complete a hat-trick of WPT, EPT and WSOP titles, he is rarely given the credit he deserves as one of the game’s greats. Perhaps it’s his sense of fun or relaxed approach, but either way, the facts don’t lie: he boasts $4.5 in live tournament winnings, is the UK’s second biggest winner behind only the Devilfish, and is a winning player in live cash games. It’s too his credit that he wins so much, yet doesn’t garner the praise his results warrant. Poker’s a game of deception, and this entertaining Londoner is possibly the most deceptive of them all.

With such a long list of accolades to his name, we thought we’d blow the dust off the old Sony camcorder and pick the brains of one of poker’s most popular personalities for an episodic series of interviews wittily entitled ‘De Wolfe Den’. 2008 Irish Open Champ Neil Channing once again adopts the role of Parkinson, eager to probe good friend Roland with questions regarding recent events within the poker world.

In our first edition of De Wolfe Den, Neil heads straight to poker’s core by discussing the recent World Series of Poker final in which America’s Joe Cada defeated fellow countryman Darvin Moon to become the 2009 Champion. In episode one, Roland shares his views on the final, as well as mentioning Moon, the sudden resignation of Jeffrey Pollack and Neil Channing’s increased bankroll.

Roland also talks about Phil Ivey and his WSOP prop bets, revealing that: “Ivey would have probably made double what he would have won for first, so another like eight or six million. Andy Bloch was on for two million because he bet 10 or 20 thousand at 100:1 when there were around 4,000 players left.”

If you like to hear more from De Wolfe Den, as well as witness the Channing/De Wolfe banter in full flow, then simply click the link below and be sure to join us next time for the second episode of Black Belt Poker’s latest high profile feature.

De Wolfe Den - Episode One

Friday, 13 November 2009

Attention, Orange Belts!

Atteeeeention! He may not look like much, and a far cry from Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, but what Nik Persuad lacks in menace, he more than makes up in poker ability.

For the first time since the launch of our cardroom, Black Belt Poker, in conjuction with Bluff Magazine, will be hosting a hotly anticipated Live Boot Camp in which attendees will be given the opportunity to hear from the pros firsthand and receive assistance in improving their game. As an online pro and co-founder of Black Belt Poker, Nik, along with live pro and 2008 Irish Open champ Neil Channing, will be on hand to share his pearls of wisdom and offer his expertise on all things poker related.

The date of the Boot Camp has yet to be confirmed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t book your seat early doors. To reward our players, we have decided to host an online qualifier, in which two seats will be up for grabs. In recognition of their achievement, only those of Orange Belt status will be able to enter, thus thinning the field and increasing your chances or making it to the Live Boot Camp.

The buy-in? Absolutely nothing.

The satellite will take place at 8pm on Monday, Nov 30 and will be a No Limit Texas Hold’em Freezeout. The event is already available on the Black Belt Poker skin and anyone of Orange Belt status or above is eligible to enter. To register for this event, simply sign into the Black Belt Poker client, select the ‘scheduled tournaments’ and ‘freerolls’ tabs and click the tournament titled ‘BBP Orange Belt Bootcamp FR’.

We here at Black Belt Poker look to offer a more personal touch and reward our higher Belts in various ways, and this exclusive freeroll is just one example of that. If you would like to work your way through the Belt system and reap the benefits of being a higher Belt on Black Belt Poker, then be sure to download the poker client now ...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Movers & Shakers - October

Last month had a tough task to follow when it emerged that 26 players had been promoted to a higher Belt status due to performances during the month of September, but despite the promising start, October somehow managed to exceed expectations by seeing a total of 30 players rise through the ranks. As well as 23 Orange Belts, we also witnessed the promotion of six newly crowned Purple Belts, one Green and one Brown. At this rate, we might have to move to a bigger Dojo to fit everyone in!

The player with perhaps the widest smile is Mike Carroll. Having been grinding away like Tony Hawks on speed, Mike earned enough Belt Points to skip Purple entirely and become the first ever Black Belt Poker player to work his way through the system and reach Green Belt status. As a result, Black Belt Poker will be working close with Mike to ensure that he reaps the benefits of playing on a site that seeks to improve people’s games. He has already received one-to-one mentoring with online pro Nik Persaud, and every month that he remains a Green, he will have the option of submitting two hands for extensive analysis from one of our Black Belt Pros. On top of this, he now has a guaranteed seat in the next Boot Camp worth £600, free merchandise, and the option to turn Spending Points into live tournaments.

Following his TeamViewer session, Mike posted on the site: “I have just finished a one hour personal mentoring session with Nik Persaud, which was not only informative, but a real pleasure as well. This man really knows poker and has made me realise how much I still have to learn. He is quite simply different class. The site is new and will have teething problems, which is only natural, but from the way they have responded, I have no doubts this is the place to be if you are serious about improving your game.”

If you would like to follow in Mike’s footsteps and experience the benefits of being a Green Belt player, then check out all the information regarding our card room in our ‘Play Poker’ section of the site, including details on our unique Belt-Up rewards system.

Black Belt Poker would like to congratulate Mike and the following players on their achievement for October (as well as the former Graders who maintained their Belt level) and wish you the very best of luck at the tables for the month of October:


James Mitchell


Mike Carroll


Javed Ghazi
Tomasz Jedlecki
Lee Innes
Jon Neale
Jack Sambrook


Siu Lo
Louis Scriven
James Sykes
Ajay Ramesh
Ben Gross
Craig Rattray
Shaun Herran-Venables
Tim Kerton
Jason Layland
Paul Storey-Smith
Michael Dwyer
Adam Saunders
Simon Morris
Jennifer Mason
Sean Lassman
Kevin Stevens
Richard Chaso
Dave Eames
Darly Gabriel
Kevin Williams
Malc Curtis
Steve Jones
Jamie Burland

Download poker client now ...

Brill Mitchell

Last month, we were all delighted to see Hugh Kirton earn Brown Belt status after cashing for $50,000 in the iPoker Monthly Million. In doing so, he became the first ever Black Belt Poker player to have been promoted to Brown.

As elated as we were, we considered it a rare, but welcome occurrence, and believed with the torrid variance involved in poker, it would be a while before we witnessed a repeat performance. However, it would appear as though there is a feast of talent lingering among the Blue Belt region as this month, former Grader and Blue Belt James repeated Kirton’s feat by shooting up to Brown Belt from Blue after winning a magnificent £30,000 in the recent Littlewoods World Heads-Up Poker Championships.

Proudly wearing the Black Belt Poker colours, James Mitchell entered the event amid tough company, with the eclectic field showcasing the talents of Andrew Feldman, Michael Greco, Roland De Wolfe, Sorel Mizzi, Dario Minieri and 35 other heads-up specialists.

Although facing some of the game’s best heads-up players, James is a keen heads-up enthusiast himself, and after defeating players of the ilk of Keith Hawkins and Laurence Houghton, managed to battle his way to the third and final day for a young versus old tete-a-tete. His opponent had just despatched of Russian Victor Ilyukhin in the semi-final: Vic regular and cash game veteran Charalambos 'Bambos' Xanthos.

Holding home field advantage, Bambos managed to eek his way into a three to one chip lead before sealing victory with top pair versus middle pair on an Ad-Td-4c board. A blank turn following by a third bullet on the river was enough to claim both the title and the £65,000 first prize, the latter of which provided the Cypriot with his biggest tournament win to date.

Having been so close to winning the event outright, the week had proved bittersweet for James, but would become slightly sweeter upon learning that his performance had elevated him to Brown Belt status, thus securing him a sponsorship package worth $4,000 per month. Joining Hugh Kirton as one of the figureheads of the company, James is now in prestigious company at the top of the Black Belt Poker tree, and everyone here at Black Belt Poker would like to congratulate him on his success.

If you would like to ask James a question or add him as a buddy, then feel free to check out his personal profile on the Black Belt Poker social network.

Monday, 2 November 2009

GazAJKO’s Channing in $5,000 Freeroll

Last night, Black Belt Poker hosted its hotly anticipated Depositors’ Freeroll. As well as the mouth-watering $5,000 prize pool and $1,000 first prize, six Black Belt Poker bounties were set up as cannon fodder with players earning $100 rewards for the scalps of Black Belt Poker sponsored players Eoin Kennedy, Adam Latimer, Hugh Kirton and Jerome Bradpiece, as well as an additional $200 each for eliminating co-founders Neil Channing and Nik Persaud.

So, that’s $5,000 in the kitty and an extra $800 on top. There had to be a catch, right? Well, maybe, but only a teeny-weeny one: all you had to do was make a minimum deposit of $10 and you were free to run rampant over the Black Belt Poker skin and take advantage of the absolutely free value on offer. As a result, 275 registered for the event, including a few familiar faces in the shape of Andy Ward, Jesse May, Keith Hawkins, Paul Zimbler, Ben Grundy and recent Poker Million finalist Peter Vasiliou.

This truly was, as Dire Straits once sang, a “Money for Nothing” opportunity, and with over a third of the field paid, an impressive 99 players were able to turn something into nothing with the unlucky bubble spot splashing at the feet of ‘belovedpoker’ who was eliminated at the century mark. Out of those who did cash, however, were BBP players Adam ‘JHobbit1’ Saunders, Jennifer ‘Dejen1’ Mason, and Brown Belt Hugh ‘DianaVickers’ Kirton.

The biggest surprise, perhaps, lay in the final table line-up as both Neil Channing and Nik Persaud (“fix!” I hear you cry), as well as Adam ‘trojandonkey’ Latimer, made up the last nine, meaning three bounties were still up for grabs. With Nik dropping in eighth and Adam snapping up third, the final two were Neil and Yellow Belt Garry ‘GazAJKO’ Cargill, the Black Belt Poker co-founder holding a clear experience advantage but facing a slight chip deficit going into the tete-a-tete.

Garry had clearly been watching his Dog the Bounty Hunter boxset, as having disposed of Adam, he added the scalp of Neil to his list of victims to lap up both the title and the final bounty. The final hand was a simple affair, all the chips going in preflop with Garry’s nose inches in front with Ah-8c versus BadBeat’s Qd-Jh. The communal cards formed a minefield, but Garry somehow managed to dodge a 7d-6d-8s-9h-3s board to become the Depositors’ Freeroll Champion and gratefully collect the first prize of $1,000, as well as the additional bounties picked up along the way.

The final table results were as follows:

1st GazAJKO -- $1,000
2nd NeilChanning -- $500
3rd trojandonkey -- $400
4th Mrgingertoys -- $300
5th betyama -- $250
6th virtusxetxhonor -- $200
7th rosselini -- $175
8th NikPersaud -- $150
9th 3pieceVariety -- $125

Many thanks to all those who participated in the Depositors’ Freeroll. More fun was had than an entire series of Funhouse and we were pleased to learn that everyone enjoyed the tournament. With the weekly White and Yellow Belt freerolls and the BBP League, there is still plenty of value to be had on Black Belt Poker, and we’ll soon be looking to offer even more value as we look to introduce the Orange Belt Boot Camp Freeroll in the very near future. Watch this space for further news.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Money for Nothing

Buckle up and hold on tight, folks, as this Sunday Black Belt Poker are hosting a Depositors’ Freeroll in which we are stumping up a whopping $5,000 into the prize pool. That’s $5,000 of value, absolutely free!

As well as a near $1,000 first prize, Black Belt Poker have also set up several bounties, with players earning $100 for eliminating a Black Belt Poker Pro, as well as an additional $200 each for the scalps of Black Belt Poker co-founders Neil Channing and Nik Persaud.

The tournament will be a No Limit Texas Hold’em Freezeout and will take place on Sunday, November 1 at 6pm, only on Black Belt Poker. To register for the event, follow these simple steps:

(1) Download the poker client and open an account.
(2) Deposit a minimum of $10.
(3) Link your cardroom account to your community account

There will be a short delay whilst we update your VIP status on iPoker, but after a period of up to 24 hours, you will be free to register for the freeroll which can be found under the ‘Schedule Tournaments’ > Freerolls tab.

This really is, as Dire Straits once sang, “Money for Nothing”, so for your chance to strike gold, simply click the link below to commence the registration process.

Download now ...


At the start of the month, Black Belt Poker hosted an online freeroll qualifier on the Black Belt Poker skin in which players battled like Trojan warriors for the opportunity to play in this year’s International Poker Open. The four lucky winners who headed to Ireland’s beer-guzzling capital were Ben Pooley, Kim Vernon, Grant Darnley and Steve Cash. Also joining them at the felt was 2008 Irish Open Champion and Black Belt Poker head honcho Neil ‘BadBeat’ Channing.

Incredibly, 1,440 salivating poker enthusiasts crammed themselves into host venue the Regency Hotel, all eager to spin up their initial buy-in of $225 into a rather more substantial $62,225. Unfortunately, our Black Belt Poker representatives were on a different page to the Poker Gods, and were thus unable to take advantage of the $27,000 in added money and tempting bounties that loomed over numerous heads.

First to hit the deck was Grant Darnley. Having lost a big pot during the opening levels, he made a squeeze play with pocket deuces during level four, but was swiftly picked off by pocket tens which held up on an otherwise uneventful board. “The tourist attractions made up the rest of my weekend,” reported Darnley, dejected, but keen to take advantage of his spare time. “Even as someone who doesn't drink Guinness the Storehouse was a must-see, and Temple Bar was bustling with activity on a surprisingly warm day. Some were even sunbathing on the side of the Liffey.”

Despite a plucky performance, Kim Vernon soon followed. He was graced with a very active table which witnessed an early elimination and plenty of big pots. One of those saw his stack severely dented in level two, Vernon ultimately folding A-K on a king high board only to be shown an ace. “In hindsight,” he added, “I felt I should have called.” Having clawed his way back up to 8,000, Vernon sang his swan song with pocket eights versus jacks, the board providing no further help. “It all got a bit messy in the bar later,” smiled Vernon, “listening to Mad Marty stories sitting with Matt Broughton of the Poker Show. It was a fantastic weekend but I will smuggle my own tobacco in next year: eight Euros for fags!”

Ben Pooley came armed with a smidgen of live experience, but his luck was sadly lacking. With blinds at 100 and 200, and a raise of 500 and a call before him, Pooley made it 1,200 with queens from the button. The initial raiser called and both players saw a 4-2-4 flop where Pooley was check-raised all in. He made the call and was shown an inferior pocket threes, but an ace turn and five river dealt out the cruelest of low blows and left Pooley with a paltry 1,200 in chips. A failed coin flip later with 3-3 succumbing to A-K on a dramatic J-Q-x-7-T board and Pooley was gone. “I found the standard of play a lot lower than I was expecting,” he mused. “No one on my table was doing anything crazy; I felt relaxed. The atmosphere was great and very enjoyable.”

With Neil Channing faring no better and Steve Cash unfortunately absent due to personal reasons, Black Belt Poker’s mini ambush of the International Poker Open was over, with bar-propping replacing poker as the order of the day. Ultimately, and despite a third of the field being made up of French players taking advantage of a bank holiday, the event was won by German born Markus Sippe, now residing in Luxembourg. He defeated the mammoth field, which included the likes of Andy Black, Padraig Parkinson, Surinder Sunar, Simon Trumper and Marty Smyth, to snap up the title and the accompanying spondoolies, whilst Irishman Jaye Renehan picked up $47,490 for second.

Our congratulations go to the Black Belt clan for frerolling their way to Dublin, but commiserations that their venture was short-lived and the final table remained Black Belt free. Next time, Gadget, next time.

If you like money for nothing, then be sure to check out our Depositors’ Freeroll which takes place on Sunday, Nov 1.

Showing Mercier

He might be busy winning tournaments left, right and centre, but American poker pro Jason Mercier wasn’t too busy to be interviewed by Black Belt Poker’s finest Parkinson impersonators, and duly obliged to a quick-fire interrogation during the recent WSOPE. Deep into the £10,000 Main Event, Mercier wasn’t looking in great shape when we caught up him, but it would appear our presence was a good omen as he later built up his stack rapidly, ultimately finishing fourth for a tasty £267,267.

A 20-something hotshot from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Mercier shot to fame when he took down the EPT San Remo for a whopping €869,000, fending off 700 other players in the process. But if anyone thought this was a fluke – a young rookie coming from nowhere to take EPT gold – they’d be severely mistaken as Mercier continued his fine form, winning both a WSOP bracelet and an EPT High Rollers event to take his total winnings to an astonishing $3,752,230.

Now, in an exclusive interview with Black Belt Poker, Mercier puts himself in the firing line to answer our best questions, discussing a host of topics ranging from sponsorship, staking, and taking shots. At one point, Mercier spoke about his disappointment in missing out on a sponsorship deal, despite impressive performances. “I thought I was going to get it when I won the High Rollers event,” he confessed, “and when it didn't happen, I felt there was a chance that I'd never get it until the laws got changed in the US. I guess winning the bracelet was what made Stars want to give me a deal.”

Of course, Mercier had plenty more to say, and went on to answer questions about Omaha, John Juanda and his own strengths and weaknesses. To read the interview in full, check out the ‘Articles’ section on Black Belt Poker where we showcase exchanges with some of the biggest names in poker including Patrik Antonius, Barry Greenstein, Richard Ashby and many, many more. Quick march.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Antonius - 50,000 Not Enough?

In an exclusive interview with Black Belt Poker, Patrik Antonius reveals his doubts regarding the durrrr Challenge, explaining how he thinks the 50,000 hand target is possibly not quite enough to determine who the best player is. “I thought it would be enough to see who's better,” he claims, “but now I feel the luck can still play a part because it looks like it could go any way. Out of the eight biggest pots, he's won six… playing 200,000 would perhaps be a little bit more accurate.”

As well as the durrrr Challenge, Antonius was questioned on a number of other topics. When the subject of Mark Vos cropped up, Antonius couldn’t withhold his anger, calling the former bracelet winner a “f***ing idiot”. Antonius showcased his dislike for the Australian in a recent interview with a UK magazine, and it appears as though little has changed.

Currently a member of the ever-growing Full Tilt team, the Flying Finn is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, and is often mentioned in the same light as Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Chip Reese. Having initially started off as a tennis player, injury forced him out and led him to poker, where he has since become a titan of the game. As well a becoming a formidable force in some of the biggest cash games around – including appearances on the highly acclaimed High Stakes Poker – Antonius also boasts over $2.6 million in tournament winnings, including an EPT Baden title and a second place finish in the 2005 Five Diamond Classic in Vegas for $1,046,470.

If you would like to hear more from Antonius on the durrr Challenge and Mark Vos, as well a whole host of other topics, then be sure to check out this fascinating, tell-all interview now.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Kirton Call

Every month, Black Belt Poker updates the Belt status of its members: some slip, some rise, and some stay the same. Having only launched in September, we didn’t expect many changes, but were overjoyed to find that a total of 26 players had improved their Belt status and jumped up to the next level. Whilst we congratulate the 23 newly crowned Orange Belts and 2 Purple Belts, there is one player in particular who deserves plaudits for a quite splendid month.

On Thursday, October 1, Hugh ‘IrnBruHugh’ Kirton became Black Belt Poker’s first ever player to be promoted to Brown Belt through the Belt-Up rewards system. A product of April’s Grading in which 50 pre-selected players battled it out for a $20,000 WSOP package to Vegas, Hugh is a dedicated cash game player who has been consistently ambushing the iPoker ring games.

However, on Sunday, September 13, Hugh requested backing as part of his monthly package to play in the inaugural Monthly Million. The Monthly Million is a monthly (no shit!) No Limit Hold’em freezeout which takes place on iPoker – the world’s largest poker network. The buy-in is $535 and players are treated to a 10,000 starting stack and a 30-minute clock. In essence, it gives skill a greater chance of prevailing. With a $1,000,000 prize pool, the tournament is by far iPoker’s biggest regular event.

Despite being predominantly a cash player, Hugh duly entered the event and finished a remarkable fourth place for a whopping $50,000. As a result – and due to Black Belt Poker’s unique scheme in which we reward players Belt Points for cashing in MTTs that they have been staked in – Hugh earned enough Belt Points to not only see him jump up to Brown Belt status by the end of the month, but also have enough Belt Points in the bank to maintain his status for three months! As Brown Belts receive a minimum of $4,000 per month in live tournament sponsorship, this means that Hugh is guaranteed a total package worth $12,000!

Hailing from London, Hugh is a familiar face on the local circuit having become a regular figure at the now defunct Gutshot Club in Farringdon. He boasts a handful of results in live tournaments with his biggest win coming in 2007 when he won £12,810 in a £200 No Limit Hold’em freezeout at the London GUKPT. His iPoker triumph is therefore his biggest win to date, and Black Belt Poker would not only like to congratulate Hugh for his fourth place finish, but also for his achievement in becoming an esteemed Brown Belt player.

If you would like to ask Hugh a question or add him as a buddy, then feel free to check out his personal profile on the Black Belt Poker social network.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Movers & Shakers - September

The Black Belt Poker cardroom opened just four weeks ago on iPoker – the world’s largest poker network – and already, a number of players have been promoted to a new Belt category. In all, 26 players have been assigned new Belts including 23 Orange, 2 Purple, and 1 Brown! All 26 of these players will now earn points at a faster rate than they would at a lower Belt level.

At the end of each month, Belt Maintenance Points are transferred into Spending Points. This amount is dependent on your current Belt level. In the upcoming months, Black Belt Poker will be offering players a variety of ways in which to spend their Spending Points, including Black Belt Poker merchandise and online satellites into live events. Purple Belts will also be given the opportunity to utilise our ‘Ask the Pro’ feature in which they receive expert analysis from the Black Belt Pros. Anyone who achieves Purple Belt status immediately receives a free ‘Ask the Pro’ courtesy of Black Belt Poker.

For more information on the Black Belt Poker cardroom, the Belt-Up rewards system, or any of our promotions, please visit our help pages in the ‘Play Poker’ section of the site.

Black Belt Poker would like to congratulate the following players on their achievement for September (as well as the former Graders who maintained their Belt level) and wish you the very best of luck at the tables for the month of October:


Hugh Kirton


Adam Goulding
Jonny Goldberg


Lee Innes
Neil Blatchly
Gavin Hall
Javed Ghazi
Tom Bull
Chris Roadknight
Dewi James
Jack Sambrook
Jon Neale
Andy Brisland
Rod Stirzaker
Gary Brown
Alex Chambers
Mike Carroll
Ermyas Birru
Matthew Frankland
Mark Russell
Matt Smith
Mark Hodder
Nick Spiers
Andrew Cooper
Dean Brewer
Steve Rigby

Friday, 2 October 2009


At a whopping £10,000 a pop, Black Belt Poker’s presence was understandably light at this year’s World Series of Poker Europe, but that didn’t stop co-founders Neil Channing and Nik Persaud taking a stab at the £801,603 first prize, as well as Vegas 8 member and recent DTD conqueror James Keys.

But despite their bravado, they had a mountain to climb, and one that included more stars than the night sky. Ivey, Akenhead, Hellmuth, Harman, Juanda, Obrestad, Seed – they were all there, and to capture the WSOPE title, the winner would have to defeat one of the toughest pound for pound line-ups ever assembled.

But with the grit between their teeth, Black Belt Poker were braced and ready for action, determined to overcome the 334 thick field and get their mitts on some shiny, sparkling bracelet gold. Sadly, grit alone wasn’t enough. Neil, who had been drawn next to former bracelet winner Nenad Medic, endured a torrid time that was indicative of his recent form and misfortune. Numerous big pairs were received, but most went awry, and when he eventually managed to get all his chips in with Big Slick, he found Matt Stout sitting pretty with pocket rockets. No miracle cowboys, and Bad Beat was out.

All hopes thus rested on partner in crime Nik Persaud, a jovial, outgoing chap, but a wizard of the felt and all business when need be. This week was no different, and despite crossing swords with the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and eventual finalists Praz Bansi and Matt Hawrilenko, Nik sailed comfortably into Day Three without so much of a murmur.

Similarly, James Keys had crossed rugged company, sharing tables with Eric Liu, Doyle Brunson and, at the start of Day Three, then monster chip leader Ian Munns. Having endured more ups and downs than a kangaroo on a bungee, the Keys’ stack eventually sank too far south, and the former Grader was gone – ejected from the feature table and into the out-stretched arms of the Empire bar.

Back from the break, Nik dug deep, battling like a Trojan to keep his tournament flame alight. However – and after several setbacks which inhibited him from gathering any genuine pace – Nik sang his swan song just several places away from the money, his Jh-Th versus Amnon Filippi’s Kc-Qd no good on a Qh-4h-9c-2s board, the 5d river dodging all his draws and sending him prematurely home.

And so, Black Belt Poker’s diminutive army had been brought to a halt before its infiltration of Leicester Square had barely begun. Whilst Belts were put back in drawers, Bill Clinton look-a-like Barry Shulman romped to victory to become Emperor of the Empire, fending off a star-studded final table which included two November Niners, six bracelet winners, and, now, the man with more tournament winnings than anyone else in the world, Daniel Negreanu.

A victory for the old school, but a defeat for Black Belt Poker.

Purple Patch

The Black Belt Poker cardroom has finally hit its purple patch – quite literally! In coherence with today’s Belt upgrades, Black Belt Poker are proud to announce the induction of a brand spanking new level: Purple Belt.

After garnering feedback from its members, the good people at Black Belt Poker have decided to add another Belt status in between the Orange and Green Belt levels in order to close the gap and make the jump from Orange that more achievable.

In order to achieve Purple Belt status, players are required to accrue a minimum of 5,000 Belt Points through raked hands on the Black Belt Poker skin. Players can take as long as they want to achieve this status, but need to remember that each month, 500 Belt Points are transferred into Spending Points in order to cover their Belt Maintenance cost for maintaining Orange Belt status. However, once you have reached that 5,000 Belt Points milestone, you will automatically be upgraded to Purple Belt at the end of the month.

There are a number of benefits in being a Purple Belt on Black Belt Poker. The first, and possibly most important, is that you will earn Belt Points at 2.5 times the rate of a Yellow Belt player. This means that for every dollar raked, you will be awarded five Belt Points instead of four or two which are awarded for Orange and Yellow Belt statuses respectively.

Unlike Orange Belt, the maintenance cost to maintain the Belt doesn’t equate to the Belt Points required to achieve that status. Despite requiring 5,000 Belt Points to obtain, players will only need to transfer 2,500 points into Spending Points at the end of each month in order to maintain Purple Status. This means that you will be guaranteed a minimum of two months as Purple Belt, whether you play a raked hand or not!

As with Green Belt status, Black Belt Poker are also rewarding players for their community contribution by offering a 10 percent reduction for those Purple Belts who fulfil some basic community contribution criteria. This includes making five posts on the Groups boards, extending your network with five extra buddies, and posting four hands for analysis on the Hands section of the Groups boards. If you achieve these simple requirements as Purple Belt, 250 Community Points (10 percent of 2,500) will be duly added into your account, thus resulting in your target for the month being reduced to 2,250.

We here at Black Belt Poker recognise that if you are a Purple Belt earning 2,500 Belt Points a month, you are a dedicated player keen to improve your game and become a better poker player. For this reason, we are offering players the opportunity for a free ‘Ask the Pro’ upon reaching Purple Belt status. If you have a hand that you want analysed or a question that needs answering, then simply contact to cash in your free ‘Ask a Pro’. Once we receive your request, we will forward your message onto the most appropriate Black Belt Poker pro who will offer extensive analysis on the hand or topic raised. In the near future, Black Belt Poker will also be putting the mechanisms in place which will allow players to spend some of their hard earned Spending Points on this feature.

Having only launched its online cardroom four weeks ago, this is just the start of Black Belt Poker’s mission to combine playing and learning about poker. In addition to ‘Ask a Pro’ we will gradually be introducing more and more features, as well as offering you a variety of ways in which to spend your hard earned Spending Points. In the very near future, we shall also be introducing a unique referrals system, which will give players the opportunity to earn points from referring players to both the Black Belt Poker community and cardroom.

It’s all happening at Black Belt Poker, but there are plenty more purple patches to come…