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