Monday, 27 December 2010

New Year Diaries

Oscar Wilde once said that: "Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account," so we decided to put that assumption to the test and ask some of the UK poker's biggest names what their hopes and goals are for the new year.

2010 was a hugely successful year for UK poker, with five bracelets in Vegas and a host of other major titles being captured overseas. It was also a year of camaraderie, patriotism and youth, as some of the country's hottest young talents set the poker world alight with their unrelenting aggression and fearless play. Meanwhile, some of the veterans of the felt proved that they still had what it takes to compete on the highest of levels and keep up with the pace being set by the third-generation assault.

In a new feature - titled 'New Year Diaries' - several of 2010's biggest success stories put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to reflect on the year gone by, whilst detailing their New Year resolutions for the next 12 months. In a series of brutally honest accounts, they reveal how their year really went (both in, and away from, the limelight), and where they want to be this time next year.

First into the hot seat is EPT and WPT winner Jake Cody, who tomorrow will discuss a host of topics ranging from his views on sponsorship to why he believes 2010 was his breakout year. In the meantime, however, and for those who missed it the first time round, be sure to check out Richard Ashby's thoughts on the last 12 months, and why, despite a bracelet and WCOOP win, it was one of his least successful years to date.

Our New Year Diaries will feature daily on the site over the next several days and into the new year, so be sure to keep visiting us at to see who's put themselves in the firing line for each particular day.

Winter Sales - Prices Slashed!

Get your straitjackets ready, because Black Belt Poker are once again going discount doo-lally by slashing the prices of a number of tournaments throughout January. We'll still be keeping the same fantastic guarantees, but we've gone crazy with our prices with discounts up to 80 percent.

From Friday, January 7 to Sunday, January 16, we'll be overdosing on overlay with nine discounted events, as well as four new tournaments! The opening event will be the $60,000 GTD. The guarantee will stay the same, but the buy-in is now $50. That's half price!

Ever wanted to play the High-Rollers event? Well, now's your chance, as we're slicing an incredible 80 percent off the buy-in meaning you can compete for the same $35K guarantee for just $100. Even the $200K GTD is a bargain at not $300, not $200, but just $100. That's 66 percent off!

Not even Santa Claus can compete with this incredible offer, so come join the Winter Sales on Black Belt Poker and take advantage of these amazing price-cuts. January is all about New Year's resolutions, but ours is easy: keep handing out one-way tickets to Value Town. $755,000 in prizes at bargain bucket prices - it's a deal, it's a steal, it's the sale of the century. You'd be insane in the mebrane to miss out!

The schedule for the Winter Sales is as follows:


Fri Jan 7 (8pm) -- $50+5 NLH 6-H R/B, $60,000 GTD, 50% discount (2K chips, 12 min clock)
Sat Jan 8 (7.30pm) -- $50+5 NLH F/O, $35,000 GTD, 50% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)
Sun Jan 9 (7pm) -- $150+12 NLH F/O, $200,000 GTD, 50% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)
Mon Jan 10 (8.45pm) -- $100+9 NLH F/O, $35,000 GTD, 80% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)
Mon Jan 10 (9pm) -- $20+2 PLO F/O, $5,000 GTD, 80% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)
Tue Jan 11 (8.45pm) -- $20+2 NLH R/B, $30,000 GTD, 80% discount (3K chips, 12 min clock)
Fri Jan 14 (8pm) -- $25+2.50 NLH R/B, $60,000 GTD, 75% discount (3K chips, 12 min clock)
Sat Jan 15 (7.30pm) -- $35+3.50 NLH F/O, $35,000 GTD, 65% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)
Sun Jan 16 (7pm) -- $100+9 NLH F/O, $200,000 GTD, 66% discount (5K chips, 15 min clock)

New Tournaments...

Sat Jan 8 (2pm) -- $5+0.50 NLH R/B, $5,000 GTD (1.5K chips, 10 min clock)
Tue Jan 11 (5pm) -- $5+0.50 R/B, $5,000 GTD (1.5K chips, 10 min clock)
Wed Jan 12 (7pm) -- $40+4 NLH 1xR/B, $50,000 GTD (5k chips, 15 min clock)
Thu Jan 13 (7pm) -- $20+2 NLH F/O, $30,000 GTD (3K chips, 12 min clock)
Sat Jan 15 (2pm) -- $5+0.50 NLH F/O, $5,000 GTD (1.5K chips, 10 min clock)

If you've yet to play a hand on Black Belt Poker, then there's never been a better time to make your debut. Simply download the software, follow the step-by-step process provided to opening an account, and start reaping what is just one of the many benefits of playing on Black Belt Poker.

If you're already a member, then simply boot up the poker client, locate the events in Scheduled > Winter Sales and look up at the sky as the money starts to fall.

Your calendars may be changing this new year, but Black Belt Poker will be continuing its tour through Value Town throughout 2011. The Winter Sales is only the first port-of-call, so make sure you jump on board and join in all the fun as we celebrate the new year like only we know how.

Click here for all the detals.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Black Belt Christmas Present

Santa Claus isn't the only one bearing gifts this Christmas as Neil Channing has donned white beard and pot-belly (already included) to serve up some festive treats of his own.

On Christmas Eve, Neil will be hopping down your chimney prematurely to add a little bonus to your stocking filler with some good ol' fashioned added value. At 3pm, and before you've stuffed your face with mother's home cooking, Black Belt Poker are hosting a $10 No Limit Hold'em six-handed freezeout with extra prizes for the top 10 placed finishers.

In keeping with our lack of sanity, we're sledging down Value Hill once more with Black Belt Poker merchandise for all finalists. What's more, the winner will earn himself a month's subscription to acclaimed tutorial site DeucesCracked, thus giving them the perfect opportunity to brush up on their game over the festive period.

It's been a cracking year for Black Belt Poker, and this prezzie is merely a token of our gratitude to everyone who has played on the site, contributed to the community, and supported our efforts to make Black Belt Poker the UK's most up-and-coming poker cardroom. As 2011 approaches, we fully intend to keep the gifts coming in the form of League VIII, London Live, and much, much more.

If you've never played with us before, and want to escape from the in-laws for a few hours, then why not join in the fun and take advantage of what is just one of the many benefits to playing on Black Belt Poker? To play is easy, simply download the software and follow the step-by-step process provided. The tournament can then be located in Schedule > Black Belt Tournaments > Black Belt Christmas Present.

Happy holidays, and be sure to make Black Belt Poker the stuffing in your Christmas turkey.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Grading III Results

After six weeks of intense poker, Grading III: Journey to Oz finally came to a close at Midnight, Sunday, December 12. In total, 24 players (the Aussie Two-4) commenced the Grading, but when the smoke had cleared, only 12 had survived. Of those, 9 would be eligible for the Aussie Millions package after 3 had decided to venture along the Blue Brick Road, an added option that enabled players to vie for Blue Belt whilst playing stakes lower than the rest of the field.

A few days later, Neil Channing and his band of merry men gathered at Black Belt Poker HQ to analyse the stats, hand histories, and overall capabilities of the remaining participants. It took several hours to confirm the names of the first two winners, and they were Adam Stoneham and Sam Razavi, both of whom had emerged from the other side as big winners with profits of $10,382 and $6,952 respectively. Financially, Adam and Sam had won by a landslide, and all judges agreed that they would be great representatives of the brand and a formidable force on the live tournament scene.

The third spot was a little more difficult. After whittling the contenders down to four, the judges arrived at a stalemate and whilst each individual offered a valid reason as to why they warranted a trip to Australia, they were utlimately unable to set them apart. In the end, an alternative suggestion was proposed that would reward all four players for their efforts, without singling out anyone in particular.

At the expense of Black Belt Poker, it was decided that Joe Roberts, David Docherty, Oliver Schaffmann and Tom Drew would all be promoted to Blue Belt and receive a £5,000 UKIPT package, in which they would get to play every UKIPT Main Event of the current season, as well as receiving travel and accommodation expenses. In the process, they would be able to travel the Tour as a team, feeding off each other and offering encouragement when required. After four swift phone calls, the decision was made: Grading III had six winners with two Brown Belts going to Australia to play the Aussie Millions Main Event armed with a £10,000 package and four Blue Belts ambushing the UK circuit with £5,000 in buy-ins at their disposal.

A key element of the judging process is acknowledging and rewarding the efforts made by all participants, not just the winners. The Grading is undoubtedly a gruelling process in which players are asked to play ring-games of $0.50/1, and later $1/2, over a month and a half, and we pride ourselves on ensuring that all Graders, including those who didn't reach the finish line, are justly rewarded. In this instance, we felt it necessary to offer Belts that suited the individual, and their ability to maintain, and, in many cases, supplemented their promotion with a combination of Belt points, tournament buy-ins, extra training, or free Belt maintenance depending on the requirements of that person.

So, without further ado, here are the official results of Grading III: Journey to Oz. Congratulations to all players, especially Adam and Sam who will be representing Black Belt Poker in February in the Aussie Millions Main Event in Melbourne.

Brown Belts

Adam Stoneham
Sam Razavi

Blue Belts

Joe Roberts
Tom Drew
Oliver Schaffmann
Mike Carroll
David Docherty
Adam Unwin
Michael Morley
Vincent Diver

Green Belts

Shaz Roberts
Richard Dally
John Hayes
Paul Garnham

Purple Belts

Adam Saunders
Richard Hurst
Adam Carey
Brian Gallagher
Ollie Noonan
Stuart Longster
Richard Eatock
Gareth Alder
Liam Crawford
Graham Murray
Darius Demetriou

Grading III was a fun-filled, roller coaster affair, and hopefully a rewarding one for everyone involved. There were casualties along the way - including Adam Carey, whose partner gave birth to their firstborn - but it is testament to the process that all participants left with a feeling that their game had improved, and that they had learned valuable skills from attending Workshops, conversing with the Black Belt Poker sponsored pros, and engaging in sweat sessions with their fellow Graders. We'd like to thank everyone who embraced the process, and we very much look forward to you becoming a prominent member of the site.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Werrrrd Up; Drew Wins League VII

People cried salt tears when X-Factor drew to a close; they twiddled their thumbs when the final whistle was blown on the World Cup; and they sighed begrudgingly when the November Nine was no more. All good things must come to an end, and so it was with great chagrin that we entered into our final Leg of League VII, an epic eight-week encounter which saw a total of 192 poker fanatics do battle across the virtual felt in a bid to capture the game's most illustrious prize: a Black Belt Poker League title.

In the end, only one man could enter the Christmas period with that prestigious honour, and that man was Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew. A Grader and long-time community member, Tom dominated proceedings from as early as Leg 2, only conceding the top spot temporarily to Blue Belt Kevin Williams on Week 5. Heading into the final Leg, however, Tom boasted a commanding lead, and only a slip-up, along with a strong showing from the rest of the pack, would potentially see the sands of victory seep through the palms of his hands. Of course, Tom remained vigilant, and pulled out a 20th place finish to vanquish any doubt.

Despite Tom's destined triumph, there was still plenty to play for in Leg 8 as Black Belt Poker completed a hattrick of Academy bonuses thanks to Steve Rigby, who had kindly vacated his ticket in order to deliver one lucky punter an early Christmas present. After fending off 62 other fierce competitors (a credible turnout to say the least), it was Mark 'SebastianKat' Cooper who snapped up the added value, as well as the $100.81 first prize.

1st SebastianKat -- $100.81
2nd S0lution -- $69.30
3rd SurrealKiller -- $42.52
4th Brewski1 -- $31.50
5th ZoeRiZZ0 -- $23.62
6th insider66666 -- $18.90
7th cikarang5 -- $15.75
8th russellhansen -- $12.60

As a result of his fourth place finish, Dean 'Brewski1' Brewer snuck into second in front of Simon 'ourkidsid' Hollick who finished 27th, whilst Kevish47 slipped down to fourth having only managed 44th. As 'Mr. Consistent' Lee '4kingdonktard' Neary held onto sixth place with considerable ease, we had a last-ditch entry into the 'prize zone', former Champion Mark 'russelhansen' Brassington creeping into 10th with yet another final table finish.

1st Werrrrd (640 points) -- Party Package & DeucesCracked Token
2nd Brewski1 (591 points) -- 1,000 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
3rd ourkidsid (571 points) -- 850 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
4th Kevish47 (552 points) -- 750 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
5th losbert40 (549 points) -- 600 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
6th 4kingdonktard (525 points) -- 500 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
7th RedKiteBlackBelt (516 points) -- 400 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
8th UsainZeus88 (512 points) -- 300 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
9th JHobbit1 (489 points) -- 200 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token
10th russellhansen (483 points) -- 100 Belt Points & DeucesCracked Token

Of course, the 'one in, one out' rule applied, and the man to be stopped at the door and sent home for wearing trainers was Ian 'mbdnr235' Grieve, his disappointing 58th place finish on the final Leg meaning he, sadly, and as Anne Robinson would say, "goes home with nothing." But poker's a cruel game, and perhaps the lowest blow was in fact dealt to Alan 'tealcSVU' Steer who, despite a solid set of results, and a 17th place finish at the death, bubbled the top 10 just 13 points shy.

11th tealcSVU (17) -- 470 points
12th mbdnr235 (58) -- 469 points
=13th blackbeltninja -- 460 points
=13th rattersbrfc -- 460 points
15th 300300299 -- 446 points
16th 99Ranny -- 444 points
17th ACarey -- 438 points
18th UKPB -- 432 points
19th 5upern0vae -- 425 points
20th sceaga2 -- 424 points

As always, the Mulligan reared its head 60 minutes later, this deep-stacked bonanza offering League casualties the perfect opportunity to claw some of their losses back, whilst providing a competitive, well-structured tournament for them to get their teeth into. Sharpening his gnashers this week was reigning League Champion 'Mark 99Ranny' Ranson, a perhaps fitting victor for the final outing of the season.

1st 99Ranny -- $142.50
2nd bh0yw0nder -- $85.50
3rd mbdnr235 -- $57.00

Meanwhile, in the Donkament, it was a fairtytale performance from Patrick 'course00' Scott; he sought entry via a token, and spent zero on rebuys, meaning that victory came absolutely free.

1st course00 -- $31.75
2nd Werrrrd -- $19.05
3rd JHobbit1 -- $12.70

And so, on that Donkamenting note, we check out for another League venture, and bid you a fond farewell. But out parting is only short-term, as League VIII will soon be on the horizon, and the war of the felt will commence once more. Before then, we'd like to take the opportunity to thank all who took part, and in particular offer our congratulations to League VII Champion Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew. He'll be joining Neil Channing, Richard Ashby, and the rest of the Black Belt Poker sponsored team at the Black Belt Poker Christmas Party, as well as participating in a £1,500 SNG freeroll. Oh, and of course, he becomes the proud member of a very exclusive list…

League I: Adam Saunders
League II: Mark Brassington
League III: David Meunier
League IV: Andy Brisland
League V: Trevor Myers
League VI: Mark Ranson
League VII: Tom Drew

Merry Christmas all. Feel free to give us a spin during the festive period.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Grading III - The Finishing Line

At the beginning of the month, snow fell heavily over parts of the UK, including London. The downfall disabled parts of the transport network and many people were forced to stay indoors - probably drinking lots of tea and hot chocolate as reportedly there was a shortage of milk in some areas! For some “hardened souls” - as Neil Channing described them - however, the snow was nothing more than a mere blip as they brushed aside Mother Nature to attend the final Grading III Workshop on Thursday, December 2.

24 graders (the Aussie Two-4) were originally hand-selected to partake in the six-week course, which started on November 1. With 10 days to go until the end, there were less than 15 warriors left standing. Enlightenment Sensei Rob Jarrett-Smith said all of the remaining Graders were still in with a shout of proving they deserve one of the three £10,000 packages up for grabs. The three winners will each get an all-expenses paid trip to fly Down Under and play in the 2011 Aussie Millions in Melbourne next month.

During the Workshop, Neil ran through the hands from a Grader-exclusive MTT. Following that were presentations from Richard Dally, Vincent Diver and Adam Stoneham respectively. Although gruelling, many of the Graders admit that the entire process has helped to improve their game and encouraged them to consider things on a much deeper level.

Neil and CEO Warren Wooldridge also took the opportunity to thank the Graders for their efforts and told them not to be disheartened even if they aren't selected for the package. Two players who have benefited from the Grading process are Blue Belts Jamie Burland (2010 UKIPT Brighton Champion) and Kevin Williams (Academy and Poker in the Park speaker/mentor), both of whom fell just short of the Irish Open Package in Grading II. Despite that, they are both currently enjoying success at the felt and are among some our most active community members.

With the finishing line in sight, many of the Graders were in a frantic race to complete the required number of hands before the deadline at 11:59pm on Sunday, December 12. To be in contention for one of the three Brown Belt packages, players will need to have completed 50,000 / 40,000 / 31,250 hands of full-ring / six-max / heads-up. The decision on who will be picked to represent Black Belt Poker in Australia will be made tomorrow, Wednesday, December 15. If you haven't already chewed them all off, keep some of your nails in tact, because the results will be announced the following day.

Here is a short video of the final Grading III workshop. Thank you to everyone that spared some time over the six-week period to chat to me.

for video.

Monday, 13 December 2010

MTT Leaderboard - Video Commentary

After launching in November, the MTT Leaderboard promotion has returned for December as players across the iPoker network do battle over the tournament felt for another four weeks.

Although we're teetering on the edge of mid-month, and quickly heading towards that festive period, it's not too late for you to mount a challenge on December's Leaderboard, and even snap up that top spot. With only the top 20 results taken into account, there is still plenty of time for you to rack up some deep finishes.

One man who enjoyed a 'deep finish' last month was Blue Belt and Enlightenment Sensei Gavin 'TFMonty007' Hall. In the $6,500 Guaranteed $100 Deepstack, Gavin made the final table, thus securing himself some vital points for the Leaderboard.

Having made the final, Gavin decided to make a two-part video, showcasing his thoughts and emotions as the final progressed, including a little 'loose' language during the occasional gut-wrenching moment.

View videos here

The MTT Leaderboard is a high value opportunity for all MTT players to get their hands on some free money. A total of 500 players will receive a prize by the end of the year, so just playing the occasional tournament could see you win a freeroll entry, or more.

There's only one way to take advantage of this offer, and that's to register for some tournaments and see how it goes. If you're new to Black Belt Poker, then opening an account couldn't be easier. Simply download the software and follow the step-by-step process provided.

If you have any comments regarding the hands or situations featured in Gavin's video, then please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments' box below.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Shaw Shot; sceaga2 Makes It a Double

The penultimate Leg of League VII hit Black Belt Poker shores last night as 76 poker fanatics went to war on the battlefield of the baize, all mustard keen to make a last dash for League glory. As with last week, Black Belt Poker were adding a little flavour to the event, throwing in a free Academy seat with first place joining Leg 6 winner Lee 'themackem1968' Harrison at the Fox Poker Club this Saturday for another day of intense poker mentoring.

That lucky man was none other than former Grader Mike 'sceaga2' Shaw, who became the first player this season to win two Legs after victory in Leg 2 a few weeks ago. This time, he won $114.00, and defeated a tough field that included Neil Channing (47th), themackem1968 (40th) and reigning League Champion 99Ranny (37th) to complete an incredible double. Also breaking into the top 10 was League I Champion Adam 'JHobbit1' Saunders, who was playing in his second consecutive final after a 10th place finish last week.

1st sceaga2 -- $114.00
2nd blackbeltninja -- $76.00
3rd CroadYuk -- $47.50
4th stevegw -- $36.10
5th losbert40 -- $28.50
6th JHobbit1 -- $22.80
7th IHateKevinD -- $19.00
8th Heppo321 -- $15.20
9th tealcSVU -- $11.40
10th ourkidsid -- $9.50

Despite setting a season record, sceaga2 was only able to climb up to 21st place on the leader board, the bigget smile being worn by 20th placed Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew as he extended his lead at the top to 62 points after his closest competitor, Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams, could only muster a 39th place finish.

1st Werrrrd -- 596 points
2nd ourkidsid -- 534 points
3rd Kevish47 -- 532 points
4th losbert40 -- 523 points
5th Brewski1 -- 519 points
6th 4kingdonktard -- 485 points
7th JHobbit1 -- 480 points
8th RedKiteBlackBelt -- 477 points
9th mbdnr235 -- 463 points
10th UsainZeus88 -- 455 points

With just one leg remaining, only four players can catch Werrrrd, Simon 'ourkidsid' Herrick the most likely after slipping into second. However, there are still plenty of prizes still up for grabs with DeucesCracked tokens for the top 10, as well as Belt Points. Here are the players who will most likely be competing for one of those spots come Leg 8.

11th ACarey -- 434 points
12th UKPB -- 432 points
13th rattersbrfc -- 429 points
14th 300300299 -- 424 points
15th russellhansen -- 423 points
16th tealcSVU -- 423 points
17th blackbeltninja -- 419 points
18th StilettoMafiosa -- 411 points
19th Elysiumjay -- 398 points
20th 99Ranny -- 395 points

The Mulligan was once again hostly contested, mark 'thekernell1' Robson picking up the $186.00 first prize. Blue Belts Simon 'AlwaysMissing' Mairs, Jamie 'StilettoMafiosa' Burland, and Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams all participated, but only the latter cashed.

31, Mairs, Burland, Kevish
1st Thekernell1 -- $186.00
2nd galfano76 -- $116.25
3rd UsainZeus88
4th UliKoko -- $51.15
5th Kevish47 -- $37.20

Martin 'KGB386' Taylor won the Donkament, completing the feat with just two rebuys.

1st KGB386 -- $23.75
2nd bbpjimjam -- $14.25
3rd galfano76 -- $9.50

Only a select few can reap the rewards of the League prizes in next Tuesday's concluding Leg, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't stop by for a visit. Your presence alone will help make the League race more exciting, simply because the points allocated to each Leg winner is dependent on the number of runners. Also, sceaga2 bought into this week's Leg with a Black Belt Poker token, meaning that he turned his points into a whopping $114.00. You could do the same. Just sign into your community account, hit 'store', and we'll see you on the final table next week.

Wanna play? It's easy - simply open an account, make a deposit and register for the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments > Black Belt League VII.

League VII: Party With the Pros
Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag
Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2
Alder Locks in Leg 3
Hole in One; adygolf Sinks Leg 4
Blue Tuesday; Kevish47 Wins Leg 5
Mackem Whacks 'Em in Leg 6

Mackem Whacks 'Em in Leg 6

With Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams and Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew running rampant at the top of the table, it would appear as though League VII is becoming a two-horse race. Yet, despite their dominance, a more-than-respectable 84 dipped into their 'rolls for Leg 6, with even head honcho Neil Channing stopping by for a visit. The dangling-carrot for the majority of the field? A free ticket to the next Black Belt Poker Academy added to first prize.

After a back-and-forth battle, and a display of the usual high, competitive standard that has become synonymous with League matches, it was Lee 'themackem1968' Mackem who joined this season's illustrious list, his triumph netting him $126 in spondoolies, as well as the aforementioned orange vegetable.

The final table was rife with talent, and in particular Nigel 'bizmarrrk' Clifford and Richard 'nakgeela' Dally, both of whom were making their second consecutive final table with the latter finishing in exactly the same position before. The runner-up spot went to Blue Jamie 'StilettoMafioso' Burland, fresh off his near final table miss in the GUKPT Grand Final.

1st themackem1968 -- $126.00
2nd StilettoMafioso -- $84.00
3rd UsainZeus88 -- $52.50
4th makiwara -- $39.90
5th runningape -- $31.50
6th nakgeela4 -- $25.20
7th Werrrrd -- $21.00
8th russellhansen -- $16.80
9th bizmarkkk -- $12.60
10th JHobbit1 -- $10.50

With Werrrrd adding yet another final table notch to his poker post, and Kevish47 dropping in a disappointing 71st, it's the former who regains the top spot, his 539 points now 45 points ahead of the Blue Belt pro. In other news, the top 10 remain relatively unchanged, with the only movements including the consistent-as-ever Lee '4kingdonktard' Neary's one-rung climb to fifth, and inaugural League winner Adam 'JHobbit1' Saunders' appearance in tenth.

1st Werrrrd -- 539 points
2nd Kevish47 -- 494 points
3rd ourkidsid -- 466 points
4th Brewski1 -- 457 points
5th 4kingdonktard -- 449 points
6th losbert40 -- 441 points
7th mbdnr235 -- 430 points
8th UKPB -- 420 points
9th RedKiteBlackBelt -- 417 points
10th JHobbit1 -- 401 points

The Mulligan an hour later was hotly contested. Neil Channing returning for another crack, along with reigning League Champion Mark '99Ranny' Ranson and Jason 'jas0nherbert', Herbert, the latter having recently finishing second in the WPT Chilipoker Marrakech Festival after qualifying via Black Belt Poker. The winner? Grader Paul 'xxM3boyxx' Garnham.

1st xxM3boyxx -- $187.50
2nd StilettoMafiosa -- $112.50
3rd kylemilne89 -- $75.00

16 participated in the Donkament, including Graders Adam 'andalav' Unwin and Sam 'KODDZILLA' Razavi, but it was Jamal 'bbpjimjam' El-Shetob who struck gold.

1st bbpjimjam -- $24.75
2nd Werrrrd -- $14.85
3rd Kevish47 -- $9.90

Black Belt Poker are constantly looking at ways to offer extra value to our players - if only to thank them for their loyalty - and Super Tuesday was no different. The good news is that we'll be honouring that very same offer next week, meaning that the Leg 7 winner will be joining Lee Mackem and the Orange Belt Freeroll qualifiers at the next Academy at the Fox Poker Club in London. So, even if you haven't played a single League Leg before, it's not too late to get your hands dirty and take advantage of the benefits on offer.

Wanna play? It's easy - simply open an account, make a deposit and register for the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments > Black Belt League VII.

League VII: Party With the Pros
Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag
Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2
Alder Locks in Leg 3
Hole in One; adygolf Sinks Leg 4
Blue Tuesday; Kevish47 Wins Leg 5

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Chufty Debuts New Blog

Black Belt Poker is rife with blogs from both community members and sponsored pros alike, but earlier today, they were joined by Black Belt Poker's latest recruit, Richard Ashby.

In a brutally honest and revealing account, Richard gives an overview of the last 12 months, highlighting the extremes highs and lows of a high stakes pro. His main focus, however, is centred on his dramatic experience at the Aussie Millions in January, a tournament which he finalled only a year prior.

"In retrospect, I probably arrived in Melbourne with a little too much swagger," he reflects before later confessing: "When the dust finally settled, I checked my balance and it was less than $100,000. I’d managed a $1.1 million downswing in about 10 hours."

Despite his regrets, Richard is looking forward to his new role at Black Belt Poker, and the chance to play alongside the Black Belt Poker team: "This time I’ll be with a group of young and dynamic Black Belt Poker players," he reports. "Neil Channing is also coming."

"It’ll be a new experience being part of a team,"
he continued. "I’ll be on hand to offer the Black Belt pros advice on who to play, who not to play, and who to stay on the right side of."

An Omaha specialist from Watford, Richard won his first bracelet this summer in Vegas when he took down the $1,500 Seven Card-Stud event for $140,467. Two weeks later, he finished second in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship for a further $378,027. In September, Richard won the award for 'Best All Round Player' at the British Poker Awards, an event which also saw fellow Black Belt Poker sponsored pro Neil Channing win the award for 'Best Cash Player'.

Perhaps Richard's most impressive achievement is the mountains he has climbed at the virtual felt, playing some of the largest stakes available online and quickly becoming known as one of the world's most prolific Pot Limit Omaha players. He has played, and beaten, some of the best players in the world. Only last month, he won his first WCOOP title when he triumphed in the $2,100 event for $185,760.

'Putting My Foot in It' is Richard's debut blog entry, but the 2010 bracelet-winner will be blogging regularly for the site, so be sure to keep checking our blogs section for future updates. Black Belt Poker boast numerous bloggers including 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing, 'Voice of Poker' Jesse May, and 2010 Irish Open Champion 'James Mitchell'.

To read today's blog in its entirety, click here.

Free Academy Seat in Tonight's League!

This Super Tuesday, Black Belt Poker are going value crazy by adding a free seat to the next Black Belt Poker/Bluff Europe Academy to the first prize of tonight's League event.

The next Academy is scheduled for December 11 at the Fox Poker Club in London with Alex Rousso and Neil Channing being joined by former GUKPT Champion and Omaha specialist Jerome Bradpiece. The topic for the event is 'Accumulating Chips in Tournaments: The Bubble & Final Table'.

Each ticket is worth £150, but commencing tonight, at 7.30pm, we're giving you the opportunity to snag your seat absolutely free! All you've got to do is start the Black Belt Poker client, locate the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments > Black Belt League VII, and click 'register'.

With three legs remaining, its Blue Belt Kevin Williams who tops the League Standings after victory in Leg 5 last week. Hot on his tail is Grader Tom 'Werrrd' Drew, whilst League regular Simon 'ourkidsid' Herrick sits in third. Also in the top 10 is Enlightenment Sensei Simon 'AlwaysMissing' Mairs.

As always, Black Belt Poker will be hosting our other Super Tuesday events: the Mulligan (8.30pm) and Donkament (9.30), as well Challenge Channing from 7.30pm. If you fancy emptying the 2008 Irish Open Champion's pockets at a spot of full-ring $0.25/0.50 cash, now is your chance.

For further details on December's Academy, including full schedule and methods of payment, please click here.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Orange Belt Freeroll - Tonight!

Calling all Orange Belts. The Black Belt Poker bus is making its next stop in Valuetown with our monthly Orange Belt Freeroll. Kicking off tonight, at 8pm, on the Black Belt Poker cardroom, we're giving away two seats into the next Academy, absolutely free! These seats are guaranteed, so no matter how big the field, two Orange Belt players will be taking advantage of what is a great value event!

For the first time to date, the Black Belt Poker/Bluff Europe Academy will be ambushing the newly licensed Fox Poker Club in London for another day of poker mentoring. Accompanying host and Bluff Europe columnist Alex Rousso will be 2010 Luton GUKPT Champion Neil Channing, as well as a debuting Jerome Bradpiece.

A Brown Belt on Black Belt Poker since winning the inaugural Grading back in 2009, Jerome Bradpiece is a full-time poker pro from London who specialises in Omaha, and is a regular winner in the mid-stakes cash games on iPoker. He has also played numerous Hold'em tournaments across the country and is a former GUKPT Champion having won the Walsall leg of Season 1 for £121,600. He also made the final of the Amsterdam Classics just a few months prior.

The topic for the Academy is 'Accumulating Chips in Tournaments: The Bubble & Final Table' and the schedule is as follows:

12.30pm - Introductions
12.45pm - Bubble dynamics – bubble and late tournament concepts
1.15pm - Workshop – the bubble
2.00pm - Break – sandwiches
2.15pm - Bubble abuse – stack sizes and weak spots
2.45pm - Workshop – after the bubble breaks
3.30pm - Video – WSOP ME hand analysis – chip utility theory
4.00pm - Break
4.15pm - Hand history analysis – bubble and final table situations
4.45pm - Workshop – the final table
5.30pm - Final table dynamics – open workshop
6.30pm - Seminar ends

At 7pm, Academy attendees have the option of competing for a last-longer in the Fox Poker Club's £30+5 freezeout. Regardless of position, the last attendee standing will receive a free ticket for a subsequent Academy of their choosing!

If you are unable to qualify from the freeroll, or are ineligible to play, then you can still attend the Academy by sending a cheque for £150 to Black Belt Poker Limited, The Rotunda, 42/3 Gloucester Crescent, London, NW1 7DL. Alternatively, you can pay via online bank transfer or through the Black Belt Poker cardroom. If you wish to pay via either of these methods, then please email for further details.

There are only 30 seats available, so be quick to ensure that you secure your seat at the Academy. To participate in the Orange Belt Freeroll, simply download the poker client and locate the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments > BBP Orange Belt Academy FR.

Good luck!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Marra-cash for BBP Qualifier

Recent murmurings have hinted at the magical powers of the Black Belt Poker badge, and this month it would appear as though those rumours are indeed true. Despite my cynicism of its mystical prowess, the Black Belt Poker logo has been running rampant through the poker world with Neil Channing winning the Luton GUKPT, Richard Ashby a WCOOP, and Nik Persaud the World Heads-Up. Even Owen Robinson utilised its formidable powers to bring home two titles back from the Irish Poker Awards!

However, this month has revealed that its powers aren't confined to the Black Belt Poker team, as exhibit one, Jason Herbert, proves. Since being given the badge by Neil Channing a few weeks ago, Jason has run amok amid the tournament circuit, chopping the Irish Winter Festival in Dublin, winning a satellite into the GUKPT Blackpool Main Event, and cashing in the DTD Deepstack for November. Then, last weekend, he capped off a series of impressive results with a second place finish in the €500 Deepstack Open (part of the WPT Chilipoker Marrakech Festival) at the Casino de Marrakech in Morocco for a whopping 289,000 Dirham (£21,938, according to our good friends at!

A 39-year old (although creeping up to 40 this December) semi-pro from Scunthorpe, Jason is a satellite specialist who has qualified for no fewer than 20 big events, cashing in over half of them to give himself an ROI that would make even Phil Ivey weep. Recently, he signed up to Black Belt Poker and decided to give one of our satellites a crack. Shortly after, he was on a flight to Morocco to battle it out against 420 other hopefuls for a prize pool of just under €200,000.

"I am not a sponsored player at Black Belt Poker," confirmed Jason, "more of a friend of the site, and I particularly have a lot of time and respect for Neil Channing for everything he does and gives back to poker."

"I was warned of the poor standard of play by several French players," he recalled, "so I played ABC poker throughout and only came across half a dozen people in the entire tournament who were above an average standard. Most were there to bluff and gamble, so I just waited for cards."

Although Jason's journey to heads-up was a relatively comfortable affair, he did encounter one major scare, pushing A-9 on the button and running into A-A in the big blind. Fortunately, Jason made a straight, and it seemed like the title had his name already etched in gold. However, with just one final hurdle to jump, it wasn't to be, Jason snapping up the runner-up spot when he moved all in with J-9 on a Q-J-T flop before failing to improve against J-T for two pair.

"The Swede [Henrik Granlund] had his fair share of luck on the final," he claimed. "He rivered a king with K-K versus A-A, a deuce with 2-2 v J-J, and runner-runner to make a straight with another. I guess it was just his day. At least I've saved my 'one time' for heads-up in an EPT or WSOP event."

Jason was playing regularly at his local casinos a year or two back, but within the space of 18 months, he went from having no kids, to having three young boys, and his time for poker became severely limited. However, his success in the few tournaments he does play has enabled him to purchase a shiny new Porsche, and his lucrative trip to Marrakesh means he is now eyeing up various events on the EPT circuit.

"I spend a lot of time looking after my family so only play twice a month. I used to play five nights a week for about ten years, driving up and down the M62 grinding rebuys and playing dealer's-choice if the comp came to a premature end. This all stopped when the twins came along but I don't have any regrets and much prefer playing bigger buy-in events with more play."

It would seem as though there is no stopping the Black Belt Poker badge at the moment, and with the GUKPT Grand Final (click here to view the live feed) kicking off today at the Grosvenor Victoria, it could be making yet another final table.

1st Henrik Granlund (Sweden) -- €39,897
2nd Jason Herbert (England) -- €24,936
3rd Najib Bennis (Morocco) -- €17,954
4th Othman Bangeloun (France) -- €13,963
5th Ronan Monfort (France) -- €9,974
6th Mauro Biancifiori (Italy) -- €7,979
7th Fouad Mouhajir (Morocco) -- €5,984
8th Roger Hairabedian (France)-- €3,491
9th Kevin Noblat (France) -- €2,991
10th Amine Lakhsassi (Morocco) -- €2,493

If you would like follow in the footsteps of Jason, and qualify for a major event, then make sure you check out all the satellites on offer at Black Belt Poker. To open an account is easy: just download the poker client and follow the simple step-by-step process provided.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Blue Tuesday; Kevish47 Wins Leg 5

Life at the top can be thrilling at first, but ultimately fraught with danger and constantly hanging by the thinnest of threads. Such was the experience for Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew, who despite a seemingly convincing lead was finally surpassed last night by Kevin Williams. A Blue Belt and Black Belt Poker sponsored pro since Grading II, Kevin bettered an 82-thick field to bring home $123 worth of bacon and form a lead of 25 points with just three Legs to go.

As expected, Kevin faced a formidable crowd with all the usual suspects present, as well as a smattering of Graders including Adam 'ACarey' Carey, Paul 'xxM3boyxx' Garnham, and Adam 'andalav' Unwin, the latter an experienced MTT player who boasts well over six figures in tournament winnings. Also taking a stab were our previous Leg winners - adygolf (28th), PKRLocke (44th), Sceage2 (74th), and KidDonut (81st) - as well as reigning League Champion, Mark '99Ranny' Ranson, who just missed out in 13th.

After Grader Shaz '5upern0vae' Roberts and Richard 'CHUFTY11' Ashby bubble-bubbled and bubbled respectively, the final table was set with a host of familiar names such as Grader Richard 'nakgeela4' Dally and Purple Belt Ian 'mbdnr235' Grieve all taking their seat. However, in the end, it was Kevin who struck gold, toppling Gary 'browndog0' Brown heads-up to snap up his first Leg so far.

1st Kevish47 -- $123
2nd browndog0 -- $82.00
3rd Sassytw9 -- $51.25
4th Brewski1 -- $38.95
5th bizmarkkk -- $30.75
6th nakgeela4 -- $24.60
7th mbdnr235 -- $20.50
8th bbpjimjam -- $16.40
9th 300300299 -- $12.30
10th ourkidsid -- $10.25

Due to a combination of Werrrrd's disappointing (by his high standards) 51st place finish, and Kevin's triumphant showing, the latter is now the man to beat as a tough chasing pack set their sights on Leg 6. Meanwhile, the teens are becoming Champion heavy with Adam 'JHobbit' Saunders (15th) and Mark 'russellhansen' Brassington (17th) both looking to make a late dash for the title, and a subsequent invitation to the Black Belt Poker Christmas booze-up.

1st Kevish47 -- 480 points
2nd Werrrrd -- 455 points
3rd ourkidsid -- 414 points
4th Brewski -- 410 points
5th losbert40 -- 396 points
6th 4kingdonktard -- 388 points
7th mbdnr235 -- 366 points
8th ACarey -- 363 points
9th RedKiteBlackBelt -- 352 points
10th AlwaysMissing -- 351 points
11th UKPB -- 348 points
15th JHobbit -- 325 points
17th russellhansen -- 318 points

Werrrrd's crown may have been temporarily dislodged, but the blow was cushioned by victory in the Donkament, a tournament which, coincidentally, saw Kevish47 scoop the wooden spoon in 21st. Glory was bittersweet for Werrrrd, however, as he obliterated this year's rebuy record with a commendable 20 rebuys, meaning that a top two finish was a must if he were to shut down his computer in profit.

1st Werrrrd -- $23.75
2nd KGB386 -- $14.25
3rd insider66666 -- $9.50

An hour earlier, the Mulligan was met by a 30-thick field, the biggest smile being left on the face of League finalist Nigel 'bizmarkkk' Clifford who lapped up a sumptuous $225.000 in prize winnings.

1st bizmarkkk -- $225.00
2nd mutesuperstar -- $135.00
3rd ZoeRiZZ0 -- $90.00

As this week has shown, there's still plenty to play for, and first prize is still up for grabs for many of League VII's participants. Even if you're struggling, don't forget that the top 10 all receive Belt Points, as well as a free subscription to DeucesCracked. So, with that in mind, make sure you join us next week for another bout of Super Tuesday festivity.

League VII: Party With the Pros
Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag
Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2
Alder Locks in Leg 3
Hole in One; adygolf Sinks Leg 4

Nik Persaud Wins First Title

Earlier this evening, Black Belt Poker co-founder Nik Persaud became the 2010 World Heads-Up Poker Champion, conquering runner-up Leon Louis in the final to take home a first prize of £30,000.

The final hand saw all the chips fly in on a 6-7-4 one diamond flop, Nik looking to improve with 9-8 of diamonds against his foe's 5-5. The turn and river came 6 and 7 to counterfeit Louis' pocket pair, and although he didn't realise it at first, the title went to Nik whilst Louis was forced to settle for second place and a £15,000 payday.

Accompanied by a £2,000+200 price tag, the World Heads-Up Poker Championship isn't for the faint of heart, and, in all, 28 took their seat at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino on Edgware Road. Despite the thin field, Nik was faced with a tough route to the final that included Pietro Conti, Guillaume de la Gorce, and Vic starlett Vicky Coren.

Perhaps Nik's highest hurdle, however, was good friend Toby Lewis in the semi-final. After the event, Nik commented: "Playing Toby was really tough because we know each other's game so well. It's really easy to level yourself when you start thinking, 'He knows that I know that he knows.'"

With friendships temporarily brushed aside, Nik rose triumphant to advance to the final. But defeat will have been somewhat cushioned for Lewis, as he won Friday's $60,000 guaranteed tournament on Black Belt Poker for £12,741.79, once again proving what an incredible talent he is in UK poker.

A Brown Belt at Black Belt Poker, Nik boasts a long string of results including multiple GUKPT finals, cashes in the Irish Open and WSOP Main Events, as well as a final table appearance in the European Open III in 2006. However, and despite his record, today marked Nik's first major title to date.

"I'm really pleased to have won a title," added Nik. "There were some great players in there, so it feels good to have won, especially in a format which I've been playing a lot of. It's also great for Black Belt Poker, and hopefully shows what a great team spirit we have. It spurs you on when you see everyone else doing so well."

2010 has been a highly successful year for Black Belt Poker's sponsored pros with Neil Channing winning the Luton GUKPT and Richard Ashby bringing home a bracelet from Vegas. If the trophy cupboard wasn't crowded enough, Blue Belt Jamie Burland lapped up the Brighton UKIPT, whilst former Graders James Mitchell (Irish Open) and Toby Lewis (EPT Vilamoura) also shone. Now, Nik Persaud can add his name to that list.

The World Heads-Up Championship is just one segment of the GUKPT pie as the Grand Final fireworks look set to explode this weekend with the £2,500+125 Main Event scheduled to kick-off this Thursday with Day 1A. As usual, the Black Belt Poker sponsored pros will be present and keen to add to the achievements of Nik and ensure that the Black Belt Poker Christmas Party is one to remember.

Black Belt Poker give away tens of thousands in live backing every month, and you too could join the team if you are able to scale the ranks to Blue Belt. In doing so, you will also become embraced by our Enlightenment Training Programme and have the unique opportunity of learning from our team of sponsored pros. You can also attend our next Academy, scheduled for Saturday, December 11 at the newly launched Fox Poker Club in London. Who knows, maybe you could become the next Black Belt pro to bring home silverware.

Hole in One; adygolf Sinks Leg 4

League VII
has lured a number of MTT players onto Black Belt shores, and Leg 4 once again showed that some newcomers are not to be messed with. On this occasion, the unfamiliar face belonged to Adrian 'adygolf' Harris, who having only signed up last month, has already proved his worth at the MTT felt by snapping up the League's fourth outing for $141.00

It was far from an easy ride for Adrian as a commendable 94 players took their virtual seat, despite Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew's commanding lead at the top. Plenty of pros took a punt, but many fell short as Richard 'CHUFTY11' Ashby (80th), Robert '7Enygma7' Jarrett-Smith (63rd) and Owen 'Ruaction' Robinson (60th) slipped away early doors, whilst Blue Belt Gavin 'TFMonty007' Hall had the unenviable task of collecting the wooden spoon.

NeilChanning did well in 29th, as did Grader and hit-and-run specialist Joe 'JustinBieber' Roberts and former Champion Andy 'RedKiteBlackBelt' Brisland in 13th and 15th respectively, but it was the Blue Belts who shone brightest, Jamie 'StilettoMafiosa' Burland, Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams and Simon 'AlwaysMissing' Mairs all making the final table and further showcasing why they are Black Belt sponsored pros.

1st adygolf -- $141.00
2nd AlwaysMissing -- $94.00
3rd browndog0 -- $58.75
4th 4kingdonktard -- $44.65
5th AMANESS13 - $35.25
6th BoatDrink -- $28.20
7th UKPB -- $23.50
8th Kevish47 -- $18.80
9th makiwara -- $14.10
10th StilettoMafisoa -- $11.75

The first name below that list was Werrrrd, and although he bubbled, he can take solace in the fact that he has a 50-points lead at the top and is the odds-on favourite to be joining Neil, Richard and the rest of the Black Belt Poker team at the Christmas party. The top 10 are a rather eclectic bunch, with Belts Yellow to Blue all represented, whilst even Brown Belt 7Enygma7 isn't too far off the pace in 18th.

1st Werrrrd -- 423 points
2nd Kevish47 -- 373 points
3rd ACarey -- 355 points
4th losbert40 -- 345 points
5th ourkidsid -- 340 points
6th 4kingdonktard -- 332 points
7th UKPB -- 320 points
8th Brewski1 -- 319 points
9th RedKiteBlackBelt -- 317 points
10th Sparklett -- 311 points

It was good to see a healthy 29 players in the Mulligan, the result of which created an equally healthy $217.50 first prize. Those crazy dimes were snapped up by Malcolm 'lionrampant27' Sievwright who toppled tealcSVU heads-up.

1st lionrampant27 -- $217.50
2nd tealcSVU -- $130.50
3rd russelhansen -- $87.00

Adam 'JHobbit1' Saunders bubbled the Mulligan, but he crept into the money in the 33-thick Donkament an hour later, a tournament that was ultimately won by JosseWales. The real winner, however, was Neil Channing, who broke the rebuy record with an impressive 12 rebuys. Stirling work, sir.

1st JosseWales -- $22.40
2nd KGB386 -- $14.00
3rd bbpjimjam -- $8.96
4th BoatDrink -- $6.16
5th JHobbit1 -- $4.48

The Black Belt Poker League be back next week for the halfway point, Leg 5, so make sure you join us. Wanna play? It's easy - simply open an account, make a deposit and register for the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments > Black Belt League VII.

League VII: Party With the Pros
Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag
Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2
Alder Locks in Leg 3

'Gambling Online' Interview Neil Channing

Never one to shy away from a chat, Black Belt Poker's head honcho Neil Channing was back in the limelight recently when he became the latest target of popular website and publication Gambling Online Magazine. Following the likes of Sam Trickett, Tom Dwan, and even ex-Boyzoner Shane Lynch into the hot seat, Neil was ambushed with an array of questions ranging from how he got started in poker to his recent excursions on the tournament circuit.

The chosen location for the interview was the Grosvenor Victoria on Edgware Road, Neil's 'home away from home', and when questioned about his hectic schedule, Neil replied:

"My one regret would be that I'm not getting quite enough time to play poker. I can often go a week or 10 days without having a win and, well, that's miserable, walking around being a loser for a week, so, yeah, it's kind of harder to adapt. In 2007 I pretty much moved in here. There was actually, literally, a time when I didn't come in for three days and someone came round my house to see if I was ill."

After delving back into his poker history, Neil moved onto his recent cash at the World Series of Poker Europe where he was, ironically, staked into the heads-up event. Despite the field being packed with young Internet specialists, Neil managed to beat an impressive line-up - of which included online titan Chris Moorman - before being eliminated at the quarter final stage for £47,045, just two steps away from his first ever bracelet. Speaking about his clash with Gus Hansen, Neil regaled:

"I was tired by the time I got knocked out. I played two matches against [Chris] Moorman and McClean [Karr] and then had to go straight into an 11pm match against Gus Hansen having had like a 15 minute break. And basically got mashed by Gus really. We were joking during the thing that when they interview you afterwards, if the person you played against is terrible, you should say, 'He took interesting lines in one or two tricky spots.' He chose to go for the other one, which was to say, 'You were just unlucky, I had a load of big hands,' which I know, as an old cash grinder, is what you always say when some mug has lost all their money and you're keen for them to come back again."

Neil is well known for his relationship with, and support of, some of the country's young and up-and-coming pros (Neil had a percentage of James Akenhead, for example, in the 2009 WSOP Main Event), and is one of few 'veterans' to have acknowledged the potential of the fresh talent. After critisicing the usual response of some of the game's 'dinosaurs', Neil added:

"These kids are brilliant. Training videos are one of the best ways to learn poker and these people are eating and drinking that stuff. They're reading some really good stuff… People are linking up a lot more and sharing the information. When I started playing, just finding another person that was under the age of 30 to talk about poker with was pretty hard to do."

In this three-part interview, Neil goes on to discuss various other subjects, such as his profile, cash versus tournaments, side bets and Black Belt Poker, including the recently-launched Enlightenment Training Programme and the benefits of being part of a team. If you would like to hear more, and view the complete interview, then simply click play on the videos below.

Click for interview.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Alder Lockes in Leg 3

Super Tuesday
once again returned to our monitors last night as 99 poker athletes stepped into the starting blocks and braced themselves for an explosive sprint to League glory. As expected, a number of familiar names remained glued to the start line, whilst the ironically named 'runninggape' fell at the final hurdle to bubble in 11th.

The final table featured an all-star cast that included three-time DTD Monthly Freezout finalist Andriena Nutt, reigning Champion Mark '99Ranny' Ranson and Purple Belt Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew (the latter of whom took the middle block of the podium), but, in the end, it was Grader Gareth 'PKRLocke' Alder who broke the tape, crossing the finishing line in first place to secure his bragging rights and $148.52 paycheque.

1st PKRLocke -- $148.52
2nd Werrrrd -- $99.00
3rd ewen51 -- $61.87
4th Lawslaw -- $47.02
5th 99Ranny -- $37.12
6th ACarey -- $29.70
7th beltdrakjf -- $24.75
8th THEREALDREENIE -- $19.80
9th tristiano -- $14.85
10th miggggy -- $12.37

With the Grading running simultaneously, it was a welcome surprise to see a number of this year's competitors taking a break from their mission to Melbourne to join us for Leg 3. Whilst Joe 'JustinBieber' Roberts (36th), David 'bh9ywonder' Docherty (59th) and Brian 'brigalq9' Gallacher (64th) were close, but no cigar, the final table was brimming with potential Aussie Millions talent with no fewer than three Graders making the top 10.

The result of which means that the League Standings are led by Grader 'Werrrd', the young heads-up specialist making his second consecutive final table to build a commanding lead over the rest of the field. But with Blue Belt Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams in fourth, and Robert '7Enygma7' Jarrett-Smith, Andy 'RedKiteBlackBelt' Brisland, Mark 'russellhansen' Brassington, and recent Green Belt and MTT maestro Lee '4kingdonktard' Neary lurking in the teens, it's still anyone's game.

1st Werrrrd -- 339 points
2nd ACarey -- 300 points
3rd Brewski -- 286 points
4th Kevish47 -- 282 points
5th losbert40 -- 280 points
6th ourkidsid -- 268 points
7th mbdnr -- 235 points
8th blackbeltninja -- 257 points
9th 1983GARY -- 253 points
10th Elysiumjay -- 244 points

24 tuned in for the Mulligan, and after the legendary Adam 'JHobbit1' Saunders snapped up the unwanted bubble spot, top honours went to Purple Belt Ian 'mbdnr235' Grieve who lapped up the $180 first prize.

1st mbdnr235 -- $180.00
2nd ZoeRiZZ0 -- $108.00
3rd lionrampant27 -- $72

Meanwhile, in the Donkament, Jamal El-Shetob rose highest, fending off 20 others for a $20 payday. As with last week, a special mention must go out to Kevin Williams who continues his record for most rebuys… ever. He settled on just the five in the end.

1st bbpjimjam -- $20
2nd JHobbit1 -- $12
3rd RedKiteBlackBelt -- $8

There's still plenty of fun and prizes to be had in League VII, not to mention Challenge Channing which airs every Super Tuesday from 7.30pm. If you fancy taking on, and, perhaps, beating, the 2008 Irish Open and 2010 GUKPT London Champion at a spot of $0.25/0.50 No Limit Hold'em cash, then make sure you join us for next week's outing. Until then, look after yourself, and each other. Oh, and don't forget to open an account.

League VII: Party With the Pros
Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag
Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Grading III: Mission to Melbourne

After much anticipation, this year's Grading has officially kicked off with 24 poker gladiators (the Aussie Two-4) surviving the Pre-Grading cut and moving that one step closer to an all-expenses paid trip to play the Aussie Millions in Melbourne.

Now just over a week into their six-week stint, the Aussie Two-4 are beginning to find momentum as they ambush the cash tables on Black Belt Poker, playing a minimum of $0.50/1 with the stakes rising to $1/2 for the final two weeks. In order to be selected for one of three Brown Belt packages, players will need to have completed 50,000 / 40,000 / 31,250 hands of full-ring / six-max / heads-up.

Last Thursday, the Graders participated in their second workshop to date, an intense day of poker debate at the Vic in which Graders are invited to present a lecture on a subject of their choosing. Topics for discussion included poker ethics by inaugural League Champion Adam Saunders, and poker applications courtesy of first-time Grader Richard Dally.

Graders were also treated to presentations from the Blue Belts with Kevin Williams offering an introduction to analysing data from Hold'em Manager, whilst UKIPT Brighton Champion Jamie Burland opened up his game by running through some of the leaks that had been identified by his recently accrued personal coach.

During the workshop, our Chief of Cinematography, Ed Lao, spoke to both Graders and mentors (as well as your truly) about their thoughts and experience of the current Grading process:

Click here to view video

The journey has already witnessed a couple of early casualties, the victims of variance making the sensible choice of stepping aside and living to fight another day. The remaining soldiers, meanwhile, have been busy sharing ideas, analysing hands and participating in one-on-one sweat sessions, with many submitting editorial in the shape of blogs and strategy articles. To keep up to date with their progress, be sure to check out the Grading board in our Groups section.

The Aussie Two-4 are as follows:

Adam Carey
Adam Stoneham
Adam Unwin
Brian Gallagher
Darius Demetriou
David Docherty
Gareth Alder
Graham Murray
Joe Roberts
John Hayes
Liam Crawford
Mike Carroll
Mike Morley
Oliver Schaffmann
Ollie Noonan
Paul Garnham
Richard Dally
Richard Eatock
Richard Hurst
Sam Razavi
Shaz Roberts
Stuart Longster
Tom Drew
Vincent Diver

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pure Shaws; Leg 2 Goes to Sceaga2

After a record-breaking opening leg in which 123 set out on their journey to League title ecstasy, the pressure was truly on heading into the second leg of League VII. However, your reporter and his pending wages needn't have worried as the promise of Christmas festivities at Black Belt HQ once again lured a gargantuan field as a fantastic 112 stumped up the $5 buy in fee in preparation for round two.

Before the bell had even sounded, the charismatic Paul Marrow, likely playing in resplendent, sparkling garb despite the cyber surroundings, was picking up the second wooden spoon of the League as he fell in 112th, before being quickly followed by Blue Belt and last week's Mulligan winner Owen Robinson in 109th. Richard 'CHUFTY11' Ashby suffered another early exit in 103rd, whilst Enlightenment Sensei Simon 'AlwaysMissing' Mairs was unable to improve on his final table last week when he dropped in 104th.

The final table proved an eclectic mix with Vicki (not Vicky!) 'AngelVicki' Lambert snatching a top 10 finish, and Green Belt Lee '4kingdonktard' Neary one rung ahead in seventh. A couple of places up (leapfrogging the wonderfully named 'dickbleed') was Jason 'jas0herbert' Herbert, who last night qualified for the Deepstack Open in Marrakech via Black Belt Poker. Former Champion Mark 'russelhansen' Brassington squeezed into the top five, but the man looking down on everyone was Purple Belt Mike 'Sceaga2' Shaw, the former Grader lapping up $151.20 for his first place finish.

1st Sceaga2 -- $151.20
2nd mork1971 -- $89.60
3rd sandy1611 -- $56.00
4th Werrrd -- $44.80
5th russelhansen -- 39.20
6th jas0herbert -- $33.60
7th dickbleed -- $28.00
8th rattersbrfc -- $22.40
9th 4kingdonktard -- $16.80
10th AngelVickie -- $11.20
11th nakgeela4 -- $6.72
12th andalav -- $6.72
13th Kevish47 -- $6.72
14th 1983GARY -- $6.72
15th losbert40 -- $6.72
16th 5upern0vae -- $6.72
17th JHobbit1 -- $6.72
18th ExtinctShogun -- $6.72
19th Bambury -- $6.72
20th ourkidsid -- $6.72

Despite consistent performances from Mr. G-Bucks Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams and Rob '7Enygma7' Jarrett-Smith, it's current Grader Tom 'Werrrd' Drew who's perched on the highest branch. His fourth place this week, and 22nd last, means he's two points clear with 223. If the standings stay the same, then Tom will be on his way to the Black Belt Poker Christmas party where he'll chat, dine and play with the pros - including 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing and UKIPT Brighton Winner Jamie Burland - before participating in a £1,500 SNG freeroll against the rest of the sponsored team.

1st Werrrrd -- 223 points
2nd russellhansen -- 221 points
3rd Kevish47 -- 215 points
4th UKPB -- 212 points
5th losbert40 -- 202points
6th 1983GARY -- 199 points
7th Brewski1 -- 198 points
8th ACarey -- 198 points
9th Sparklett -- 198 points
10th 7Enygma7 -- 197 points

As always, the League was swiftly pursued by the Mulligan where 42 hopefuls took their seat in search of a tidy consolation prize. After a dogged battle, that reward went to recently promoted Orange Belt Bruce 'UsainZeus88' Jones.

1st UsainZeus88 -- $252.00
2nd Kevish47 -- $157.50
3rd mbdnr235 -- $100.80
4th harukilopez -- $69.30
5th cardshark5050 -- $50.40

In the Donkament, unknown entity Dancefloorpro pipped Neil Channing at the post to collect the $29.01 first prize. Special mention must go to Kevin who, despite 11 rebuys, could only manage 27th out of 33 (sorry, Kev!)

1st Danefloorpro -- $29.01
2nd NeilChanning -- $18.12
3rd adygolf -- $11.60
4th generalshifty -- $7.97
5th betyama -- $5.80

With a record-breaking field in the Mulligan, and another great turn-out for the League, Super Tuesday was another roaring success, and successfully continued the momentum it had built from kick-off. What the numbers aslo show, however, is that even if you haven't played a Leg yet, you can still join in the fun, and still have a perfectly decent shot at making an impact on the League standings. To sign up and play League VII, just download the poker client and follow the step-by-step guide provided to opening an account before locating the tournament in Scheduled > Black Belt Tournaments. Simples.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Donut Mess With the Kid; Leg 1 in the Bag

Last Tuesday proved a feast of poker fun and frolics on Black Belt Poker as League VII kicked off to a rapturous bubble of excitement with a record-breaking (no, record-smashing) 123 players clicking the 'register' button. Among them were all the usual suspects including many of this year's intrepid Graders such as Tom 'Werrrrd' Drew, Paul 'xxM3boyxx' Garnham and Mike 'Belterman' Carroll. Also present were the Hall of Famers, the illustrious previous Champions, all chomping at the bit to become the first player to win an unprecedented two League titles.

Mark '99Ranny' Ranson was the only person vying for back-to-back titles. After tying up League VII a few weeks prior, Mark was whisked off to the Cardiff studios to watch the final of Late Night Poker unfold as a special guest of Neil Channing. From the comfort of the green room, he got to watch Phil Ivey in action, before meeting some of the pros such as John Duthie and Ben Roberts. This week, however, he stalled in the starting blocks, forced to settle with 88th and looking for a reverse in fortunes next Tuesday.

Perhaps the most fearsome faces, however, were those of the Blue Belts, Black Belt Poker's finest sponsored pros keen to justify their position at the top of the totem Belt pole with an impressive performance in the League's seventh outing. And judging by the results of Leg 1, it would appear as though their plans for an ambush are much more than an idle threat as Simon 'AlwaysMissing' Mairs, Kevin 'Kevish47' Williams and Brown Belt Rob '7Enygma7' Jarrett-Smith all made the final table. Neil Channing and newest recruit Richard 'CHUFT11' Ashby were less fortunate; they dropped in 69th and 108th respectively.

Whilst unknown entity GENTOU picked up that unwanted wooden spoon, the other end of the spectrum saw Kristian 'KIDDONUT' (no need to shout!) Dawson and Mark 'UKPB' Deacon battling it out for top honours. After a dogged fight, it was the former who won the battle of the Yellow Belts, Dawson claiming both victory, bragging rights, and the sumptuous $166.05 first prize.

1st KIDDONUT-- $166.05
2nd UKPB -- $98.40
3rd blackbeltninja -- $61.50
4th cikarang5 -- $49.20
5th Elysiumjay -- $43.05
6th AlwaysMissing -- $36.90
7th bolden1212 -- $30.75
8th tentofollow -- $24.60
9th 7Enygma7 -- $18.45
10th Kevish47 -- $12.30
11th megaranaxx -- $7.38
12th Sparklett -- $7.38
13th tealcSVU -- $7.38
14th 1amAD0nkey -- $7.38
15th UsainZeus88 -- $7.38
16th ACarey -- $7.38
17th Brewski1 -- $7.38
18th tandy26 -- $7.38
19th ZoeRiZZ0 -- $7.38
20th losbert40 -- $7.38

The League standings are thus not too surprising:

1st KIDDONUT -- 148 points
2nd UKPB -- 140 points
3rd blackbeltninja -- 136 points
4th cikarang5 -- 132 points
5th Elysiumjay -- 129 points
6th AlwaysMissing -- 126 points
7th bolden1212 -- 123 points
8th tentofollow -- 120 points
9th 7Enygma7 -- 117 points
10th Kevish47 -- 115 points

Of course, the League is almost an hors d'oeuvre to the night's festivity. An hour into the League, the Mulligan kicked off with a respectable 38 runners creating a $228 first prize. The man snapping up the dangling carrot was none other than recent Irish Player of the Year and serial UKIPT casher Owen Robinson. He toppled Gary 'mutesuperstar' Briggs heads-up whilst Simon 'ourkidsid' Herrick picked up third.

1st Ruaction -- $228
2nd mutesuperstar -- $142.50
3rd ourkidsid -- $91.20
4th Redwrasse -- $91.20
5th JustinBieber -- $62.70

26 reared their heads for the Donkament, but it was Ben 'forku2' (excuse his French) Daniel who rose triumphant, his first place finish netting him $32.75 for an hour or two at the office. What was perhaps even more incredible was that he completed the task without having a single rebuy! Credit also goes to the other two cashers (bh0ywonder, thankfully, enjoyed a profit after a loosey goosey eight rebuys); commiserations to AngleVick45 who bubbled.

1st forku2 -- $32.75
2nd bbpjimjam -- $19.65
3rd bh0ywonder -- $8

Leg 1 one was a poker player's delight, and it was great to see so many of the BBP faithful, as well as some fresh blood, involved. Leg 2 will be back next Tuesday, same Bat time, same Bat channel, so make sure you're there for a second bite. With extra points for finalists, you never really fall too far behind, and last time, the lead continually changed. There's an invite to the BBP Christmas Party and a chance to play a £1,500 SNG freeroll up for grabs - as the big giant finger says, 'It could be you...'

Missed Leg 1? Don't fret, you can still join in. Go to 'Scheduled'>'Black Belt Tournaments'>'Black Belt Poker League VII' in the tournament lobby. If you're not yet a member, then signing up is easy peasy: simply download the poker client and follow the step-by-step process to opening an account. Any problems, just give us a shout at