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 info@blackbeltpoker.com 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 xe.com)!

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.