Tuesday, 30 November 2010

New Blog: The Writer

My writing itch is back with a vengeance; I've some extremely exciting articles on the horizon.

To begin though I really want to talk about the changes at PokerIdol. OnGame as a network has continued to flourish recently, if we look at the current graph:

And compare it to the last one I published just over a month ago we can see the bigger numbers are nicely evening out. Fishies here to stay! So onto PokerIdol. As you might of seen, we did the 'soft' launch of the new site. In the coming weeks we'll be launching 6 exclusive leaderboards giving everyone a chance to win something:

So now it's not just the grinders who get rewarded from the site (but of course the Experience and Activity leaderboards are perfect for you) but everyone! My favourite is the Guts leaderboard which rewards the biggest gambler. I'll probably win that one at some point.

Tons of cool stuff coming up in December including:

• 6 Exclusive Leaderboards with over $15,000 in prizes
• $14,000 in Freerolls, including 2 GSOP Live Bucharest Pages
• $19,000 of packages added to three GSOP Bucharest satellites
• Daily Xmas Present Giveaway throughout December
• Form a team and you and two friends could be jetting of to Vegas

So if you have some time off over Christmas and are looking for someone where play, look no further than PokerIdol. As always if you're interested to talk about a site please drop me an email (chris@pokeridol.com).

Have had one game of poker since my last blog, I went to play the £30 Freezeout at my local Maxims, my first ever real poker venue. Hard to believe it was 5 years ago I stepped in there with a work colleague to experience something bigger than our home game. I remember as soon as I entered the casino this was where I belonged, going back to the music studio just wasn't the same.

There used to be a dedicated poker room but this has been replaced with 24 hour slots, with the poker tabels now taking up the space of unused roulette tables. No problems though as the venue is quiet during the week. Structure was quick and standard of play was bad, but also the standard of opponent. I must admit with my recent forays into slightly bigger events, I've gotten used to a more professional attitude. Here was the loud, boisterous, drunken idiots I used to play with week in week out.

Still, I managed a 4th for a few squid but really didn't enjoy myself. Perhaps I'm becoming more of a poker snob, but the drunken know it alls really tilt me these days. So that's a 1st, 7th and 4th in my last 3 tournaments. My next is tomorrow night at the Full House, so hoping my run continues! Playing the absolute best poker I've ever played right now, just wish I had time to play more.

Spent a couple of days in London last week as Daniel, the PokerIdol Marketing Manager, came over for some meetings. Was great seeing him again as it's been a few months and me, him and Nigel did a little travelling round London, hitting the Empire, International and G Casino Leceister Square. Also met up with the Ukash guys again, great lads!

So back to the writing. I've been having more and more fun writing my blog recently and have been thinking of other things to write. After being in the Empire last week it bought back a lot of memories as my time as an agent. I think I could write three really exciting articles about those times. Some previews being: crashing Paris Hiltons boat party in Cannes with Jamie Gold, getting drunk with Layne Flack and Scotty Nguyen and battling Harrahs restrictions at the WSOPE final table. Who'd want to read about that?

I'm also trying to arrange a couple of interviews which will give the inside word on the recent big games in Macau plus some insight into playing Dwan, Isildur and others online. I know I'd want to read about those things!

Other life stuff is going well at the moment, mainly spending a decent amount of time with Anna which really helps balance things. She's definitely one of the best things to happen to me in a long time (ahhhh I hear you say). We recently went out with some friends to a local restaurant called Giraffe which was pretty crap. Usual chain restaurant which cost about £40 per head. At the Empire we had a cracking three course meal with one of the best stakes I've had in a while for just £15, so the standard has definitely been set high. Here is us just before we went out:

How beautiful is she? We also went to see 'Due Date' which had some funny moments, but was pretty much as I expected; a ridiculously manufactured comedy.

Watched 'Restrepo' last night which was a bit of a letdown really, I know they risk being killed but I wish the cameramen got into the action more! There's a Dutch Afghanistan documentary coming out soon, so look forward to seeing that as it's supposed to be pretty brutal.

Sad news that Leslie Neilson died, I always loved his films especially the Naked Gun series, always able to crack me up.

Tonight am off to play Bingo at one of those large chain venues for my Nan's birthday! Wondering whether to wear a PokerIdol patch hehe, but would probably get kicked out. Other than that just more work grind.

Will leave you with some beautiful music and thanks again for reading.

Monday, 15 November 2010

New Blog: London

I've been hitting the city more frequently than normal recently, at least once a week, with last week being no exception.

I had a meeting with the guys from Ukash about some joint marketing ideas. I was quite surprised about how young they were. We chatted all for about 30 minutes before the beer was ordered and talk on gambling started. Can't really blame us, we were in the Mint Casino, one I visited a few months ago for the Bluff industry night. A friend of the Ukash guys joined us, a sports betting broker, who was a great laugh. The first thing he said to me was 'POW!!', then stating I look like Rob Riggle. If this makes no sense, look on...

What do you think?

In a couple of years maybe!

After a few beers the sound of chips became too much for us so we moved to the roulette machine. I showed some restraint and resisted a game, mainly because I was feeling a trip to the Empire and wanted to save my dough for some drunk cash poker (stupid as normal). That didn't happen but no worries, I definitely got my gambling fix...

London does tire me out when I'm constantly traveling around it, but when I stop and enjoy it as a city it has a vibe unlike any other. Reading as a social environment is pretty boring. You're limited to student/loser orientated places, a chain bar/club that's totally lifeless or an independent venue trying to copy them. Very hard to find a 'true' independent place that's not rammed or a shit hole. However in London there's something interesting round every corner.

That being said, the place we went to was just a 'standard' British pub. However, bring together a few gamblers, half full of beer and a pack of cards and anywhere will be fun. They introduced me to a 'game', hard to call it that really, where each person takes a card. You have one chance to 'stick' or 'twist', with the highest card winning. Jokers mean you win double the bet and other random scenarios mean other doubles. Played with points similar to chinese poker (which I suggested playing, I don't like gambling on games I've not played before!), we were playing £5 a point!

I started on a ridiculous rush and was close to £200 up. Luckily for these guys I'd only just met them so gave them a chance to get even. Of course, my luck went downhill and I quit the game £60 loser. Stopped my Empire ideas anyway! Left after that as Anna was waiting for me at home.

I had a cracking time with those guys and it really showed me how much I'd like to work in a team. I miss having lots of social opportunities and often feel quite isolated. I guess I have to accept that because of the work I do. One day perhaps I'll be doing well enough to rent my own office and employees and force them to hang out with me!

I logged onto Facebook a few days ago and was taken to some weird security page, stating someone from some middle east country had tried accessing my account! Really worrying. I proceeded to change my password to something mental (I have to carry it around with me as I'll never remember it) and do so on everything important I use. I went onto Hotmail (my 'master' account I guess) and when trying to change the password there noticed some weird email was confirmed as my alternative email. That is super scary as until then they could of gained access to my FB or more importantly my online banking. I changed the email on both of those and deleted the weird alternative email (although it can still be recovered by whoever owns it for another week). All weird activity has stopped, so hopefully that's the end of it.

No poker since the Fox, but I've been invited to play the Full House in Reigate on the 1st Dec, a £75 deepstack comp. Really looking forward to it due to my recent success in the single day tournaments and of course travelling to a new venue, one that's close to home, so I may well become a semi regular if I enjoy myself.

Today I bumped into one of my old lecturers from Uni and it made me feel real guilty I'm not doing anything music wise atm. I still feel very passionate about it, but also about my career which must come first. Once I settle down into a more regular routine I'll start writing some stuff again. Until then I'll continue to look for new and exciting music. My new band of the moment is 'Iron Thrones', who make epic progressive metal. Can't stop listening to it! The new Aborym album recently came out. I enjoyed it immensely but admittedly was a little let down after the last record, however it's a fantastic progression.

Brian McBride released a new album which is sublime, getting lots of play from me recently. Brian is one half of Stars Of The Lid, my favourite artist of all time. Seeing them play live a couple of years ago was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, especially as I'm not a huge fan of live music (weird I know). They performed at St Giles in the Field church right in the middle of London. I expected it to be converted to a proper venue but no, this was a real church!

I prayed for a sick system and was award, they had quite a set up shipped in there. The crowed all sat in the pews facing the altar and we enjoyed the opening acts in the tranquil fading light. I was a little disappointed as I'd heard they toured with an amazing projectionist but there were not screens set up. However, when they took to the stage Adam, the other band member, asked for the lights to be turned off. The place was pitch black! Swigging from my bottle of rum and coke I eagerly anticipated what was about to happen. Turns out the projectionist was there and had about 4 projectors. He proceeded to use the entire church wall as his canvas, it was absolutely beautiful. Here's a video we took during the performance:

At 0:45 seconds it lights the whole place up. Wow. I was SICK when I missed their last European gig at the Unsound festival last year. I tried desperately to sell things so I could go but to no avail. It had the best lineup I've ever seen:

Biosphere (NO);
Stars of the Lid + Octet from Sinfonietta Cracovia (US / PL);
Jóhann Jóhannsson + Sinfonietta Cracovia (IS / PL);
Sunn O))) (US);
Kode9 & the Spaceape (UK);
Zomby (UK);

Plus others, but that's all I cared about. The top 3 being my favourite ambient acts bar none, the rest being some of my favourite acts in their genres. The festival lasted a few days with each artist appearing at different weird venues around the city (Krakow). Bums me out just thinking about it. Oh well, something else good will come up!

Jóhann Jóhannsson has been one of my favourites for a while and I recently heard an excellent use of one of his tunes in the trailer for the upcoming film 'Battle Los Angeles':

This looks amazing, much better than the similar 'Skyline' which was just a sci-fi CGI abortion. At least this one looks to have some atmosphere, important when having such an effects heavy movie imo.

Went to see Jackass 3D and was a little disappointed! Seemed way too staged this time (I know it is anyway) like they were only there for the money, but not having fun. I miss the original days, definitely some of the funniest footage ever filmed. Also watched the Haye film in 3D which wasn't great, adding little to the broadcast. Finally been playing Black Ops which is also 3D but it gives you a headache after a while!

Home 3D is amazing don't get me wrong, but I still think the technology has been pushed a little far to soon by manufacturers wanting to gain an edge.

Other than that, things are still going great with PokerIdol and OnGame in general. The line continues to creep up with the player pool slowly increasing.

Thanks again for reading and appreciate all the comments!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

New Blog: Foxy

Ouch. My head. Sitting here right now it feels like my brain might explode. This blog is going to be mainly gibberish I feel but I need to release my thoughts.

One of my greatest abilities has always been one of my greatest downfalls. I'm super creative, but almost in an uncontrollable way. I'll take an idea, develop it and over think it to the point that I'm sick of it and I've not even attempted it. This is why I was never able to finish any music, yet alone release anything. On my music computer I have dozens of excellent 1 or 2 minute pieces, all unfinished because I tried taking them too far and got sick of them, dreading going back.

Right now I have 4 poker businesses that are in development. Two are ready to launch and two are set for the future. The problem is I want to start them all at once! That's another problem of mine, I hate waiting and want to do everything straight away. Will a few weeks, days, even hours make a difference to the launch? Maybe not, but that doesn't bother me.

So now I'm in the situation of which of these two business to launch. One can wait and the other can't. One will steadily make me money, the other wont (for a while). One will be LOTS of hard work, the other won't be so bad. One will be really time consuming to the point it will affect my job. But both would be really fun.

One things for sure, I REALLY want to create my own brand. I think that goes back to never releasing any music, I really want to have something, in my hand, that I've devised and launched.

Breath. I'm also starting to get a little worried about all this pressure I'm putting on myself. While I was in the chemist the other day I decided to have a diabetes test after seing a poster aimed at my age group about it. Blood sugar was fine, but my blood pressure was really high, high enough for them to refer me to the doctor. Going to see them next Monday, but I'm sure they'll just tell me to improve my lifestyle etc...

Brain feels a litte clearer now although I'm about finished typing. Why Foxy? Well this Sat gone I was invited to play at the Fox club and really enjoyed it. Free drinks always help, but the players and staff were all really friendly. The tournament was a £30 deepstack with tons of runners (loads of alternates) but I managed to wade through the field and came 7th, just outside any big money.

It was actually some of the best poker I've ever played. My aggression level was the highest it has ever been and instead of surviving, my old tactics, I pushed harder and harder to try and win. I won so many uncontested pots, it was great fun. Look forward to playing again.

Oh, and I didn't play the DTD Grand Prix in the end. They hit the max runners, turning what I thought would be an easy tournament with a decent overlay into just a 900 runner £50 freezeout, which I just don't have the time for.

Seeing Anna for the first time in a couple of weeks this weekend which I'm really looking forward too. I need to relax and spend some time away from the computer.

Thanks again for reading and I promise for a more interesting post next time!