Back in 2009 I was getting my break in to the industry by working a commission only role for PokerIcons, a media and PR agency mainly for professional poker players. I didn't make much money, but it gave me a great introduction to the gaming industry and helped me meet lots of decent contacts. More importantly though, it was bloody fun.
At the time our biggest client was Jamie Gold and we spent lots of time trying (unsuccessfully) to get him a sponsorship deal. Poker sites were weary of sponsoring players in 2009 and Jamie was asking for a shed full. We did some interesting things with him though - trying to gate crash Paris Hilton's boat party in Cannes being one of them - but I'll save that for another blog.
Another player on our list was 'one of the UK's brightest up and coming stars', a young lad by the name of Sam Trickett. We did our homework and knew Sam was going to made it big, so we spent a decent amount of time pushing him to potential sponsors. Unfortunately he just hadn't had a big enough score to give him mass market appeal. (check his hendon mob pre 2010, and then post 2010 and shed a tear for me)
In September 2009 was the biggest event on our calendar, the WSOPE. For a couple of weeks, all the big names would be in town, and it was a huge money making opportunity for us. Me and my two colleagues squeezed into a room at the Metropole and we hadn't been there long before I got a call from Sam saying 'someone just gave me a patch deal'.
We raced over to the Empire as any patch deals had to be done through us, Sam was our client, so we negotiated the terms. When we got there I was quickly pounced upon by an agent from another company introducing himself and saying he'd scored Sam a patch deal with Full Tilt. After a few choice words, we agreed that we'd split the commission for that day, but we'd handle all his deals from that day on. (we spent 2 days negotiating with Ray Bitar, remember the days when we all thought FTP was prestigious and legit?)
Sam next to Negreanu on the feature table wearing his FTP patch
My camera phone picture from the rail (we had sick seats)
It's hard to think that just 3 years ago I was on Skype with him ghost writing his profile. So here it is, Sam Trickett's media profile, Circa 2009:
'Sam Trickett was introduced to the game of poker in 2005 when he was invited to a regular game held at a friends bar. After enjoying the first night he went on to win the tournament regularly, including a three week winning stretch. Upon realising he could make more in one night at the poker tables than he could working for a whole week, he went on the search for more serious games. He took his first shot at a big tournament in Sheffield’s biggest casino and finished on the bubble, an experience he credits as starting his obsession with the game...'