A couple weeks old, but for those who are interested here are the highlights my trip to London for the Big Game. It was one of the most fun trips I’ve taken in a long time and the fact that it was a business trip made it even more fun. Though what’s a trip without interesting twists…aside from just a Volcano.
I hadn’t seen Dusty since I was last in Portland to support him during the USGA lawsuit…which was 8 months ago, so it was great to see him as I walked through security. As with other good friends we picked up as though I saw him a week ago.
We got in a couple days early to adjust to the time before the Big Game, and first up on the agenda the day we arrived – after a 4hr nap – was a boxing match that the guys from Matchroom hooked us up with. I had never been and though I don’t really follow boxing much anymore, was psyched to check it out. The main draw was a fight that for 11 rounds was terrible…in part because it turned out Audley Harrison’s shoulder was separated from round – and he was getting dominated throughout the whole fight until this ridiculous knock-out.
The morning before I flew out I got an email from Barry mentioning that we were going to stop by the Bluff Europe Poker Academy to say hi and check out what they have going on. I wasn’t sure what the story was, but I’m always up for networking and thought it would be interesting to check out an event like this, since it’s something that I’m interesting in doing in the future…well the future came fast. As I’m recovering from jet lag I was asked to step in for a presenter who fell ill, and did an impromptu talk on tilt the next day. UK poker icon Neil Channing headlined the event, and it was great to meet him. The event, including my talk was well received, which was great to hear considering I was pretty jet lagged.
That event was also the first time Barry and I met and after 8+ months on skype, meeting in person was exactly the same. Barry was staying at our hotel so we headed back to grab Dusty go for dinner. A dinner that was highlighted by Dusty getting made fun of by the waiter for ordering hot chocolate at a steakhouse, lol…to be fair he had woken up 30 minutes before…afterward we went back at the hotel bar for a drink figuring we’d have an easy night before the marathon got started. An easy night turned into a night I’ll never forget when Mad Marty Wilson walked in the door.
I had heard his name before, and Barry even mentioned how legendary he and his stories are, but you can’t really imagine what’s it’s like to meet someone like him when there is no one else on the planet like him. Marty had all four of us rapped up in a mass of stories and trivia for hours…so much for an early night.
I was excited about the big game, in part because I’ve never been on around a tv show like this and to have a good buddy of mine on the show, I figured it was bound to be a good time. Since watching the poker action was tough even when I cared the most – when Dusty was on – I spent a lot of random time hanging with Barry and getting to know the others who were involved with the show. Over 48 hours there’s a lot of random time to chat and joke around with them, and they were part of what made the show a ton of fun for me. From Marko and Ian the PartyPoker social media guys, the guys from Matchroom, Jesse May, Warren from PartyPoker, Daniel and John from WPT magazine, Alex Russo from Bluff who I met earlier at the academy, Nick Ferro – a poker agent with a kindred sprit, several of the players, and of course, Kara Scott and Tatjana Pasalic, who are even friendlier and fun to be around as they are easy on the eyes.
So many people in other lines of work have the opportunity to hang out with people from work, or are meeting people often because of work. I did in my former work lives, and since most of my work right now is me at home with my computer working on the book, DTB or with clients; it was great to actually meet people in person and the people I met by were all just solid people to be around and a lot of fun.
The setting of the show was different that in years past, it’s very likely that you’ll see my mug in random spots in the background yucking it up and paying very little attention to the poker. It was really hard to follow the action unless you were close to the table, and after Dusty was voted off, I was more interested in enjoying myself.
While the original intent was for me to help Dusty grind through playing 48hr straight, he did need a little help finishing off a 24hr commentating session, which is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a while. Channing and Viffer played 48hr straight which is an amazing feat – especially with how well Viffer played, but I think Dusty doing commentating for the first time in his life AND doing it for 24hrs straight is more impressive. Needless to say I didn’t see him on Wednesday until 5pm as we headed off to SkyPoker for an interview that helped us avert getting stuck on the Isle of Man because of the Volcano…