Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ain't No Smoke

First came UKpoker, with the database of Mark's ever so impressive online results.

Then in chipped the Hendon Mob, with their exhaustive trawl through tournament results the world over (except the ones that didn't comply with Data Protection! Presumably Mr Anon of Brighton doesn't want the Child Support Agency to know how much he's winning).

So here at Bastard Towers, we decided to announce the formation of our own Bastard Database. We aim to bring to you a comprehensive list of all players banned from casinos in the UK, with a short description of the misdeed (or more likely, outright criminality) that caused their downfall.

But folks, we cannot do this without the generous help of our loyal - and growing - readership, so we hereby invite all of you to name and shame as many people as possible by sending details to, or by a comment to this post.

You send 'em, we'll post 'em.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bastard Gongs 2004

Player of the Year

Best - James Vogl. Managed to win massive World Series event despite the handicap of being coached by Ron "Mad Yank" Fanelli and Victor Bede.
Worst - Barny Boatman. Has sponsorship money ever been spent worse?

Tournament Performance of the Year

Best - Xuyen Pham. So there IS a decent player in that relationship!
Worst - Marty Wilson. "Wasn't his hand mucked?"

Cardroom of the Year

Best - The Vic. Well managed, high quality staff, and good numbers of players.
Worst - The Western. Was supposed to be the answer to a London poker player's prayers, but is merely an 800 seater white elephant that hosts what is basically a private game for the club's many owners.

Standard of Play at Cardroom

Best - The Vic, unfortunately.
Worst - Southampton. More play that has you gasping at it's incompetence than anywhere else in the UK.

Cardroom Staff of the Year

Best - The Vic. No frills, just incredibly competent.
Worst - Luton. Full of frills, but incredibly incompetent.

Dealer of the Year

Best - Deano, Vic. Doesn't make mistakes, ever.
Worst - Grey haired middle aged guy at Gutshot. More interested in getting involved in the players conversations and fawning over female players than in dealing properly.

Poker Website of the Year

Best - The Mob Forum. Useful information and entertaining ireverrence.
Worst - For the umpteenth year in succession I won't link to it, don't go there.

Poker Blog of the Year

Best - The Camel's blog. Funny, impassioned, and usually right.
Worst - The Wise Owl. Cutting and pasting fawning interviews is not a blog.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Like Moths To A Flame.

Reading reports of the Brighton Festival this week, I notice that among the leaders of the main event is none other than "cricketer Ed Giddins".

How at home this guy must feel among the cheats and card sharps of the Brighton Rendezvous, for this is the man who is currently banned from all forms of cricket for 5 years, having been found guilty of betting £7,000 on his county (Surrey) to lose a National League game. Earlier in his career, he had been sacked by a previous county and banned for 18 months, having tested positive for cocaine at a random drugs test.

Isn't it nice when fine upstanding members of the sporting world grace our poker rooms with their presence?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Poker Loopy

A post appeared on the Hendon Mob forum from one Andy Pyrah (who a google search tells me works for Matchroom), about the UK Open that graced out TV's last week.

Assuming the poster is indeed who he says he is, Mr Pyrah says, among other things, this -

Marty is a true proffesional (sic) at what ever he does, be it, playing in front of the cameras, working behind the scenes every hour of every day, or entertaining the online qualifers back at the hotel, ensuring that they enjoy their stay - There's nobody better at what he does.

If he is trying to suggest that a true professional would deliberately try and take the chips from a pot knowing that he hadn't won it, I'm afraid that Mr Pyrah knows less about the game than he claims to do.

Liam Flood is the best around. Anyone questioning Liam's credentials should hang their head in shame. Every 'TRUE' proffesional (sic) out there will agree.

Saying that someone is "the best around" doesn't make it so. Attacking people who rightly criticise Flood for the debacle of the wrongly awarded pot does not diminish Flood's responsibility. He fucked up, admit it.

Padraig Parkinson - This guy has been there done it, got the t-shirt several times over. How many of the 'posters' which knock him will achieve what he has in their lifetime?

Well, if they handed out awards for the most alcohol consumed by a poker player, then yes, Parkinson (did they name the shaking disease after him?) would be the poker equivalent of The Simpsons, but does no-one else see the irony of a NON poker player having a go at poker players for their lack of achievements in the game! What the fuck have YOU achieved Mr Pyrah?

The fact remains that this show is the latest in a long line of shoddy, unattractive and badly edited TV poker shows, with the now de rigeur inane commentary.

And every 'TRUE' proffesional out there will agree with me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cheat Watch (2)

Queen sang:

#A brand new angle, highly commendable,
Seaside Rendezvous#

I'm afraid I can't be quite as pleasant about the Redezvous Casino, Brighton.

It is home to a varied assortment of characters, and it appears to be the last casino in Britain not to have banned Koresh. This would appear to show an unusual degree of common sense by the management, as the massive amounts he is prone to drop at the roulette wheel must surely outweigh the occasional havoc he causes when he claims to have put the £300 on red before the ball landed.

But the ongoing cheating in the poker room is far more problematic. It hosts what I believe is the largest casino cash game in the country to be self-dealt, and this, if nothing else, should set the warning lights flashing. I have heard too many tales of dirty dealings there for it to be a coincidence, and for that reason I have studiously refrained from playing any cash games there.

The management of the poker room has been flawed from the outset. The first manager was keen but hopeless, having been given a spectacularly good reference from his previous employer, Roy Houghton at Russell Square, just so that he could get rid of him. The subsequent manager was frog-marched of the premises by Special Branch, and things have got little better since then.

The stupid thing is that the measures needed to tighten up procedures there are relatively minor, a dealer for the cash games, no cash allowed to be in play, regular changing of the decks, and management that understands the game and is aware of the strokes that can be, and are, pulled every day.

Sorry Freddie, it's not a brand new angle, but the same old ones.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cheat Watch

The Tony Theo story has caused a bit of a rumpus on the Gutshot forum, with certain people calling for him to be banned, and others asking for clarification to be sought from the Vic for the reasons why they booted him out.

The amazing thing is that he appears not to have been banned by Grosvenor Luton, who specialise in the same type of self-deal comps as the one in which he was caught cheating. Presumably were he guilty of cheating at roulette or blackjack, Grosvenor would be quick to alert all the casinos in their chain, but when it is merely OUR money, no-one gives a fuck.

What is clear is that even if Gutshot do not rescind his membership, he will be watched like a hawk by the other players every time he shuffles, cuts, or deals, which will make it harder for him to try and pull any stunts again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Dammed if I do

Amsterdam was the usual mixture of good tournaments, live fish, and high rakes. As usual, most of the top tournament players in Europe attended, so it would have made more sense to go to Blackpool, where some of Europe's worst players play. But Blackpool rivals Luton for abject shittiness, as well as the necessity to hire armed protection when leaving the casino with more than thirty quid in your pocket (which, let's face it, it's almost impossible not to do in a place where even Howard Plant can win tournaments on a regular basis).

Perhaps that's the answer, check the schedules carefully, decide where all the sharks are headed, and jet off in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Compare and Contrast


Grosvenor Victoria, Sat 9th October, No Limit Hold 'Em Freezeout £3000 + £30.

Grosvenor Southampton, Tue 2nd November, No Limit Hold 'Em Freezeout £400 + £40.

Can this be true? Did Southampton charge a £40 entry fee on a £400 freezeout? If so this is this the biggest entry fee ever charged for a UK competition? And all for a crappy self-deal Tuesday afternoon competition?

Of course, this may just be down to Jon Shoreman's perpetually erratic typing, the real figure could have been £4, £10, or £13.67. Answers on a postcard please.

Mind you, I would gladly pay all that and more for the chance to watch the Norman Gold patented shuffle, purported to be the loudest and least effective shuffle in the world. I bet it confused the locals no end, which might explain his unlikely money finish.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hit me baby

Two people have asked me to post a remarkable story that they have recently heard about a high profile UK poker pro and copious amounts of non-prescription drugs.

While I am quite happy to post such a story, I feel duty bound to at least attempt to verify it's accuracy first.

But if you have any stories that you think I might like to post, send me an email to and i'll do my best to bring it to the world's attention.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Deep in the Brown stuff

You've got to laugh.

Apparently the "European Nations Team Challenge" in St. Petersburg descended into farce when three of the remaining four teams decided to collude with each other to eliminate the England team. I don't know the exact structure of the competition, but by all accounts it appears to have been easy for chip passing, soft playing and the like to have taken place, and there seems to have been no ionclination from the tournament directors to stop it.

Now on the face of it this appears to have been a grim experience for those who have been cheated, as well as a prima facie case of theft and/or corruption, so why did I laugh?

Well, one of the "faces" behind this venture (and incidentally, the recipient of a stomach-churning hagiography in Poker Digest some years back by the queen of arse lickers, Wendeen Eolis) is none other than Murray Brown, who also captained (!) the England team.

Brown is a nasty piece of work, and any event that shows him in a bad light is fine by me, and if the publicising of this event tells a wider audience what those of us unfortunate enough to have to play with him in the Vic already know about him, better still.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

I nearly threw up my coffee and cornflakes the other morning.

Idly watching the Breakfast News on the BBC, when they switch to some sort of expose of gambling in the UK, and interview a "Professional Poker Player", one Ron Fanelli. He was shown yahooing (NOT an uncommon occurence) when winning a pot (an uncommon occurence) at the Gutshot club. The sycophantic commentary then informed us that he had won £200, whereupon my choking turned to uncontrolled laughter.

This guy is one of the MEGA stars at the Vic, a man who, when losing £100 to a marginal bad beat, can steamingly proceed to blow 2 grand in the next twenty minutes. In fact, one seasoned pro told me that he sometimes deliberately makes a bad call against him, in the hope of outdrawing him and provoking this kind of reaction.

But the least attractive of all his qualities (and there are a fair few to choose from), is the fact that he is one of the most unpleasant people you could hope to sit next to at a poker table, even at the Vic, where it seems that dozens of people are vying for some secret "height of unpleasantness" end-of-year cash bonus.

Rudeness, loudness beyond all possible imagining, manic hyena-like laughter, and most of all tantrums at the slightest provocation, all are the stock in trade of the man self-styled "Mad Yank", but more generally known outside his earshot as "That Cunt"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

More Gut Wrenching.

Another thing that bugs me about Gutshot is that they accept as members scumbags that have been rightly thrown out of casinos up and down the land. Tony Theo was barred by the Vic for cheating with the shuffle in a self deal competition. What benefit does Gutshot have by accepting this wanker as a member, particularly as ALL their comps are self dealt?

Ask Pedro about Adrian Challis, and he'll gladly tell you (at great length) about how Challis emptied his online accounts. So what better idea than to allow Challis to lounge about in the Gutshot internet room, waiting for some poor sap to accidentally leave himself logged in, and to find his account empty by the time he gets home?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Shot to the Gut

I've been to the Gutshot club a few times, and while I don't go as far as the Camel in dissing the place, there are a few very odd things about it.

Firstly, the guys who run the card room don't seem to up to the task. I know Roy Houghton has a reputation approaching saintliness in the poker community, but he's either lost it, or quite possibly never had it in the first place. His bizzare rulings over the years ("Whisper in my ear what your mucked cards were, son, and you can have 'em back") have long been ridiculed, but his idea of managing a comp seems to be having a sly fag in the corner, while trying to chat up any bird who unwisely comes within ten feet. And the dodgy barrow-boy bubble who runs it the rest of the time is as good as Roy is, but without the experience.

Secondly, the guys who own the gaff are regularly to be found playing in the comps and the cash games. Now, while it would be harsh to prevent them, does anyone think this is a good idea in practice? What happens if they are involved in a dubious incident that requires a ruling? What chance has the poor sap who's up against the boss of the club got of getting a fair hearing?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

More Luton bollocks.

Every Tuesday there is a £10 hold 'em comp at Luton, and it regularly attracts some of the worst players ever to have plonked themselves down at a card table.

The stupid thing about it is that insist on calling it a "Beginners Tournament".

The other day it was won by Phil "Steaming" Stein, with Kevin "Lovejoy" O'Leary runner-up. Now, some players can be classed as beginners regardless of how long they have been playing, and Stein clearly belongs in this group. His many years of multiple donations in the Luton cardroom have done much to keep it open and profitable, so the occasional result can't be grudged. But O'Leary does have a clue, and I can only assume that the reason he didn't beat Stein heads up, is because he rightly cringed at the thought of being the "Beginners Champion".

Either that, or Stein lumped it all in with complete filth as per usual, and got lucky.


Young is at it again.

The reason he is always banging on and on and on about cash play, is because he is such a god-awful tournament player. I sat on his table recently at the Gutshot club and he didn't play a single hand for about an hour!

You would have thought that somebody with his (in his own mind at least) legendary insight would have seen something wrong with this strategy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Luton, the arsehole of the universe.

It's official!

Luton has been crowned the crappiest place in the UK.

This has long been known to poker players, who have had the misfortune to attend this miserable hellhole for years. To get there from anywhere decent (ie London), you first have to navigate about fifteen miles of traffic jams up the M1, then peer round corners as Bedfordshire's finest constabulary wait to pounce on anyone going 32mph, and finally either entrust your motor to the quasi protection racket that is the casino car park - one half-step up from the "mind your motor, guvnor?" urchins of South London - or, take your chances with the Sainsbury's car park, with it's unlit "valley of death" alleyway past the roughest boozer outside Merseyside.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

So you found it, you tossers.

Welcome to PokerBastard, the blog that promises to slag off everybody and everything connected to the world of poker, well, in the UK at first, but I anticipate a global presence in years to come.