Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Freeze That Frame

Well, it looks like the sun is at last starting to set on the evil Gutshot empire. Butch and Sundance are finally about to exit the hideout, to meet the waiting feds. Only this time, no-one is playing Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Mr Moderator will put away his red crayon for the last time, little David Young will have to find someone else to pay him twenty quid to explain why nobody else but him has a clue, and people entering the World Series will have to do so under their own names.

Why has it taken so long for the boys in blue to get their act together? Since day one, it has been completely apparent to anyone interested that the entire operation is manifestly illegal. They don't have a Gaming license. Even if they did (and the chances of Trotter and Paddy ever convincing a magistrate that they are fit and proper persons are about as likely as Michael Arnold winning Miss World) they rake the pots, which is specifically outlawed in the legislation. Their puny defence about being a Private Members Club is a joke because firstly, even such establishments are not allowed to rake pots, and secondly, because the profits in fact go straight down the black hole of Dodgy Martin's and Bent Kelly's creative accounting procedures.

If entrepreneurship means spotting that there is a market in separating shell-suited wide boys from both their giro cheques and their pill-pushing income, then by all means, give them a Queens Award for Industry, but let's not pretend that there is any benefit to the poker world at large. By the time they are (hopefully) shut down, they will have creamed about half a million out of the poker economy. The true pity is that they are both banned from all UK casinos or else, with their legendary poker skills and a prevailing wind, it would all get lost back within about three months.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sling yer 'ook

Here at Bastard Towers, we never miss an opportunity to put the boot into the sleazemongers of Gutshot, so it pains us a little when we have to send some kudos in their direction. But the truth must be told.

I'm advised that they recently barred Craig Grant for life from their establishment. Not for telling porkies about what he would have made had had he not passed (the nuts). Not for telling porkies about how unlucky he was in a $71,000 pot in the Bellagio (he was in a £10 rebuy comp in Brighton at the time). Not for telling porkies about what he'd passed pre flop (the fourth and fifth queens in the deck).

But for stealing chips off players stacks during a break. In a £5 comp.

Apparently, some people complained that they had less chips than they should have when the competition recommenced, and a detailed perusal of CCTV footage nailed the culprit bang to rights.

This is about as low as it is possible for a poker player to stoop, and by rights this ought to earn the fucker a similar ban from every casino, card club and spieler in the country, but we're not holding our breath.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Back, and Blue

As some of you may have realised, this blog was hijacked by one or more hackers, who obviously prefer that there be no-one dishing the dirt on the filthy world of poker in the UK.

The good news is that, after extensive recovery efforts, we have reclaimed the site, and that normal service will be restored shortly.

In the interim, please feel free to send us any good stories or gossip to:

More shortly...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pro Choice

What is a poker professional?

It should be a fairly simple question to answer, but as with much in poker, it contains more grey areas than appear on Simon Trumper's cranium.

There was a time when it was simple, a pro was a guy - always a guy - who played the game, won decent amounts, and had no other surce of income. But in these days of corporate sponsorship, where a player so completely devoid of both talent and personality as Debbie Rogers can command a sponsorship deal, it's time to examine the question properly.

There have always been "backing" arrangements, where players were entered into cash games or competitions by other individuals, with the player generally copping half of the winnings, and poker being poker, the backers got stiffed more often than not. Peter Costa was at one time the Tiger Woods of stiffing, having been put into a few comps by the ever-trusting Laurie Butters, winning them, and then for one of many possible reasons (dice, blackjack, pai gow...) failing to stump up with the readies. Incidentally, the subsequent denial of these easily verifiable facts by Laurie on the Pokerineurope forum, was perhaps the lowest point in the history of the poker forums (an honour for which there is a great deal of competition).

But corporate sponsorship is basically a giant freeroll for the recipient, where, because they don't have to put up their own money, they are in effect being employed by the sponsoring party to play competitions for them, as well as undertaking to perform various marketing tasks at the company's behest. So these lucky people are perhaps the first in history to be formally employed to play poker.

Mind you, it's not only in poker that these definition are tricky, as evinced by boxer Amir Khan being offered a £280,000 package to remain an amateur!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Harder in Nevada

Spring is in the air, the daffodils are poking through the warmer soil,
and the thoughts of lusty young poker folk all over the country turn to one thing -


What is it about this obnoxious city that so captivates the thoughts of the poker playing public, particularily as there is one immutable law of British poker players and Vegas, they ALL come back skint.

(OK, you can throw the names of Julian Garner and James Vogl at me, but any statistician will tell you that such tiny exceptions to the rule can be safely ignored.)

Some people complain that the overriding annoyance in Vegas is the never ending ringing of the slots, but to me, it's the the unceasing and unsavoury spectacle of skint fellow countrymen on the nip. The low hum that accompanies word of a British player winning a large pot in some hidden corner of Benny's Bullpen soon breaks out into an undignified scramble as the array of nippers jostle for prime position to waylay the poor sucker on his way to the bar, with tales of "unbelievable outdraws" and "just a monkey till we get back home". All of which means that, even in the unlikely event of making good on the poker table, the chance of bringing home any ready cash is a negligible one.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Western Philosophy

The ongoing saga that is the Western club continues to confound.

Does anyone have any idea how much it cost to fit out this monstrosity? And for what? So that the people who sunk money into this comic venture can have a place to park their ample arses while playing a £1000 omaha game, and a few dismal chicken soupers can decamp from St Johns Wood now and again for some tight arse kalooki?

Has it dawned on them yet that for half a million or so less, they could have continued to play the same opponents, for the same stakes, at the Vic, but now they have burned their bridges and will have to scrape and bow to have their memberships reinstated when the Western crashes and burns, as it inevitably will?

Say what you like about the Gutshot spivs and all their money grabbing antics (and I will, Mitser Fneehney), at least their motives are apparent (grab as much cash as possible before the law gets it's arse in gear). But unless the Western is an elaborate front through which to "lose" some unexplained income, there is no business sense behind the venture at all, merely a collection of egos only surpassed on the day that David Young attended his first Mensa meeting.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

From The Mailbag

From : James Feeny
Sent : 31 January 2005 18:37:09
To :
Subject : poker article about Gutshot

You article about the Gutshot poker room makes me laugh. You say it is full of think people that cannot play the game. I make my living playing poker and play at Gutshot everyday. You say it is full of bad players, but in my opinion everywhere is. I think the only think person is you.

ps your articles are shit.

You couldn't make it up.


Friday, January 28, 2005

They watched their Rome burn.

Bobby Moore, Sir Leonard Hutton, Martin Johnson, Murray Brown.

The chest swells with pride, and a tear wells in the hardiest eye, when one ponders on the great names that have captained English sports teams to magnificent victories over the years, and which have brought honour and nobility to the humble citizens of our island race.

But what's this? Pint-sized colonial poker whore Keith "Bendigo" Sloan dares to have a pop at one of our aforementioned heroes?

I organized nothing, I was invited to be tournament director by the casino because of previous problems with the teams event. The marketing, organizing etc. of this event was all done by an Englishman. With no rules available to me (lost by one English organizer).
When the rules allowed for a player to be on the final table (chip leader) with no chance of collecting a single $ in prizemoney the end result was inevitable.
The casino was advised by me (and many players also) of the potential problems with this tournament but were talked out of changing any of the procedures by the organizer and unfortunately the Casino Manager was left to take the blame.
They have made changes to the format and rules for the next event of this type in an attempt to overcome previous problems (however the organizer still refuses to accept the format is flawed).

All is sadness. There truly are no more heroes anymore.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

And in other news

From today's FT:

The world's biggest online poker site is edging towards a market listing, in what could be a further sign of a resurgence in investor interest in internet businesses. PartyGaming, formerly known as iGlobalMedia, owns, and has 5m registered users. It has been sounding out banks in London over a potential flotation that could be worth more than £2.3bn ($4.3bn).

Bankers who have seen the Gibraltar-based group's accounts say that it generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of more than $350m in 2004.

PartyGaming is owned by a small group of investors, including Ruth Parasol, an American lawyer, and Anarag Dikshit, a software specialist from India.

Noble Poker Chief Executive Jac Dipshit also revealed plans for a float, "We hope to float all 170% of our stock, and we are talking to various parties in the hope of selling the entire company to 3 or 4 of them".

CFO Willy Jackshit commented "We hope to invest all the profits in an online craps venture"

Chairman Gary Apeshit was not available for comment, but it is believed he would make the least money from the float, as he had paid twice what everybody else had originally.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Gut Rot

“The only “real” name in poker”

That should read “The real “Moneymaker” in poker”.

Let us start by airing a few basic facts about Gutshot. Not malice or jealousy. Facts.

The Gutshot card club/internet cardroom is not the future or the saviour of poker. The game of poker and the huge majority of poker players were doing just fine long before the place ever sprung up. The brand name is making an absolute mint for a very select few people because of some admittedly very clever marketing portraying it as some ground-breaking set up which has the best interests of the club members at heart, and which is revolutionising the game. As a business, it has the interests of its OWNERS at heart, and the clever spin of ”Gutshot is proudly joining forces with”(insert any organisation that will bung them a few quid in exchange for distributing branded baseball caps/key fobs/whatever-but of course NO actual money for the poker players themselves by way of adding to prize pools) should not cut any ice with anyone with more than one brain cell who should see it for what it really is-gloss to get punters in and nothing more.
New players are made to feel very welcome, but are omitted from being told that they will soon be rubbing shoulders with every barred casino cheat, angle-shooter, nipper and general lowlife poker has to offer. To educate people would be bad business so we don’t want that.
You do not argue with Gutshot. You do not air opinions that are seen as contrary to the interests of the club. You do not swear on the forum(unless you are in the clique then your post may not be removed). You don’t promote charity work or any poker related events that will not make money for Gutshot. You should all know this by now. The recent TIME OUT article which portrays the club in a less than wonderful light(a not uncommon opinion) was instantly shouted down, and its author personally attacked in a pretty appalling fashion-mostly by ignorant unwashed student-types who have seen far too many reruns of Late Night Poker and Rounders, and are sadly living in the belief that they are themselves experts at the game. From my few visits to the place I‘d concede that there are some great players and nice people there, but they are vastly outnumbered by know-it-all wankers and 25 quid cash game merchants whose only experience of real poker is watching it on TV (they just don’t know it) and choosing sunglasses and loud poker shirts from C and A, whilst learning how to twiddle poker chips and practice their dramatic stare prior to folding.
The Gutshot forum used to be a highly amusing and informative place to go. It’s now a horribly watered down hive of double standards which is primarily used to further boost the bulging coffers of the empire. Pretty much NONE of the original forum posters bother with the place anymore and it’s easy to see why. Various issues including gross overcharging, collusion, overcrowding, player intimidation, and the fact the whole thing is NOT really a “collective” in any sense (the members get no sniff of the profits at all and probably never will despite hints about shares for the members) have been swept under the rug and generally ignored. As long as the punters keep playing and paying-that is ALL that is important, and luckily most regulars are too thick to see it. Barbed snipes at other poker websites and cardrooms, along with in-house generated self publicising question/answer sessions give the illusion of everyone being delighted with ”the best thing ever to happen to poker”.
The poor people who have never known poker outside the goldfish bowl of Clerkenwell can happily continue to put down the rest of the UK (non Gutshot) poker scene and crow about how they don’t want to be like the regulars at the Vic. This is fine, because the regulars at the Vic who generally ARE players would be horrified if they ever became the uninformed poncified average-ability tossers who constitute the “new breed of poker player”, who have indirectly created precisely the kind of old boys network they originally said they hated and wished to banish. Same thing, different label. What a laugh. The club will continue to make a packet. The players will continue to live in cloud cuckoo land. Ad nauseum.

The Camel’s views about Gutshot are not one voice. In fact a fair proportion of people don’t like the place, the “ethic”, or the way it quite shamelessly makes a small fortune whilst pretending it’s on a crusade of some kind. It isn’t. Except for its own profit.