Thursday, January 18, 2007

Once More, With Feeling

"The best things in life are free, but you can tell that to the birds and bees, I want money..."

So sung Barrett Strong, and it should be the theme tune pumped through the speakers of the Gutshot club at all times.

This organisation was set up as a so-called Members Club, but it's real purpose was to line the pockets of its two wide boys owners to as great an extent as possible, before the inevitable happened, and the long arm of the law finally found the time and inclination to assert itself.
Regrettably, having fallen for the glib patter of the blarney kissing huckster, the eminent judge has already indicated that a custodial sentence, though available to him as an option, will not be considered in this case. Even more surprisingly, considering the flagrant disregard of the law shown by the defendant over a period of nearly four years, (and amazingly the continuance of that disregard since the verdict was reached) the likely fine is said to be a token one.

For all the balding leprechaun's insistence that the club doesn't make a profit, and that if it did, it would be returned to its membership, the figures don't come close to adding up.

Enlightened estimates put the "drop" taken by the house in rake from both tournament and cash games, after deductions for wages, rent, and non capital expenditure, at between fourteen and sixteen thousand pounds a week. For the mathematically inept among you (and that of course includes "star" defence witness Nic Szeremeta - a star indeed), that amounts to a profit of between £700,000 and £800,000 a year. This excludes the profits generated by the bar, restaurant, and internet site.

That these figures are, by necessity, conjecture is in no small part due to the failure of the Chairman of the Gutshot Private Members Club to have ever submitted any audited financial figures to his membership, since the club's inception in 2003. If nothing else, this surely gives lie to his claims that his business venture is in fact an accountable private members club.

One can only hope that should his appeal fail, the forensic accountants of the fraud squad are invited by the Appeal judges to quantify an accurate assessment of the ill-gotten gains, so that they can be rightly confiscated.

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.