A Dry Run

Neil Channing

Posted by Neil Channing Tuesday 7th February 2017

So I managed to get right through January. It was much tougher than I expected. I've not done it before and I always used to think it was no big deal and it was annoying how much people would go on about what a great achievement it was and how proud of themselves they were and what a big part of their personal quest to find inner wellbeing the whole thing was.

I've actually lasted a week into February but finally I've cracked. I just had to sit down and write a blog where I rabbit on about my goals and aspirations for the coming year and then self-indulgently bore you with reflections on my successes and failures from last year.

It's enough to drive a man to drink.

What's really brought this on is that it's the 10th Birthday of Sky Poker this week and they are having a party. Not the kind with pass the parcel, balloons and cake obviously, this one takes the form of a poker tournament with a load of free money added. As it's a party I guess I'll have to take my iPad to the corner of the kitchen and play it on my own.

During the seven or eight times the lovely people at Sky Poker nagged me about writing a cheery and upbeat birthday blog I did actually sit and reflect a bit on my poker year that ended a month or so ago. I definitely didn't win anything...not a bean. I certainly didn't play all that many tournaments, probably less than ten in total but I've never actually had a year where I simply never cashed. It's less fun than you might think. In terms of the domestic tours I really didn't bother too much, I played the GUKPT in London at the start of the year and their main event at the end. I made day two in both and didn't cash. The WSOP was a fun trip as I really like doing the media stuff for Sky, running around Vegas trying to find poker players that people may want to watch in YouTube videos and attempting to get them to sound interesting plus the opportunity to hang out with some great Sky Poker qualifiers who are all having a holiday of a lifetime. I often wish I could look at the town through eyes that weren't so cynical and taste it in a fresh and optimistic way which I see them doing. The poker over there was fun but frustrating and due to the way the schedule is at the WSOP these days I only got to play three WSOP events despite staying over two weeks thanks to a disinclination to pay $25,000, $111,111 or play any novelty events. I managed to miss the money in the main by about three hours and virtually bubble the Little One Drop in a pot containing six times the average where I was 88% to win, not that I was counting.

Just thinking about the WSOP has got me thinking about next year. Hopefully I'll have an equal amount of fun but I'll actually win something. That trip last summer certainly took the wind out of my sales and I didn't much fancy playing for a while after that. When I did get going again the things I enjoyed most were settling down of an evening with a nice glass of wine to be a bounty in a friendly online event, sometimes popping to the Vic for their monthly £1100 which is crash/bang/wallop and someone gets £20,000 by 4am or sitting round a kitchen table with a load of businessmen, a lot of chocolates and a lot of wine...I barely won there even.

Right near the end of the year I appeared on the penultimate Sky Poker TV show, it was a great show to do and I met some lovely guests and the people that worked on and around the thing were all great. I hadn't really realised that the TV Channel and latterly the show that used to be on Sky Sports once a week had been going ten years, I also didn't really realise until quite late just how many more people watched the two hour shows compared with the number that watched when it was on for many hours many times a week. I did realise how much it cost though and I guess if I was running a poker company I would have to take a long hard look at what I got for the money. I'm sad that it's gone but I understand why and the memories of it are good ones.

This year I'd still like to do some poker TV but there may not be much of it happening these days. I definitely would still like to win a WSOP bracelet but I'll probably just take three shots again versus fields of 2500+ and I really would like to cash a tournament, any tournament really...somewhere. Mostly though I want to keep having fun when I play, I wouldn't mind putting a small dent in the bank balances of one or two businessmen and I definitely look forward to meeting a few Sky players at any live events that are coming up.

For now though my main priority is to win the 10th Anniversary Freeroll that is happening Wednesday. There's a free £33 Sharpshooter seat for the person who knocks me and Tony Kendall out. Maybe I'll see you there.

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