Table Talk: Starting April with Feel-Good Stories

joyful jump in the air

The World Series of Poker has traveled to Melbourne, Australia, for its first running of the Asia-Pacific series. Since I’ve never been there, I’m going to live vicariously through the reporters who are there. Wait, I’d rather live vicariously through the players, who can enjoy Melbourne if/when they bust out of tournaments. Reporters work long hours. So, consider that I’m a pro player, busted from my first event, and headed out to enjoy the weather in Melbourne with a wine spritzer in hand. Join me?

Often, the targets of my opinion columns here are on the negative side, wherein I express my frustrations with players in capes, backing arrangements, and re-entry tournaments. The news from the poker community has also been filled with arrests, public break-ups, and divorce proceedings, not to mention the tension among companies and states in the U.S. with regard to online poker. So, I’m focusing on feel-good stories this week.

Maybe I’m in good spirits because of Ian Simpson. After the school teacher won the Irish Poker Open for €265K, he got down on one knee and proposed to girlfriend Emma, which he reportedly planned to do regardless of the tournament outcome. She said yes to the proposal. It was a spectacular way to end the poker tournament in addition to the usual photos and trip to the cashier cage.

Quite possibly, I’m encouraged by the soon-to-be-released documentary “Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker.”  I know people involved in the making of the film, and it has been a long time in the making. With a title change from the original “BOOM,” the movie’s trailer was released this week, and the official release of the entire project is set for June 2013. This looks to be an eye-opening and well-made look at online poker before and after Black Friday. There’s a solid chance that this documentary could garner attention far outside the poker community.

It is not often that a top professional poker player offers game advice free of charge. But Jason Somerville has done just that, with a series of videos in which he gives advice to various poker players. The YouTube videos are just one example of Jason’s true love for the game and his generosity with the knowledge that he has about it.  In my opinion, poker could use more players like Jason, who seems like one of the nicest and most dedicated players of this poker generation.

I’ll admit that I’m biased toward women in poker and very much enjoy seeing their successes acknowledged and publicized. This list on made me happy for that reason alone, but there’s more to it.  The names on the list were not chosen because of “hotness” or any other typical reason for ranking poker’s female players, rather for their results. Case and point, Hui Chen-Kuo was included without so much as a picture but for her solid performances in 2013 thus far.

Lastly, the addition to Howard Swains on as a writer is worthy of note.  Having worked with Howard on occasion and worked at the same locations on others, not to mention being a fan of his writing for years, I can say that anything he pens for this site is going to be thoughtful and a great read.

Is that enough “nice” for now? In the words of a famous animated cheetah, “It’s not easy being cheesy.”

I’ll leave you with a last positive note. The season of exciting live tournaments is heating up. Next month will bring the season finales of the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour. The World Series of Poker is currently hosting its first Asia-Pacific mini-series, and the summer WSOP schedule will begin at the end of May. Things are about to get real.

All of this positivity makes me thirsty. I believe a nice glass of cognac will do the trick, and a fake trip to discover the beautiful city of Melbourne is next.