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With the Apple Series of Poker Europe ambuscade about the corner, Lee Davy shares his aboriginal acquaintance of this already boss event, the 2009 Apple Series of Poker Europe £1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Ancillary Event.

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The Internet.

I charge it added than my morning smoothie, ancestors and orgasms.

When it hides, I feel like I’m aback in 1998, watching Gordon Brown putting the bulk of a pint up. I feel lost, stupified, twitchy. I charge to be in that Bob Dylan video, the one with the agenda cards.

I can’t research.

I can’t do shit.

So, actuality goes.

I will accept to use my memory.

A few months ago, I was sitting in the courtyard of the Landing Resort in Jeju, South Korea sipping on a smoothie absolute added amoroso than a teenager’s cup of tea. Philipp Gruissem was with me, as was John Juanda, and a adult acquaintance of his.

It was the fourth time I had announced to John in my life.

The additional time was at the 2010 PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Accident in London. We were abysmal into the contest, and I was there on balloon for PokerNews. I was continuing at his accept aggravating to accomplish arch and appendage of the activity aback he mistook me for a aide and asked me to get him a coke. I didn’t apperceive what to do, so I put my block and pen in my pocket, and did what the man said.

The third time I met him was in Jeju. I had asked Gruissem to argue Juanda to sit bottomward and do an annual with me. No. Afresh I saw him continuing in the urinal, accomplishing his business.

I alien myself.

He knew who I was.

“Is there annihilation I can do to change your mind?” I asked, aiming and battlefront at the fly in the bowl.

“I am not actual acceptable at those things,” said Juanda. “I had to do them during my Full Tilt days, but I never admired them. Anyway, I wouldn’t accept annihilation absorbing to say.”

“You are a legend.”

“Are you calling me old?”

“I assumption I am.”

And actuality we are; our fourth affair and Juanda is arena a agenda d online adjoin someone. He is animated, frustrated, aflame – all the ancestry of a buck bank for the aboriginal time. I can acquaint this guy loves the buzz.

He stops arena and looks at me.

“Where do I apperceive you from?” He asks.

“London…World Series of Poker Europe…2009.”

“Was that the year I won it?”


The Rebirth

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1975 was an important year for my cellular structure. My mother was up the duff. 18. ‘Frowned upon,’ doesn’t do the bearings amends aback anecdotic the acumen handed out to addition sluttish abundant to accompany a adulterated into the world. Aback then, cipher had heard of John Snow.

She advised accepting an abortion.

Then advised handing me to her parents to accession me, and my mother would accept been my sister.


In the end, she ashore it out.

I’m animated she did.

2009, doesn’t backpack the aforementioned abstract breeding of 1975, but it’s the year of my rebirth; the moment I begin myself, afterwards years of cutting added masks than the amative fuckers in Eyes Wide Shut.

I had chock-full bubbler booze in a atrocious charge to revitalise my marriage. It worked, array of. I stopped, and accept been addition that doesn’t booze booze for nine years, but my wife asked for a divorce.

The annulment cardboard read.

He sits in his bedchamber all night, every night, accident all of our money arena poker.

After removing the alcoholic-fog from my mind, I started to annoyance my duke in the concrete, abstraction a new activity for myself, and acceptable a new afflatus for my son.

The aboriginal affair I did was appoint a activity coach. It bulk me £3.5k. I chucked it on a acclaim agenda and got bottomward to work. I acquainted like Neo aback he began cerebration that article was amiss with the world. An itch.

The aboriginal affair I formed on with my activity drillmaster was to accord with the cerebral antagonism over my career on the railway. It provided me with security, and there were aspects of the position that my ego gobbled up like blackbirds on worms asinine abundant to analysis out the creep of morning rain. But I additionally hated it – the responsibility, the complaints, my Managing Director, the bulk ethics of the business.

I knew I had to leave, but abhorrence had a anchor on me like you wouldn’t believe. It acquainted like the chat railwayman had branded on my heart. Each time I advised leaving, the attrition would accord me 300 lashes. The apathy bedridden me. Tears abounding the teacups already awash with albino bubbles. Heads ed walls. Bodies anticipation I was activity hardly mad, and I was.

We ample out that my acceptation & purpose lay in teaching. I capital to actualize bodies that didn’t booze alcohol. I capital to advice bodies aish their masks, and advice them with the adamant adhesive $.25 that best coaches were clumsy to shift.

But how do you go from a £45k a year career to a business that pays the aforementioned bulk of money, allowance bodies to stop drinking?

And that’s area poker comes in.

The $45k Goal

At that time, poker was a basic allotment of my life. It adored my activity because already you adjudge to stop drinking, your cachet shrinks, you become a mirror and bodies don’t appetite to see their reflection. They stigmatise you and amusement you like a leper. Bodies who already admired you, amusement you like a photograph of that already admired asleep dog you accumulate in your wallet aing to your Rewards card.

The poker apple is a apple aural a world.

Judgments, although they exist, aren’t as startlingly aboriginal as they are in the absolute world. I begin a home game. There was alcohol, but not too much; aloof the appropriate amount. Money was the primary goal. Camaraderie seemed to appear absorbed to the banknotes, like a name tag sewn central a academy jumper.





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I don’t apperceive how it happened, but it did. I would accept austere my Matrix Trilogy to accumulate these guys warm, as we played the d of our lives.

So that was my answer.

I would become a able poker amateur as an acting admeasurement to acquisition the time abandon and money to become addition who helps bodies rid their lives of alcohol.

I created a amplitude ambition – to acquire $45 through poker in one year. Failure meant activity aback to the grind. Another faceless commuting apparition on a tube branch to hell.

I absitively aboriginal on that to put all of my eggs into a bassinet apparent ‘poker winnings’ would be dumb. I created a apperception map absolute assorted streams of income, and I additionally created a brazier list.

The Brazier List

One of the items on my brazier annual was to win a Apple Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. Vegas was out of the question. I abandoned had £45,000 in back-up money, and I wasn’t about to draft it all on a cruise to Sin City. My bank addiction still lived central me as reliable as the bean central a plum.

Regardless, I printed out an angel of a WSOP bracelet, alert it assimilate my eyes lath with Pritt-Stick, and that’s what I saw every morning aback I woke up.

I saw an ad for Apple Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) qualifiers on Betfair. On my mindmap was an activity to accessory into a WSOP event, so I opened up an annual and registered to comedy in a satty for a £1,000 No-Limit Hold’em ancillary event.

I can’t bethink how abundant it cost.

I can’t bethink how abounding bodies entered.

I do bethink accepting heads-up, and my Internet affiliation dying like my old life. I marched about the room, throwing things, backyard my feet, switching the router on and off analytic for signs of life, and afresh a pulse.

By the time I got aback into the game, it was about over.

The .

No sportsmanship.

He or she had taken me to the cleaners.

I had bristles big blinds.

I kept affective all-in.

I kept winning.

Eventually, afterwards a bullwork that seemed to aftermost as continued as a abysmal sea dive with Great White Sharks, area the cage is hardly open, I won.

Fuck me, I won.

London actuality I come.

The 2009 Apple Series of Poker Europe

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My aboriginal assignment was to argue addition to appear with me. Abhorrence again. Abhorrence of the unknown. Abhorrence of actuality the continuing about with a Betfair benefit bag, arena about with my adaptable phone. I would be the leper already more.


So, I took the alternation bottomward to London and fabricated my way to Leicester Square.

It was the aboriginal canicule of the WSOPE.

In 2007, Annette Obrestad became the youngest-ever amateur to win a WSOP armlet aback she won the Main Accident age-old 18-years, and 364 canicule old.

In 2008, Ivan Demidov fabricated the final table, and at the time, could accept become the aboriginal being to win both WSOP Main Events in the aforementioned year accepting fabricated the November Nine. It was additionally the year that John Juanda won the Main Event.

It was such a new concept; the US-based players were still accusatory about its existence, thoroughly assertive it was a fad that would eventually go the aforementioned way as the Dodo.

And actuality I was, sitting aing to a roulette wheel, texting my acquaintance Neil Farm, cogent him how aflame I was. As I knew nobody, I sat bottomward at my table, alone, afraid. The banker asked me to ample in the anatomy in advanced of me. I did so after account it.

Then Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson sat aing to me.

Chris Ferguson.

I said hello.

He nodded his head.

I beatific a argument to my mate.

“No fucking way.”

My ego wouldn’t acquiesce me to ask him for a photograph, and he was active allurement the banker if he had a fax so he could accelerate the anatomy to his advocate to analysis afore he active it.

I bethink he didn’t aroma too good, and his hat was a lot tattier than it looked on TV. Alfresco of the activity of sitting aing to a legend, he looked like your run of the mill, scruffy middle-aged adolescent who frequents every bar in the world.

Then John Juanda sat down.

I texted my friend.

“John Juanda is at my fucking table!”

“No fucking way!”

Juanda and Ferguson began talking. Never afore in my activity had I acquainted so insignificant. I acquainted like a big bearded toe at a adorableness pageant. We started playing. I bethink activity so nervous, although I actively anticipation I had a attempt of acceptable aback then. Attractive back, I didn’t alike accept the basics of the game.

I vaguely bethink backbiting Ferguson in a dark v dark hand.

I texted my mate.

“I aloof bluffed Ferguson.”

“No fucking way.”

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I don’t bethink abundant added of the play, but I do bethink that a woman sat down, and began introducing herself to John, and Chris. She looked like a bedrock star. Hot as fuck. I couldn’t accumulate my eyes off her.

It was Liv Boeree.

Later, aback attractive through the PokerNews Live Reports, I would apprentice that I had agape out Davidi Kitai. The anchorman alleged my table the Table of Death, but there was no acknowledgment of my name, with the anchorman apropos to me as the guy who was ‘picking his nose.’

And afresh my avenue hand.

I can’t bethink the details, but I went a little crazy with abridged tens on a lath absolute added kings and queens than a Guide to Permanent Residency & British Citizenship Quiz.

I confused all-in.

I had a ample stack.

Juanda was the enemy.

A alarm would attenuate him.

There were no rebuys or re-entering.

Freezeout baby.

The acceptable old days.

Juanda advised my anatomy for a continued time; my shirt clung tighter to my bathed bark for baby life. I approved to attending like a rock, alive I had fabricated a move like a cock.

He talked to me.

I couldn’t apprehend what he was adage because I was authoritative my best bedrock impressions and they don’t accept ears.


I can’t bethink what he had.

It was the third brace or something.

I was out.

I got up, said my goodbyes, and went outside.

It was breach time.

I saw Barny Boatman, Joe Beevers, and Victoria Coren in a circle, some smoking, others not.

I acquainted lost.

Out of place.

The accomplished apple had ended.

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I came to the WSOPE to win a bracelet.

Now, what do I do?

I sat bottomward in a banknote game. Antonio Esfandiari had three beating girls alive on him in a bigger game. I played £1/£2 with a grandma who kept acceptable pots and putting the acceptable chips in her handbag.

I couldn’t get Juanda, Ferguson or Boeree out of my head.

I couldn’t get the WSOPE out of my head.

I capital to be the peacock.

I acquainted like the pea.




I texted my mate, and told him the news, activity through the avenue hand.

“No fucking way, what a fish.”

And I explained this to Juanda, nine-years later, in acknowledgment to his catechism of area he knows me from.

“I bethink the hand.” Said Juanda.

“You about had me there,” he said.

And I believed him.

I absolutely believed him.

Imaginary accoutrement aloof out of the aback of my white shirt. My angled amateur ratcheted up a notch. I acquainted good. I acquainted like a allotment of something. I acquainted like I belonged at the table, bubbler sugar-laden smoothies, with one of the greatest players the apple has anytime seen.

And in a few weeks time, the WSOPE will go at it again.

I won’t be there.

But addition like the 2009 adaptation of me will be. Addition who wrote I appetite to win a WSOP armlet on a allotment of cardboard with the words Brazier Annual on the top.

A dreamer.

An activity taker.

A anamnesis maker.

The 2018 WSOPE takes abode at the King’s Casino, Rozvadov, Oct 9 – Oct 28, and you can accessory into the accident by aggressive on partypoker.

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