Meet the Brown Belts
After what could have been the longest three hours of their lives last night on Jesse May's Poker Show, the 8 lucky players who have become BlackBelt Poker Brown Belts have been announced. Jesse and Neil Channing were ringing them up one by one to tell them the good news, that they will start their lives as sponsored pros with packages to the 2009 World Series of Poker followed by a minimum of $4000 in sponsorship a month thereafter.
The players were judged over a month on their effort, profit, openness & humility and finally contributing to the Black Belt Poker community.
The final 8 were:
Some names you will recognise and others you might not there. Jamie Roberts was one of the youngest graders and is the son of UK poker legend Ben Roberts. Adam Latimer is an online pro who will be particularly looking forward to this as he has never played a live event remotely near the size of the WSOP before. Richard Hawes is an online pro who is by all accounts a sick SNG specialist.
Sida Yuen is an online cash pro who has been impressive everyone throughout, as he crushed the cash games while continuing his final exams at Uni. Kevin Allen is an online pro who last year made the final of the Poker Million last year. James Keys is a young player who came to our attention two years ago when he made the first ever World Series of Poker Europe final table and David Tighe was the winner of the Late Night Poker Masters in 2006. Finally perhaps the best known player is Jerome Bradpiece, who has multiple GUKPT titles to his resume.
There were also a number of Blue Belts announced, for players who didn't quite make it but still get a smaller version of the sponsorship in UK tournaments, they were:
Now all that is left for the Brown Belts is to get on that plane to Vegas where they will begin their assault on the World Series, they are already discussing all manner of prop bets for when they get out there.
888 Release WSOP Odds
The 888 Poker sportsbook is the latest to release markets on the 2009 World Series of Poker, which starts tomorrow. The most eye catching of which has to be one of the first markets on the Event 2 the $40,000 No Limit event, which as you can imagine is a who's who of poker. Obviously most of the names in the field are based in the States but plenty of UK players are in, including the Devilfish and Ram Vaswani at 80/1, Roland De Wolfe, the Boatman brothers and Julian Gardner at 100/1 and Joe Beevers at 125/1.
They also have a top UK player in the main event market, which is a lot shorter than some of the other bookmakers. This includes Roland and the Devilfish as favourites at 16/1, Praz Bansi at 18/1, Neil Channing at 20/1, Roberto Romanello and Luke Schwartz at 25/1 and even Steve Davis at a very respectable 33/1.
UK WSOP Watch List – Steve Jelinek
We are back with more UK players to keep any eye out for at the World Series of Poker this year. This time we have a man who will be flying out to Vegas with a bit of extra cash in his Sky Rocket, Steve Jelinek. Jelinek must be wondering what he has to do to win a major title, as he has come so close so often, most recently coming 2nd at GUKPT Newcastle on Sunday.
Jelinek seems to make big final tables for fun, take a look at his sizable poker resume and you'll see he has made more final tables than most people have played live events, which includes two GUKPT Finals, a GCBPT Final and even a 6th place finish at the EPT Monte Carlo in 2007. He is also a habitual casher in the EPT and has nearly $1 million in live tournament cashes. He doesn't have that many cashes by comparison stateside, but he is certainly due a major trophy soon and you certainly wouldn't bet against him in any event, so maybe he could be one to back in Vegas this summer.