Monday, September 30, 2019

Brighter in Brighton

Flashback to a Nottingham a few years ago. Player of the Year Daragh Davey and I have won packages to a UKIPT there, and we are staying in the Stars hotel which leaves a lot to be desired. There’s even a safety net at the bottom of the stairs, presumably because guests keep losing the will to go on.

Our friend David Lappin has won a seat only, so he’s booked another hotel. Like many poker players, his search algorithm for hotels is simple: find cheapest. So he’s staying just up the road in the Britannia. Just as well, we think, because his new girlfriend is going to join him there the next day.

After checking in to our hotel, we walk him across to the Britannia. We arrive at what looks like a council high rise from the outside. We enter, and find it also looks like a council high rise on the inside, the kind of place you expect to see graffiti on the walls, a horse in the lift, and chalk outlines surrounded by Yellow tape on the floors. There are detergent dispensers everywhere, with large signs advising their immediate use. We walk through the corridor past rooms that smell like there might be a dead body inside, to a room that looks like a prison cell.

Daragh can’t stop laughing. All I can keep thinking and saying to David is
“You can’t bring Saron here”

Brighton has a special place in our hearts. It was our first UK poker tour stop as a Unibet ambassadors, and we met so many great people here for the first time as a result, like Donna, who literally drove me round the bend, the same bend, several times. The Chip Race was reborn here. It’s the only place I’ve managed to tell Lappin a story that he liked rather than made him go “heard it before, Grandpa Simpson”. The casino is really nice. The locals are very friendly. The sea front is very pleasant. The food is very good. We stayed in nice hotels.

This time, specifically with the hotel, not so much. It turned out it was another Britannia. Not as bad as the one in Nottingham, but the staff and general decor gave it a very Eastern European prison vibe. At least we could look down our noses, quite literally, on our favourite Eastern European, official photographer Lenka. She was in the basement, where there were mice reportedly. We were on the fourth floor, facing the sea, so there was the hope of a sea view from the window. It remained but an obscured hope.

I didn’t have to spend much time in the hotel as in happened. We got there on day 1A, which I got through short stacked. With the event being best stack forward that made it optimal to play 1B also, which I played most of before busting near the end.

I met up with Lappin, Iany, Jack Hardcastle and his super interesting friend Olly who I was meeting for the first time, but was one of those thoughtful super smart young people you are immediately engaged with and find easy to talk to. The last time I mentioned Jack on the blog I described him as larger than life, which he interpreted as “faggot”. So this time let’s go with flamboyant, as we tried to work out which of Jedward he was trying to look like. The lads went out on a session, but I went back to the hotel to get some sleep before day 2, where I literally passed out face down in the middle of sending a good night message to Mrs Doke.

I bust early on day 2, so we hung around a bit railing as one of my coaching students who we enjoyed hanging with before kickoff got all the way to headsup. Appropriately enough, after agreeing to chop and play on for the trophy and the Unibet Open Paris package, he came second. Team no winners photo. But massive congrats to Matt who has been on a real heater of late. His heater, plus that of other students (in the last two weeks, my students have two WCOOP seconds, two KO Series wins and over a dozen major final tables) is making me start to wonder if I’m a better coach than player these days.

Overall it was a very fun weekend with a great atmosphere between ambassadors, staff and players. Brighton never disappoints. There’s a decent likelihood this will be my last time to visit there, but even if it is, it has created enough happy memories for a lifetime.

(Photos apart from the crap ones of Jack/Jedward and the view from the hotel room window courtesy of Lenka Klamber)



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