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31/03/2008 No. 66
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Mar 31, 2008

It's easy to go skint playing tournaments. Mike Sexton calls it "chasing rainbows". My best advice to new players is: start by learning how to win in cash games. Then use those profits to fund tournament entries and satellites of the appropriate price. Your dream may be to win fortunes and glory, but your goal should be to turn an annual profit.

One person who's been doing that for years is Neil "Bad Beat" Channing. He is an expert cash player, a big regular winner; but because he gained a high profile without winning a "major" tournament, he hasn't always got the respect he deserves.

The joy of Neil is that, being very English, he swallows any irritation he feels about being underestimated as a player. His regular internet diaries from the tournament trail are full of self-deprecating humour. Recent classics include, "I learned a long time ago that you can't eat European ranking points" and "We were out of the Brighton tournament by 8pm and left without even stopping for a second lot of haddock and chips (good result, as I was due to pay)".

When he went to the Irish Open in 2007, his valedictory comment was, "I certainly recommend Easter in Dublin; I just wish I wasn't the egg."

Well, he wasn't the egg this year. "Bad Beat" has just won the 2008 Irish Open, and the €800,000 that goes with it. This is a victory for patience, modesty, hard work and quiet self-belief; a triumph of karma. I'm confident that the result won't change Neil, and hopeful that a generation of players will follow his example. They should; this is the most popular poker result in British history. Personally, I'm as proud as if I had won it myself.

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