Saturday in Spain
It's raining in Spain. I didn't think that happened. Anyway, I woke up before Noon. I was up until past 6am writing a few articles. The first day of the Barcelona Open concluded at 4:30am local time. Today will be the final day.
Yesterday was pretty crazy. For lunch, I crashed the Poker Stars luncheon for their players who qualified online. On a big screen in the center of the room, they showed clips from last year's EPT Barcelona event, which was cool because I never saw any of the episodes since they are not aired on American TV. Brandon told me that most of the episodes from Season 1 are available for download at bit torrent. I also got to eat another meal with Brandon and two of his friends from Seattle. It's hard not to root for such a nice guy.
Conrad from Poker Stars spoke for a little bit and he even introduced me as a reputable member of the American media. He's obviously never read any of my clips!! Ha! I've been eating fish at every meal since I arrived in Spain and lunch was no different. I also got to catch a glimpse of the stunning Caroline Flack, who is the hostess for the EPT. She's the Shana Hiatt of the EPT and was conducting random player interviews during the luncheon. Talk about a hottie!
I headed over to the casino to set up my stuff. Luckily, they added wifi access for members of the media and I was in press row again with members from Poker Stars, the Brits over at Gutshot, and the Irish guys from Antes Up.
Then, out of nowhere, I was asked to annouce the "feature TV table" for the audience at the Casino de Barcelona. There are twenty five plus table sint he poker room, but the TV production company set up a TV set where they tape the table. I would stand up at the TV table with a microphone and annouce "Gus Hansen raised to 1200" and stuff like that. I was more like an emcee.
It was surreal!
Poker Stars is sponsoring the European Poker Tour (EPT). Otis works for Poker Stars and he introduced me to a ton of big wigs during the WSOP in Vegas. He didn't make it out for this trip but I hung out witha ton of Poker Stars folks that I met through him.
Anyway, although im freelance here, I'd been tagging along with Team Poker Stars. They took me out to dinner a bunch of times and I haven't paid for too many drinks either. They have been very very generous and I told them that if they needed any help during the EPT, to simply ask.
Well Tamar, who is a big wig at Poker Stars, came up to me yesterday while I was setting up in media row. She was flustered and asked if I would like to annouce the feature TV table. Now since it was Day 1, the production comnpany decided to include some action just like at the WSOP. Usually they only tape the final table. This was not a final table so it wasnt as crucial that the regular guy do it... the Tournament Director Thomas Kresmer. He was busy trying to actually run the tourney and get alternates in since the event was over sold. They olny had space for 250 and had 90 players on the wait list! 325 ended up playing.
So, I alternated with another guy from Poker Stars. Like every other hour we'd take turns announcing the TV table for the crowd. I was super nervous at first because Gus Hansen was at the table! From Denamrk, Hansen is one of the best players in Europe. He cracked A-A with Q-8s when he got quad queens.
Anyway.... I doubt that I'd actually make the actual airing. I'm sure my ugly mug will get lost on the cutting room floor. The EPT shows are 90 minutes long and they also have a 60 minute version for EuroSport (England's version of ESPN). I know that the WSOP emcees barely get any TV time on ESPN. But, since I watched those guys do it so closely, I tried to do my best imitation of the guys that I met in Las Vegas who did that job like Johnny Grooms.
So the TV production crew gave me a quick rundown on what to do. I got to sit in the TV truck for that meeting. On the set, they had cute British chicks as the production assiatnts and they would guide me along.
Here's the funny thing, the dealers and players thought I was part of the actual tournament staff so they ask me for rulings! I thought that was hilarious. It was cool to watch Gus Hansen play up close.
Anyway, Day 2 begins very soon and I might do some announcing again for an hour or so. Once the final table is set the normal guy will resume his duties.
Seriosuly... what a long strange trip it's been!
I was super nervous and finally got the hang of it! Plus the folks at Poker Stars and the British prouction team were pleased with my efforts to step in at the last minute. Bonus Points! Perhaps I can parlay this into an actually annocuing job on the Poker Channel which is huge in England right now. Too bad the EPT isn't aired in America. Bastards! But I heard you can download epsiodes off the net.