October 2006
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Hey kids, do you like violence?

I always expected the reception I’d get at Stoke Grosvenor would be frosty. This is a regular haunt for many of my former so-caled friends and other ex-poker buddies and I knew that whenever I went odds would be that I would bump into at least one of them.  Tonight for the £20 freezeout it actually took until level five and my second table move until I came face to face with any of them across a card table. As expected, they were ignoring me just as hard as I was ignoring them.

Allow me to introduce some characters: James Welsh, my estranged business partner on a poker-related venture and the mastermind behind UK Poker Info – a forum from which he has subsequently banned me for posting a strategy article with only the slightest hint of superiority – busted out a couple of hands later, moving all in without looking and tabling garbage that thankfully didn’t improve. Jim Fryer, the former owner of an illegal poker club that is somehow no longer running, and who still owes me ninety quid for a table, was riding high with about 40k in chips allowing him the freedom of only playing every other hand whilst running backwards and forwards to have a smoke. Negative expection on two counts.

I never got to play a pot with Jim, and only contributed to only two hands at that table before I went home. I’d raised once with AQo and folded to a reraise all in, then made a squeeze play with AJ against an early position raiser and a caller. I still quite like the move, even though I ran into a squeezee (I need to know if I’m the first person to use that word) with AQ. I had a chance to nearly double my stack uncontested, which was fairly likely given the extreme tightness I had shown, and the prospect of taking a race with 4.5k in dead money wasn’t too shabby. It’s only real bad when you are dominated – and he calls. Which it turned out I was, and he did, thinking he was behind.

Earlier though, I had a confrontation with "Deadly" Darren Sutton. Daz is not someone I know well at all. I can really only remember one time I’ve spoken more than a passing sentence to him, which was actually at Nottingham Gala on the same day I discovered that my so-called friends from the saturday night game I have such fond memories of were a bunch of ignorant back-stabbers. Let’s move on.

Darren comes over to tell me how nobody likes me, and then how I owe various people an apology and how I owe James some money. He tells me "you and him need to sort it out, or I will sort it out". Whether or not he has a point doesn’t much matter – none of this is any of his fucking business, but he obviously loves the action. I am brought up to speed as he walks away. "You don’t know me. I used to be a minder. I look after people".

Another person he is looking after tonight is Rob Ho, although I doubt this is with his knowledge or consent given that Rob is a martial arts expert and could cripple me as soon as look at me if he wanted. On the very rare occasions we had a saturday game without him, we would gossip around the table about how he is likely connected, a Triad probably. I owe him an apology, I’m informed, because of how I insulted him on the forum – by which he can only mean the "strategy article" I mentioned above. As I walk to the bathroom at the first break, Rob actually yells up from his cash game at me "Hey Chris, are you winning?". I’m so startled, I don’t really know how to respond and mumble back god knows what before running away to take a piss. Unless it’s part of an overly elaborate and highly doubtful good cop/bad cop routine, then Rob isn’t holding a grudge. And I would have gone back to talk to him too, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.

Deadly Daz followed me into the bathroom. He followed me into the fucking bathroom! He stood next to me, and carried on with a routine which I pretty much ignored, trying instead to concentrate on whether he specifically was the reason I couldnt go, or just that there was another gent right there who was more interested in me than his own bodily functions. That would usually do the trick.  As I left (he was done before me, and didn’t wash) he was waiting near the door to keep yelling across to me and point out exactly where Rob was sitting. I don’t know why he was yelling. I didn’t stop to see who he was with, whether it was even anyone I’d ever met before. Or whether they were impressed. I just kept walking. I don’t know – nor did I care to find out – whether he was all talk. But I was glad to be back on the casino floor. As far as I know, there’s no cameras over the urinals…

So there we have it. I was threatened and intimidated – twice – by a guy I hardly know in my friendly neighbourhood casino. Just one contribution to a general air of violence in the Grosvenor Stoke where threats, fights and beatings appear to be an everyday occurrance. When the cash game was announced, some cheerful soul piped up "will there be a punch up tonight?". Apparently there was yesterday, and it sounds like the crowd loved it. And I heard two guys at my table very openly discussing how they might teach someone a lesson. "Careful though, he’s the kind who’ll run down the cop shop first chance he gets", says one. "Yeah, but what’s he gonna do with a fucking broken neck?", came the reply.

11 comments to Hey kids, do you like violence?

  • how come you mention money that jim owes you but not money you owe me, you dick? is there a difference, other than the money you owe me being a lot more?

  • Thanks for reading beyond paragraph 3.

  • james welch

    so thats not a denial then?

  • How come you are posting comments here yourself instead of sending your mate who is much harder?

  • james welch

    i never sent anyone to do anything you will find. if people wish to say things on my behalf then what am i to do about it? why, do you suggest, he is much harder than myself?

    also, i must stress that you were banned from my forum for generally not being liked by my own forum members (unanimously) – please dont be in any doubt about that – no article text per say inlfuenced the decsion – it was your general personality – and lack of morals/ethics that general poker players of stoke disliked – that was a key factor.

    a further thing… i have yet to see a fight at the grosvenor in all the times i have played there. your views are misguided again.

    a further point to my last point – blueberry…

  • Now, try to concentrate, was I generally disliked or unanimously disliked? By all your forum members, or just the handful who actually know who I am. The latter would seem much more likely, perhaps five people that I could name from the 140 on your forum (although that count probably still includes me, and Claire who I’m guessing you also banned because you don’t like me). The “general poker players of stoke” don’t know me. They can only know what you have told them, as I’ve played in Stoke exactly twice. That would be why someone I’ve met just once is on my case the minute I walk into the Grosvenor.

    I find this interesting though, because before the forum ban I’d hardly heard from you at all, and the last thing you’d sent to me was in response to an email where I’d asked if we were still cool. I asked because I hadn’t heard from you in a long time, despite the fact we were meant to be working together, and I had fallen out with some of your new friends in a big way. I needed to know if I would be welcome at a UKPI game.

    You said:
    “I must stress that none of the lads have said anything negative or gossipped etc – infact the very opposite… i only wish that you could all bury your differences and play at further events … Hope to see you sunday … i hope you all can sort things out. ”

    I replied:
    “Anyway if we’re cool I guess I should sign up to your forum and say hi… ”

    So I did, where I was promptly banned.

    James, you are the single most two-faced person I have ever met. I don’t understand what has happened between us but I really do not care any more. If you believe I owe you money, perhaps you should have said something to me in the last six months, rather than ignoring me and slagging me off to all and sundry. You have not mentioned this once, you have not sent me a bill, we have no written agreement to cover any kind of payment and I cannot even remember a verbal agreement, just that we said we should sort something out. I guess I was expecting to speak to you again, but I never did.

    Since then, you have even gone out of business, so I just can’t fathom where this ridiculous claim is coming from – it sounds like you are looking for charity, which I won’t do, so maybe I’ll just have to settle for a mugging. If your henchmen believe your word that I owe you money then I guess I’m fucked.

  • Claire

    Ok I’m not gonna get involved (unless asked to 😉 ) but I do feel the need to add a couple of things in response to the above.

    Firstly does this mean I was banned after Chris’ post because he was disliked or I was too?

    Mainly though I hae to say – Blueberry??? Presumably I am missing something vital?

  • Claire

    OK and whats with the huge smiley?

  • james welch

    yes im looking for charity – i really need it – really. please give. i lost my business, i really did – i am so broke, so please help.

    again, selective journalism – u cannot remember a gentlemans agreement – because indeed, you are not.

    your choice – you are so far removed from reality that you will keep moving from situation to situation like this in your life in general – notice a pattern?

    is everyone you come across like this or have you found a common demonitator in yourself?

  • Claire


    I have to make one comment even though I am trying to keep out of this. You keep insisting Chris is being one sided and un gentlemanly? This is his personal blog so this is the place for that surely? The fact that you have posted a discussion about him on a public forum that you have banned him from responding too is surely very onesided and ungentlemanly? Even when he tried to make a sensible response through a moderator you used that to have another go?

    I apologise if ungentlemanly isn’t a word.

    IMHO if you have an issue you sould deal with it – one of the reasons stokepoker fell apart was through us not talking things through in person with some of the members – members who were and still are good guys. Both Chris and I wished things had turned out differently but they didn’t. The one thing Chris regretted about his night at the Grov was the fact that when he saw Rob he didn’t really get a chance to speak to him. If we saw any ex members of Stokepoker out now we would say hi to them, if they choose not to talk to them, that is up to them. You have a core group on your forum it seems yet in the recent thread you have said you don’t care if it kills your forum. Thats just sad.


  • Claire

    Any btw I have no issues you posting that to your forum – after all I too am still banned for being Chris’ partner….

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