Do you believe in fate or that everything happens for a reason? It sure feels that way sometimes.
Nine or ten years ago, I decided to go meet some friends in Leeds city centre for a few drinks, which turned into a lot of drinks by the end of the night. On my way to the taxi rank I saw a man pin a woman against a wall and shaping to hit her. Despite me not being able to fight my way out of a wet paper bag, I ran towards him to intervene, only to receive a punch to the face that knocked me to the floor. I landed heavily on my right arm, my fingers touched my forearm and I knew that my wrist or arm was broken.
I’ll spare you all the other details, although it’s a pretty interesting story – ask me to tell you over a couple of drinks at Dusk Till Dawn some time – but this incident was the start of my career in the poker world.
I worked in a warehouse for the mobile phone operator O2 at the time of my non-fight so was signed off work while my arm was in a cast. One day, bored of watching Diagnosis Murder, I went to the White Rose Shopping Centre and saw an advert for an online poker site in the toilets of all places! When I returned home, I decided to check out the site, stuck £100 online and promptly lost it all within 10-minutes at a $0.50/$1 table. I didn’t have a clue what was going on – some probably say I still don’t – put another £50 onto the site and lost that.
Although I’d lost £150 in less than half-hour I had a feeling that there was more to this game than simply gambling, and started to do some research into tactics and strategies. I found a couple of poker forums, discovered there were several books about how to play poker and I threw myself into the game, determined to learn everything about it.
First paid gig
After a short while I started to become a winning player, only slightly but I was playing a game where I occasionally won a few sheckles. It was at this time that I began writing a blog about playing poker and the shenanigans I was getting up to. This blog was read by someone at Betfair who said they’d pay me for a weekly blog so long as I removed 99% of the swearing, stopped talking about going out and getting trolleyed all the time, and kept it poker related. Pud’s Poker Progress was born.
From here, I was asked to write the occasional poker news article, then basic strategy pieces before being told there was an opening for a live tournament reporter with PokerNews. I had an on-the-job trial, was successful and before I knew it I was heading to Barcelona to report on a European Poker Tour Main Event.
Since then I have travelled around Europe to places such as Cannes, Prague (where I am writing this article from), Slovenia, Berlin, and even twice to Las Vegas watching some of the world’s best poker players win vast sums of money that us mere mortals can only dream of.
Four-and-a-half years ago I was offered the job of Editor for the UK & Ireland arm of PokerNews.com, another role that I absolutely love. I spend a decent chunk of my day writing about the goings on in the UK & Ireland poker worlds, interview players, and get to talk poker to all and sundry and all from the comfort of my own home – no commuting FTW!
I’ve written articles for partypoker for a few years, but it is only recently that I started working on the blog and social media channels on a regular basis. Dany Willis messaged me on Skype while I was in Las Vegas for the 2014 World Series of Poker (thinly veiled brag) and said he’d handed his notice in at partypoker and that I should apply for his role, which I did and here I am today.
So now I juggle the role of editor for PokerNews, live tournament reporter, and looking after the social media channels and blog for partypoker. Many people think social media is a case of firing a handful of tweets during the day, which when you break it down to its bare bones it is, but believe me when I tell you there is meticulous planning between myself and Jessica Tomsett (read about her in this Meet our People) about what and how we are going to tweet and what content is going to appear on our blog.
If you ever want to chat about poker know about partypoker promotions, how to get into poker, request strategy articles, or just chew the fat about anything (within reason) that hit me up on the partypoker Twitter or Facebook or on my own Twitter account and I’d be more than happy to.
Good luck at the tables!