Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Hottest Poker Chick Over 40" Award

To say I am thrilled to win this year's Hottest Poker Chick Over 40 award is something of an underestimate. Shortly after taking hold of the 60 pound bronze-cast Ace of Spades trophy, I was also given the Happiest Recipient Ever award on account of the two-foot grin I had permanently stuck on my face for the next four hours until I fell off my chair at the Aviation Club bar and had to be wheeled home.

Unfortunately owing to time restrictions I wasn't able to give the two-hour speech that I really wanted to. So Here It Is in blog form.

First off, thanks to the organisers of the European Poker Awards, especially Nic Szeremeta. Paris was tres tres gorgeous and - together with my media coaching team Hass and Rury from Siktilt, and my lovely friends Jesse and Mickey May - I had a superb time. Highlights included:
a) gatecrashing Betfair's dinner for Annette15 (thank you Frode and Ollie)
b) seeing the Christmas lights in the Champs Elysses
c) visiting Montmartre and the Sacre-Coeur
d) wearing a dress
e) having a hot date with Benjamin Gallen

Winning the Award was one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life. I've never won anything. I was suspended as school prefect after only two days and I have never won a Scratchcard lottery ticket. I can't even win a $3 SNG on PokerStars. And I won this award (Casino Staff Person of the Year) for doing something I absolutely love - hanging out at poker tournaments, working with the media, doing little pie-charts showing how many Scandies there are at EPTs (millions), travelling all over Europe, arguing with Conrad Brunner (Head of Communications, EMEA) and stealing bathroom products and ashtrays from luxury hotels. Also I get to work alongside some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life.

There are two people I really wanted to thank for all this: Conrad Brunner and John Duthie. I have known Con for 12 years. We are poker buddies and we also run the Hold'em100 charity poker tournament in London every year in aid of the Royal Marsden. I adore Conrad (this is well-documented) and I love working with him. Conrad got me into PokerStars in the first place by asking me to hand out baseball caps to losers at the very first EPT in Barcelona in 2004. This made me incredibly unpopular with just about everyone at that event and it has been quite hard work ever since to convince them I'm not a total bitch.

And then there is John Duthie. John Duthie IS the EPT so without John, I wouldn't have a job and nor would dozens of other people. I adore John Duthie (this is also well-documented) not just because he's is a wonderful and loyal friend but also he's a VISIONARY and it's not often you get to meet one of those.

Lastly and most importantly I want to thank all the journalists who attend the EPTs. You all work incredibly hard. You don't grumble (much). You are great fun to work with and the EPT wouldn't be what it is without you guys. Your enthusiasm has been critical in turning the EPT into a massive success. And without being too disgustingly emotional about it all, I think we've become a rather lovely family. So I will carry on creating little nationality pie-charts for you all, and I hope you will all carry on coming to our tournaments. Many thanks to all of you, Mad Harper (corrections to follow shortly)