dallas trip report and some news

April 6, 2011 | 2:40 am | JCarver

The last few months have been pretty unusual.  Typically, I fill my time with poker, both online cash and live tournaments – but this hasn’t been the case at all in 2011.  Since PCA, I haven’t played much poker or traveled, staying outside the whole poker scene in general.  I needed a break after the super grind of late 2010 and this blog was a neglected victim of that break.  I’m happy I finally finished the origins post and I’m glad it seems to have turned out pretty well as a whole project.

In 2011, I’ve turned my attention towards a few different new projects outside of poker, one of which is taking up a heavy focus on UFC sportsbetting.  I really enjoy it and feel like I have a pretty big edge (an important part of the equation, I hear).  I have finally got the equipment here that I can do videoblogs with fight breakdowns a day or so before events with my picks, which would be great if not for the fact that there’s only one UFC event in the next 6 weeks.  March was a great month for sportsbets -  I broke a bunch of personal records for how much action I had on both single events and single fights and was lucky enough to scoop many of them, going 17-5 and winning 13.5u overall, putting me at 49-19 and +29.2u since I started keeping track at UFC 117 in August.  Not enough to have a significant sample, but a good start.

In addition to UFC sportsbetting, my other new project that I’ve been gladly pouring time into is my first venture into e-sports.  I’ve been a longtime fan of Starcraft and have been active in Starcraft 2 since beta, spending many nights in the past year watching GSLs and such enjoying the skills and talents displayed by the top-end players.  In trying to learn to be a better player myself, I found the lack of comprehensive resources somewhat frustrating and realized how awesome it would be to gather not just the best players in the game but also the best instructors in a one-stop top of the line site for Starcraft training, a la Cardrunners or PokerVT.  From this idea, Six Pool Gaming (SPG) was born.  The plans took flight as I was quickly able to put together an amazing team of administrators and players who shared in this vision which is rapidly approaching reality.

Between conception to now, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting a variety of players and leaders in the e-sports industry.  I’m lucky to have a few of these people onboard or in a partnership with Team SPG, dedicating their time and energy to a project that we are working hard on to produce the best possible product for the ultimate benefit and enjoyment of the community and hopefully the entire e-sports scene.  The staff and instructors are intelligent, well-spoken and motivated individuals and I’m honored to work beside them and beyond that to call a few of them friends.  It’s definitely surreal to go from a fanboy on the internet to being in partnership with some of my SC2 heroes, and seeing the SPG patches and hats out and about at MLG came with a pretty strong feeling of pride and accomplishment – it’s pretty atypical in my line of work to be able to find such a neat project that you actually have a passion for and building it has been amazing.

MLG Dallas was my first chance to meet many of the people I’d been working with for months now online.  After being shocked at how few flights flew from New York to Dallas nonstop (and it was like 2k, admittedly last minute but still), I ended up on a mediocre airtran flight and got in early Thursday morning.  That evening, I met up with some of the SPG team for our second photoshoot.  Some of the SPG team members there included Team Dignitas’ Sjow, Select, and Zaccubus, Team Fnatic’s Gretorp and Xeris, and Team Liquid’s Ret.  Here’s a video and some photos from the shoot:

BTS_Dallas

BTS_Dallas

BTS_Dallas

The photoshoot went great, it took awhile but in the end we had something north of 1000 photos taken.  After we finished, everyone was pretty exhausted and called it a night to rest for MLG day 1 on Friday.

This was my first MLG and I wasn’t really sure how it would be.  Once I got to the convention center, the best way I can describe it is like a mix between a poker tournament and E3, with all the organization of neither.  I’m pretty sure nobody knew exactly how the brackets worked, people just played their matches and waited to hear their name get called hopefully at some point not too far in the future.  Also at MLG were Halo and Call of Duty matches which really only influenced the event as far as I was concerned by lowering the average age to high teens instead of the 20something crowd that the Starcraft field most consisted of.  It also felt very strange to be on the business side of a tournament for once and not a player.  Pretty major role reversal for me.

One thing that struck me as odd were how many spectators there were, even on day 1.  It was a pretty impressive turnout all in all.   Another surprise was that in all my years being friends and all with Daniel Negreanu and watching him get approached by fans every so often did not come close to the amount of fan interaction that I witnessed some of the SC pros experience.  It was pretty cool to see the fanbase so passionate and that the pros were almost all down-to-earth people who had no problem engaging with the fans.

I met a ton of awesome people over the days at MLG.  I quickly realized I had to switch from my 7-year long default greeting in poker of “Hey I’m Jason/JCarver,” to “Hey I’m Jason Somerville from Six Pool Gaming,” which felt admittedly uncomfortably professional for a little while.

Our team pro Select ended up getting 3rd, a great finish, and there were several other impressive runs and great games played by our pros.

Here are a few photos from MLG :

MLG_2011Dallas_127

MLG_2011Dallas_115

MLG_2011Dallas_101

MLG_2011Dallas_076

MLG_2011Dallas_039

It was definitely a unique trip and it was a ton of fun.  It felt like I was visiting a cousin’s house or something, like some sort of bizarro poker world – same sort of age range, same sort of fluent specific-to-the-game language, same super competitive game and personalities, and I was a businessman almost nobody knew instead of a player, haha.  I had a great time and wish all my SC2 friends weren’t so far flung across the world since a lot of them are pretty awesome people (another unfortunate similarity with poker).  Anyway, I’ll have the chance to see everyone again soon enough – I’m going to be next on the road again for a few poker tournaments but there is some cool real-life SPG business to be done soon enough :)

P.S.  If you want to follow SPG for updates and stuff :

Six Pool Gaming

http://www.facebook.com/#!/SixPoolGaming

http://twitter.com/sixpoolgaming

and to complete my whoredom, my own twitter is http://twitter.com/#!/JasonSomerville

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