5 Minutes with... Neil Channing
Brit poker legend, former staker of homegrown poker talent and now head honcho of his own poker training and staking outfit, BlackBelt Poker, Neil Channing takes time out to chat with WPT Poker. Marvellous.
Plug BlackBelt Poker in ten words or less.
Improvement through training, community interaction, aspiration and backing equals profits.
Who’s the best BlackBelt prospect for 2011?
Kevin Williams could have a breakout year.
Which player would you love to stake who you haven’t yet done so?
Jake Cody would make a fantastic Black Belt. I'd love to gamble $10,000 a month on him.
What’s on your iPod?
Where is my iPod, more like. I left it on a plane and was too lazy to contact Lost Property in time. After three months, they sell them and give the profits to charity, y’know.
Who’s your personal hero?
Carlos Mortensen and Erik Siedel. There are a few others who also still terrify me at the table and make me nervous when I meet them.
What song do you want played at your funeral?
The Smiths - There is a Light That Never Goes Out.
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
The power to stop lending out money which I know I won't get back.
I’ll never bet on “___” again?
The stock market. There was a time when I thought I was an expert on that. It turns out I'm not.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a vet for a while. Then I realised it would involve operations and blood and so I flirted with the idea of being an actor, a stock market trader, an auctioneer and an antique dealer. I
settled on bookmaker, which nicely combines all of those.
Were you a swot at school or a rebel?
There were two definite groups at our school so I formed a third group, which was geeky and non-conformist. We did well in our schoolwork in a rebellious way. There weren't many people in our group.
What's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to you?
“I've got that money that I owe you.”
And what's the worst?
“I need a favour,” or “I have an idea which would be great for Black Belt; let me tell you about my business plan…”
Tell us a joke.
I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time", so I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
Dream poker table - you and 5 people, alive or dead.
Any five of the regular guys at the Vic. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether they are alive or dead, though.
Who was your biggest boyhood crush?
When was the last time you cried?
At the funeral of my friend, Mark. He was an inspiration to me and he died this year at 46.
What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do?
Win a WSOP bracelet.
If you could go back in time, where and when would you go?
1999. Poker was way easier and I can remember the results of thousands of horse races and football matches for the next four years.
“Are you playing tomorrow?”, and “What time can you get here?”
How would you spend your last 24 hours on Earth?
Catching up on my Facebook page.
What's the most expensive thing you've ever blown your winnings on?
What's the worst job you've ever had?
Loading chilled foods into trays inside a refrigerated warehouse. Eight hours of low temperatures while we enjoyed a lovely hot summer outside. I was 16.
Who would play you in a Hollywood film about your life?
A young Michael Caine.
Who would you rather be stuck in a lift with – Phil Hellmuth or Phil Ivey?
Phil Hellmuth would be better for me as with Phil Ivey I always find myself totally tongue-tied and nervous. With Hellmuth I wouldn't have to worry, as even I wouldn't get a word in edgeways.
Best British player to look out for in 2011?
Neil Channing is going to have a great year.
Have you lied at any point in this interview?
I don't think I lied; I didn't even semi-bluff.