I've just been looking at my Google Calendar and notice that there is a lot going on in the poker world at the moment.

Here's just some of what is coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Poker on TV (in the UK at least)

PartyPoker's Womens Open III (coverage of this has already started)
Late Night Poker starting next Tuesday (the 8th Sept) on Channel 4

Online Events

WCOOP on Pokerstars (starts tonight)
MiniFTOPS XIII (starts Sept 9th)

Live Events

GUKPT Cardiff (Main Event starts today)
EPT Barcelona (Main Event starts tomorrow)
WSOP Europe (kicks off on the 17th Sept)
WPT Merit Cyprus Classic (Main Event starts this Sunday, the 6th Sept)

Phew, looks like there's something for everyone!

The blog has been a little quiet lately. This is due to the wonders that are Twitter and Facebook :-)

Basically, I've been spending far too much time on both.

Anyway, if the blog goes quiet again you'll probably find me tweeting over on Twitter. You can find me there at http://twitter.com/ordinarymark.

I've just been reading the statement put out by Rupert Read, the Green Party candidate for the upcoming Norwich North by-election, on the Rackheath eco-town project, one of the eco-towns that the UK government is currently in the process of building.

The point he is making about the proposed new by-pass to link this eco-town to Norwich is an example of the one, really big concern I had when these eco-towns were announced, the fact that you need to build a whole new road system to link these eco-towns to existing towns and cities in the area where they are being built. A new, large, road building programme is never going to be good for the environment.

Here's my pennies worth.

Instead of eco-towns, how about eco-suburbs, built in suitable, environmentally friendly sites, around existing towns and cities. That way the amount of new road building to link these new developments is kept to a minimum and it wouldn't take much to extend the existing public transport infrastructure to include these areas.

I know this doesn't sound as 'sexy' or headline grabbing as eco-towns, but I would've thought it would be better for the environment, which is the whole point after all.

Oh well.

Despite the better press coverage, despite the 44% increase in the vote and despite details such as the party beating Labour into 5th place in the South West and polling the highest amount of the vote in areas such as Brighton and Norwich, the Green Party of England and Wales is still left with just 2 MEP to keep up the party's good work in the European Parliament.

It is a shame that we have lost out on at least one seat due to the fact that the number of MEP's this time round was cut from 78 to 72, meaning that the South West area now only has 6 MEP's instead of the 7 MEP's it had before the elections last week. I say it is a shame because if the number of MEP's for the South West had remained at 7 then the 7th MEP would have been the first Green party candidate for the South West, Ricky Knight.

It is a shame that the party missed out on a seat in the East of
England by (if my calculations are right) 1% or 15,945 votes.

It is also a shame that the party missed out on a seat in the North West by 0.4% or 4,961 votes (This is the seat in the North West that went to the BNP).

The news gets worse. If the votes for the European Parliament was taken as a whole nation instead of region by region the Green Party would have got 6 MEP's instead of 2 (as illustrated at the site http://icon.cat/util/elections/ddumGbgDXU).

So what good news can be taken from this.

Well, as already mentioned, the party increased it's share of the vote by 44% from the 2004 election results. That's a big deal and something the party can build on in the run up to the next General Election which has to take place within the next 12 months.

The other big thing to take from these results is that the Green Party won the biggest share of the vote in Brighton and in Norwich, which puts the party in the best position it has ever been in to win seats in these area's in the General Election, and as we have seen, with the exemplary work of Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert, it only takes a few good people to make a positive and substantial difference.

The other positive thing to take from all this is the success the party had in the local elections.

In my own neck-of-the-woods in Gloucestershire, we now have a Green councilor on the county council and the Green party have added significantly to their numbers in areas such as Lancaster and Norwich and now have 123 councillors on 42 councils in England and Wales.

The party is making progress and needs to keep up the hard work. It is easy to look at the European elections and be downcast that the number of MEP's didn't increase this time round, but it will happen as long as the hard work continues.

This coming Thursday is Euro Election day, the day we get to vote on which political party you want to represent you in the European Parliament (otherwise know as your MEP's).

In case you haven't realised, I'll be voting for the Green Party and anyone who has doubts over the three main political parties in the UK in light of the ongoing expenses scandals might want to think seriously about using their vote for the Green Party.

The party's manifesto for the Euro elections can be found here and there is a news feed from their website at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news.html or an RSS feed at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news.rss (you should be able to see the 5 most recent entries from the RSS feed down the right hand side of this page)

I would urge anyone thinking about not voting this Thursday (the 4th June) to think again and take a look at what the Green Party has to offer.

Almost another win...

Almost had my second tournement win tonight.

I've been following a poker site called ChiliPoker on Facebook and Twitter and they have announced via both sites that they are holding a series of 'Community Freerolls' for people following them on these sites.

The first freeroll was tonight so I though I'd give it a go.

The tournement started off with 45 players and I managed to get heads up with a very aggresive player and was doing OK until I ran into the hand below. Usually, in heads-up play, top pair with a King kicker is a pretty good hand, until you find your opponent was slow playing Pocket Queens! Here it is:


This left my opponent with a commanding chip lead and I then crashed out of the game 9 hands later when I shoved with Kd 6d and he called with Ks 4s and hit a 4 on the flop!

Oh well.

The next on of these 'Community Freerolls' is on the 10th May at 1600 BST so I'll have to see if I can make that one and go one better!

This is taken from the Bible reading I read today. It is taken from a book of Bible readings called 'Celtic Daily Light' by Ray Simpson and is taken from the January 23rd reading:

Finally, we recall the occasion when someone asked Antony [The Great], 'What shall I keep in order that I may please God?' Antony advised this person to keep these three things: 'Always keep God before your eyes; always keep the example of the holy Scriptures; and wherever you stay, keep yourself there long enough not to move on in a rush.'

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