on 14:13

A few of you have asked about Black Belt Poker and what is entailed in this grading process that I have been selected for.... so here it is, straight from the horse's mouth.

Black Belt Poker Grading Information

Dates: 27th April- 24th May 2009

What does the Grading involve?

The Grading is an intensive online trial through which players will stream themselves into ‘belts’ dependant on which they will then be backed by Black Belt Poker for live events.

The top eight as determined through the Grading will become Brown Belts, winning a $20,000 WSOP package and further backing in the UK thereafter.

There are 50 places available on the Grading, players were advised to sign up to the scheme only if they are prepared to continue with it throughout the month, as others who have missed out on a place cannot be introduced partway through.

Over four weeks, players will play a minimum of six hours online per day, five days a week (four tables minimum preferable, two for HU).


Week 1: $0.25/$0.50 NLHE 6max/HU, PLO or $10+1 minimum STTs.
Week 2: $0.25/$0.50 NLHE 6max/HU, PLO or $20+2 minimum STTs
Week 3: $0.50/$1 NLHE 6max/HU, PLO or $30+3 minimum STTs
Week 4: $1/$2 NLHE 6max/HU, PLO or $50+5 minimum STTs

You will be expected to play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and one day per weekend.

The Grading will take place on Boylepoker.com,

Every Thursday you will be required to attend a live Workshop in London.
It is not a training day, more of an exchange of information on how the Grading is progressing and a chance to analyze your play and development and those of the others undertaking the scheme.

How is the Grading judged?

You will be judged on an ongoing basis in four categories which are all important to your overall Grading:

1) Profit – We will be looking for a solid win rate over all four weeks. A steady upward curve at each level is more important than overall winnings.
2) Commitment – The time and effort each player puts into completing the Grading will be taken into account. The Grading challenges players to play a certain number of hours per day; those who stick most closely to the guidelines will be graded higher.
3) Willingness to learn – the weekly Workshops are compulsory for completing the Grading, and you will be judged on your willingness to contribute to them, listen to others, and analyze your own play.
4) Contribution to the community – Whether you write content for the site, share your experience with the media or the Black Belt Poker community, blog or post hands for discussion, contribution to the blackbeltpoker.com site is an integral part of the Grading.

What do I get if I complete the Grading?

Black Belt Poker intends to create a tiered system of backed players, with the top level bringing with it a massive sponsorship package. The few players who make it to Black Belt status will receive a deal allowing them to take their seats in the most prestigious tournaments at home and abroad, live the dream and raise their profile hugely live and online.

Black Belt Poker will be allocating sponsorship to live events to those who complete the Grading successfully. The top eight players overall (assuming 50 entries) will be allocated Brown Belt status, which includes a $20,000 WSOP package (entry to the Main Event and $10,000 worth of side events, flights and accommodation from the 14th June to the ME). Upon returning to the UK, they will receive a minimum of $4,000 per month to be spent on live tournament entries (subject to terms and conditions). Live tournament winnings will be split 50/50 with Black Belt Poker after makeup. Brown Belts will also be the pool of players from whom the first Black Belts will be chosen.
A large proportion of players who complete the Grading but miss out on Brown Belt status will become Blue Belts. They will receive $1,500 in live tournament buy-ins per month, and have the chance to be promoted to Brown Belt in the course of the following months.

There is a place in Black Belt Poker for everyone who completes the Grading; Green Belts will be awarded to any who do not make the first two grades, and their following contribution to the poker and main sites will be taken into account. The idea is to build a poker meritocracy where the amount of time and effort contributed by the players is directly rewarded through the awarding of higher belts with their accompanying benefits.

I will be giving it my best shot and the goal that I am trying to achieve will be to make a Black Belt after becoming a Brown Belt, Black Belts will receive $10,000 per month for live tournament play in the UK and Europe.

Sponsorship of any sort nowadays is very hard to come by, most of the requirements that candidates are to be judged on should come as second nature to me but no-one can guarantee delivering a profit over a given period as you cant guarantee how your going to run.

Good luck to all the other candidates who have made it through to the grading process.

All candidates have to go to London on the 28th April for an induction meeting and I will be doing regular updates and posts with my progress after this date.



James Atkin said...

Hey Steve,

I'll be doing the grading myself. You're mates with Stu Rutter right? Shall be seeing you on Tues 28th!


voiceofjoe said...

I've found this blog via Mike Saban.

Good Luck with this Steve,and hopefully you can make the grade you hope for.

The selection criteria does seem a little skewed though, with the judging of your ability being online Cash/STT's yet the sponosrship being for Live Tournaments.

Phil Hellmuth/Daniel Negreanu (both being crap cash game players)would never have made it past the qualifying stages

L4Y SP said...

sorry it took so long steve , but ur added now, regards L4

Dom said...

Hiya mate. Yeah im doing this too. Will be good to catch up.

Phillipia said...

Thanks for the explanation, Steve. Congrats and good luck. I will be following your progress in your blog - maybe not always understanding, but still following:)

Kev said...

Good luck with grading Steve,looks like you got a busy few weeks,pack them clubs back in the garage....keep posted.Kev

dougee said...

i'm on the apparent reserves list(me thinks this is just a way of making me not leave your site). So if someone backs out I guess I will be playing

Steve H. said...

James, Thanks mate and see you in London. - I hope I'm mates with Stu, I think he's forgiven me for sucking out AQvTT at the GCBT in Nottingham 07
Voiceofjoe, thanks for dropping by.
I think that they want to identify the players that stick to their rules the most - when studying for Blackbelts in Martial Arts you attain by understanding, Interpetation and obeying. I imagine that Neil & Co want players around them that they can trust. I just hope that I can make it through to the Brown Belt status.
L4Y SP, thanks mate.
Dom, Catch up with you in London mate.
Thanks Phillipa x
Thanks Kev, but I'm still hoping to get out for the odd game here and there - you need to make the most of this decent english weather.
Hi Dougee, I think you might get in mate. I know of at least 2 people who have changed their minds because of other committments and stuff so we could see each other in London. Good luck mate and thanks for dropping by.

Reggie said...

Well done on getting selected Steve, hope you do well, keep us poted on how youre doing, i recon the daily 6 hrs will be proper ball ache. Anyway good luck.

Reggie (Robinhood)

Steve H. said...

Thanks Reggie,

Good job i got big balls then ;-)