Dave Collins (left) is one of two moderators (the other being his son Scott Collins) for my local forum the Newcastle Poker Forum (abbreviated as NPF in future reference during this interview).
Ahead of the NPF 2010 Championship I decided to catch up with the man behind the scenes and coincidentally the current NPF champion, after taking down the NPF 2009 Championship event. Welcome to FTP mate I’m pleased you agreed to this interview and I know for sure our readers will enjoy being in the tank with Octobers guest Dave Collins.
DT "When and how did you get started playing poker? Did you have any inspirational poker players, books, moments, shows, etc that were instrumental for you?."
DC "I first started playing poker after catching my 15 year old son online and asking what he was doing. Turns out he was actually playing poker. I soon downloaded WillHill and playing free money under the table name 'deeirun'. I soon got bored with this as being a gambler, the lure of winning money was too strong. A few Saturday afternoon freerolls later and initial success convinced me the road to riches had been invented and my first cash deposit was made. It took no time at all to be £200 down and then a £2 multi table tournament win gave me a + bankroll.
At the time, I was involved with a good friend of mine betting on football which we were very successful at losing. I thought I better not let him miss out on this chance and told him about this exciting game called poker I had been introduced to. He was soon online himself playing under the name of 'Monacokev' and within a very short period of time the wins started pouring in for both of us (Monacokev has since changed his name to the well known 'Azimut')."
DT "I understand you’re the leader of Teamdobbs, I have a few questions regarding this Newcastle based team. How was the name ‘Teamdobbs’ born? How and when was the group formed?."
DC "The name Teamdobbs was born so simple. I had branched out when I was brave enough into the world of live poker playing Friday nights mainly at the Grosvneor Casino in Newcastle where I met and became very close friends with a young lad called micky “Gyposdog” Chisholm. Each week at the Grosvenor the winner of the multi tournie was given a card marker which we named as " Dobbers " Banter began with us as to who had the most dobbers and from there we chose players who had the same sense of humour and who in our opinion were good lads cos as we all know the game is full of up their own arse wankers. The Grosvenor then on our request decided to have a " Team " event challenge and from their we selected 8 good lads ( not necessary the best 8 players ) who would form Teamdobbs. The crack this created was unreal as week after week we dominated tables with crack which no others could compete against.The prestige of being selected in Teamdobbs has now stuck with these players and the bond has remained. We now have a group of around 12 players."
DT "As mentioned in your introduction along with Scott you launched and now moderate the NPF, so I’d like to ask a few questions regarding this forum. What was your inspiration to create this community? What motivates you to keep providing exceptional NPF events for members to enjoy?."
DC "I was quite an active member on another poker forum when my son S2C suggested we start our own forum to promote local poker in the North East. I thought this was a great idea as basically the local scene was governed by the 3 Casino venues which seemed intent on cutting each others throats instead of working sensibly together. Players also lacked a lot of free information what was available and so S2C put the technical side of it together and I basically become the gob shite/front man for it and we set about promoting it. What really kick started it off and got it noticed was when we did live coverage of the GUKPT in Newcastle to follow and give the local players attention which paid off massive when local lad Ganesh Rao took down the title and that final table 3rd place finisher was no other than the now famous and WSOP Main Event Final Tabler James Akenhead.
A couple of team games played in Blackpool in AWOP & APAT events then really launched the forum into the poker scene and its simply grew and grew with the backbone of the forum based on people enjoying themselves and having good crack at games. Biggest thing that has came out of the forum is the amount of close friendships that have been formed and no matter what game you attend now in Newcastle you can go in knowing you will meet someone from the NPF and have someone to talk to instead of entering into sometimes intimidating surroundings."
DT "What’s your thoughts on the recent Sam James staking controversy over the NPF? For example how do you think it compares/differs to the Steve Gibson revelation?."
DC "We have laid down guidelines at the NPF regarding staking people but the difference between the NPF and other forums where people seek staking is the vast majority of people know each other and can easily make contact should there be any major disputes arise. All Ill say on the subject is that many many players play beyond their bankroll chasing the "big win" as they think it will solve all their aspirations. I dont believe in that as I know many of the younger players especially at the NPF where it would actually cause them more problems than they really understand. Players should simply play within their means and anyone getting staked and not playing that game should have the decency to immediately refund that money or have very good reasons why if unable to and to keep anyone involved up to date with whats happening."
DT "Following on from this I know along with Peter Newton your quite a regular and successful might I add backer, what’s your thoughts on staking in poker? Do you only invest if you see it as highly likely you’ll get an ROI or are you more motivated to give individuals a chance to play an event they otherwise wouldn’t have been bankrolled to play?."
DC "I look for many things tbh but mainly good value. Im deffo prepared to give local players an opportunity but I also would never stake anyone I didnt like."
DT "The annual NPF championships is imminent (Saturday 6th November) and last year this prestigious event was won by none other than your good self, so I’d like to cast your mind back last year and discuss this achievement. Did you find it difficult to fix so that a Teamdobbs affiliate won it two years running? In who’s favour do you intend on fixing it in this year? J/K. Seriously awesome achievement mate, was their any pivotal pots/spots which were instrumental in your victory? How does winning the NPF championships compare to your other poker achievements?."
DC "Well obvoiusly one of the Dobbas will do the honour of keeping the Champion within the camp and I reckon Stumpy, Jimmy Chipmunk or Cardguard Kid will do it. Obviously going to be very difficult for Cardguard to compere and play but if superstition has it then the Smoggie League winners have ran the same way of the NPF Champions. 1: Xenocode 2: Myself 3; Cardguard.
To win the NPF Championship meant so much to me obviously but I also know how much this game means to so many local players so was delighted I was able to take it down last year. 2 huge turning points were The renowned "Faetzy" hand when raising with Ace 10 to run into AQ & AK behind me but cudnt fold due to my stack size and value of pot even knowing Im miles behind. I get lucky making my straight and was back in the game then. I then win a huge pot late in the day with AA being shipped on by KJdd of Scotty Hockings and although he flops the world I hold and go into day 2 as chip leader which to be honest I never really looked like losing. Nice when it runs like that. I obviously hold that win as one of my best achievements for many reasons people outside of the North east may fail to truely understand."
DT "I understand away from the felt you’re the owner of DC Handrails & Ironworks Parts Ltd. and interested to know how you chose that career path? Have you always aspired to be your own boss?."
DC "lol Im a typical Leo and tbh dont like people telling me what to do but I like it the other way around. Was in steel fabrication work until I took the bull by the horns and branched out on my own in a subsidary type of buisness offering a particular service to companies like I used to work for. I did this very successfully for nearly 15 years but became bored and needed a bigger challenge so once I got the right guy to replace me on that side of the business I was doing I formed what is now known as DC Handrails & Ironwork Parts which supplies all kinds of items to fabrication and Engineering Companies. Got in at the right time tbh and particularly in the North East where we were the only people doing what we did. The business grew rapidly and is still growing with new direction coming from Scott who has joined the company and provides us with all his modern technology skills and is moving the company along alot of new paths."
DT "Activities and interests away from the poker table?."
DC "Its amazing how much time the NPF actually takes up my time but I do like travelling and hope to do alot more now Scott is established within the business. My business and family takes up alot of my time but Im also normally busy doing stuff around the house."
DT "Most favourite holiday destination?."
DC "Done alot of travelling tbh and love the Far East where they really know how to look after you properly. As a family we actually like Dominican Republic for a place to relax and chill out and I did really enjoy St Kitts Closer to home we all love Mallorca and could easily spend all summer there if other stuff allowed me. We looked to buy some property there a few years ago but property prices are far too exaggerated there and remain like that still."
DT "I know you’ve regularly got your ipod on whilst at the felt, what sort of music do you listen to whilst playing? Does it differ from music you listen to when away from the felt?."
DC "Omg I could get crucified for this. I listen to all sorts of stuff tbh ranging from up to date stuff to 70 s & 80s classics. Do like R&B with artistes like Ne Yo and lately Ive been hammering Ellie Goulding & Alicia Keys on the old ipod."
DT "Circus, Grosvenor, Aspers?"
DC "Twat of a question!!! They all have something going for them tbh from a personal point of view. G allways has a soft spot for me as its where I played alot of my poker when starting out playing live and met so so many great people there. Still my fav place for the craic and most relaxing place to play. Circus has grown on me although I only probs play there once a week if Im lucky. Cant but be impressed with how they operate and how theve turned that cardroom around and how much effort they put into the local poker scene. Have alot of time for JimmyB there who is one of the nicest and most genuine guys Ive met in the gambling industry.
Aspers have location and most luxury cardroom in the area and be interesting to see how Gary ( Ex Circus) drives their cardroom. Huge scoop for them getting the UKIPT from Poker Stars next year. Massive massive game that for the local area although Ill probably be gutted by missing it as its the same time as my annual WSOP visit to Las Vegas."
DT "I know you frequent Las Vegas regular mainly for the WSOP Seniors World Championships, in addition I know you have had deep runs in 2009 and 2010 finishing 97th and 168th respectively vs. 2,500+ player fields. Do you find the prestige of playing a WSOP event far outweighs playing a CBMPT or GUKPT for example? And how does it compare to playing NPF affiliate tournaments (Championships, Birthday game, Team challenge) for atmosphere, crack, and all round banter?."
DC "Anyone that plays poker and gets the opportunity should aim to play a WSOP Event. All about life experiences and alot of poker revolves around experience. Can never really compare how NPF do their events in comparrison to the others you gave as they simply have totally different approaches for obvious reasons. Its always nice when we get very positive and thanks for our games especially when players tell you thats the best game theve ever played in. Never under estimate the input there from Cardguard as his contribution is deffo unique to what he gives us. Dont play many of them but find GUKPT deffo tougher games than the CBMPT ones."
DT "Most favourite card room in the world to play and why?."
DC "Caesars Place but only during WSOP time as its always been very quiet outside of series time when Ive been but on last years visit I did love playing the new Aria Cardroom, Quality all around from the service to the tables to the valets.
Best tournament Ive played this year was In Mallorca for the 6th leg of the Spanish Poker Open. Deffo will play it next year and the cardroom and setting at The Mallorca Grand Casino was simply awesome."
DT "What part of poker do you dislike and why?."
DC "I really get frustrated by how so many players make the game over complicated and get all aggressive with others when they lose and in most cases its their own faults and theve played badly or not fully understood the situation and look to blame others.
I also get really annoyed at very arrogant players especially the younger element who seem to think by winning a game of poker makes them a better person. They should learn some life skills 1st and then poker 2nd. Alot of them that try to "live the dream" often end up skint and in alot of debt. They must remember that theres a hell of alot more losing players than winning players, they always seem to forget this."
DT "I understand you’ve been on a Caribbean poker cruise, how does playing on one of these luxury ships compare to playing in a brick and mortar casino? I’ve been really interested in going on a poker cruise for some considerable time but never put any wheels in motion? Do you have any companies to recommend booking any future endeavours through? Any advice appreciated."
DC "Loved the one I went on but had some quality company as well mind!!!! The ships they use are awesome and unreal tbh and I understand Ladbrokes have a very good one sailing in January. Cant be arsed to try and qualify online tbh as it doesnt interest me but theres always some packages get sold off at reasonable prices so Id keep an eye out for those nearer the time."
DT “What does the close of 2010 and opening of 2011 hold for Dave Collins? Plans for NPF? Plans for Teamdobbs?.”
DC "Some big plans & changes at work with the introduction of a new network system and alot of new products to market. Weve also invested alot of money in some new stainless steel products and hope to grow our new brand into the UK marketplace and safeguard position there. Business wise 2010 was very tough and I dont expect anything to change that much in 2011 as Im expecting a very very tough year again when you take everything into consideration regarding the economic climate we all face. Pokerwise I still need to ship one of the majors but need to cut out some bad mistakes Ive made when in a position to do.
I leave alot of the new plans and directions of the NPF to Scott and am there to promote and support him in whatever direction he steers it. Simple thing about the NPF is enjoy it as thats what its there for. Sometimes a few arseholes can try and spoil it for the majority but we will never allow that to happen and its only then that those type realise what they miss. Far too many quality people on the NPF and they will always out weigh the ************."
Thank you so much for your time Dave, I’ve really enjoyed bringing FTP fans in the tank with Dave Collins and hope you all enjoyed his views and opinions of life at and away from the felt.