Update 12th March:
There is now also a German version of my contribution online. Feel free to share with the comic geeks among your buddies.
Poker is a lot about patience, hard work and dedication. I got a lot of coaching over my 15-year career as a player. I got trained by fellow players, I have been looking over the shoulder of sharks while taking photos at international tournaments, I learned about the power and the weaknesses of the mind but I never expected I would learn useful lessons about perseverance from a comic book designer :-) In order to set the stage, I am not into comics myself - at all. Not that I have something against this form of art - it is just not spontaneously appealing to me. I'm into a lot of various things: photography, astronomy, history, aviation, boarding on asphalt or on water in various states and environmental or social activism. What I am also into (A LOT) on the other hand, is documenting how and why interesting people do intriguing things - especially those I know little or nothing about.
So here I am today, publishing this post about a comic book. Fair enough, the book is about Poker but there is significantly more to say about Anish Patel and his FINAL NINE comic book project.
I met Anish in Nottingham where he was one of THE FESTIVAL guests in order to showcase his book and we had a few discussions. He is very friendly and seriously passionate about Poker. As a recreational player, he got into the game during the 2000s when our favourite card game got great media exposure through various TV productions during the Peter Eastgate and Joe Cada years. At the time, Anish was working on a bunch of short film scripts including one specifically about Poker - a very dark storyline of illegal games with body parts at stake.
Friendly guy, huh ?! :-D The dark Poker film never came to be but the airing of the WSOP 2008 final table taken down by youngster, Peter Eastgate, and how each player was introduced during the show featuring background stories inspired him to work on what came to be his Final Nine comic book. As a matter of fact, beside being into films, he was also a lot into graphic novels at that time. Producing a film takes a lot of money and an extensive staff - things Anish was lacking at the time. What he had was time and an incredible amount of dedication to put in the effort.
The book features plenty of Poker content mixed with a lot of fictional background stories, more specifically about Christoph Schulze (green hoodie), the reigning champion and the only European left in play for a back to back appearance at the final table in Joe Cada fashion, a spectacularly rare thing to see, especially since the fields got huge after the Moneymaker-induced Poker boom of the early 2000s.
The German math graduate has travelled the world since becoming champion. During his travels playing Poker, Christoph was forced to take some time off, due to a favour he did for a childhood Friend. He thought he was helping him but he found out a dark secret which nearly cost him in returning to the Main Event tournament to defend his championship title.
In Anish's story, Christoph makes it to the final table with a similar stack of chips as he did in the previous year when he took it down. The question is: 'Will he do it again?'
It took Anish about 14 years (!!) to put all the pieces together and the book can now be ordered and shipped all over the world.
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