$55 and probably £35 is the highest tornament entry fees I'd played before November of last year. Pokerstars had a homecoming to the Isle Of Man for a UKIPT. Usually these qualifiers are way above my pay grade but on this occasion there were bankroll friendly to me and I found myself cutting a swathe through 300ish other hopefuls with a mixture of good hands, good timing and two outers. I'd won a seat, worth 20x anything I'd ever played before. I was in genuine disbelief.

To make things even better/daunting the line up was getting announced via Twitter, big name after big name, Mercier, Cody, Boeree, Greenstein, Coren, Rousso, Haxton and Negreanu. For someone like me, a poker fan before I'd actually played. It really was incredible. Still, I really, really wanted a deep run. I didn't want to go there just for the experience. Now, given the field, that would be a tough task.

In my immediate excitment I'd forgotten that I suffer mild travel sickness and the Isle Of Man, as the title suggests, is surrounded by the choppy Irish Sea. The Ferry journey was rough. I'd sat mostly and when I did stand up I genuinely thought I was having some sort of episode. I just hung about the toilets mostly after that, The cabin crew assured me this was a 7 on the choppy scale. Must be 7 out of 5, I thought. Why didn't I fly?

When you qualifiy for a UKIPT you get a wee goodie bag, It's something I've always been aware of. I've always wanted one. Playing cards, An Isle Of Man poker t-shirt and a UKIPT jacket. I'll take it, I was tempted to wear the t-shirt but I did not want to tell everyone I was a fish, I'll at least make them find out for themselves.

Regging for day 1b was the only option for me, I knew 1a was maybe softer, but all the pros were playing 1b. Easy choice. I sat down eagerly at 12, another small mistake, and played three handed for a while. The table slowly filled up, I was feeling good. Then Barry Greenstein sat down, It was all a bit surreal for me. I admire Barry greatly for his charity work, still, I'd take his chips. I didn't of course, he had a deep run. I went out midway through day 2, roughly 100th. My day two table was tougher than day 1, I found myself sandwiched between a Full Tilt sponsored player and the reigning UIKPT champ. I could tell you about the hands, but It's not really important. You've heard it all before. I didn't think the standard was above me, in fact I felt comfortable. The slow blind levels and deep starting stack should ensure that you can play your way into these tournaments. They really are perfect for a recreational player wanting a big tournament experience.

It's obviously made me want to play more, I enjoyed being able to hang in for a day and a half on two pretty tough tables. To me the best thing about it was the people. The other players, I never heard a bad word, raised voice or some percentage followed by the words hit and donkey. It all made me feel welcome. That's the main reason that'll keep trying to satelilite my way into more UKIPT's. I'll just never, ever, take another Ferry.