Monday, March 07, 2005

Poker, silly poker

For some strange reason I've suddenly got interested in poker tournaments recently. I suppose the catalyst was a vague request to review an expensive on-line book that claims to show the beginner and intermediate player how to win fame and fortune playing poker tournaments...

There's no doubt that for a skilled AND very lucky few, poker tournaments can offer at least the fortune bit. I know the current world champion of poker very slightly, a nice man named Greg Raymer. I was introduced to him at Foxwoods Casino about four years ago, and since then we've nodded and said hello to each other when our paths have crossed (generally on the way to or from the restaurant or the toilet). Greg generally played seven-card stud (not my game) to a reasonably high standard every weekend. Last year, along with several hundred other hopefuls, he entered the World Series of Poker and ended up winning the thing, along with a life changing $5,000,000 in cash.

The most I've ever won playing a tournament was just over £500, which gives you a warm buzz on the night bus home to North London. But that £500 is dwarfed by the several thousand I've won over the years playing low limit "ring-games." And the £500 wasn't really £500, as I'd spent at least £300 trying to win that weekly tournament in the preceding weeks.

Anyway, last night I entered the largest, stupidest tournament of my life when I ponied up a buck, along with 1549 other players, and survived for a couple of hours to get eliminated in 80th place. That's not a bad achievement, but my winnings came to less than $3.00 which probably makes it the stupidest poker decision I've made in a long time. And the way my pair of Kings got cracked by a pair of Jacks still hurts - the fish caught one of the two remaining Jacks on the turn, and forced me down from 50th to 120th place. The comeback was rather remarkable, but had my Kings stood up, I may have even won the damn thing and a not unsatisfying $300+.

The editor hasn't called back about the book review, but I hope he will. After all, I've been living right, and things deserve to go in my favour every once in a while...



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