Saturday, June 16, 2007

WSOP 2007 - Phil Helmuth

Hey! Phil!

Congrats mate on bracelet number 11.

Good on you cock.

Best wishes,

Phil Diamond


Guys. Girls. Sorry, it's a long long time since I last posted, but you know, wow, like have I been busy, or what.

Anyway. I'm gonna have a go at getting regular again. I know a lot of you have missed my informative blogs and the insightful slant I bring to the great game.

A bit of a cheat, I know, but I'm gonna kick it off with an article I wrote some time ago for the BiG SLiCK in Purley. They posted it on their website, but some of you may not have had the benefit of seeing it yet.

Oh! And by the way. Some d!ck-head who calls himself Alan Windsor Castle has posted a so-called interview I did with him a couple of weeks ago. The guy is a total A-HOLE. The whole thing is a pack of lies in which he totally misreprented what I said and twisted things to try and make me look like some kind of idiot. I must say I am pretty disappointed that BiG SLiCK went ahead and decided to put it on their website. Do not on any account read it.

Oh. And Alan. If you're out there cocker. This thing ain't over yet!

Anyway. Here it is. The article I told you about. It's called Love That Turbo - only it's a shame they don't run that turbo touney anymore. Still.

Dark clouds before my eyes
Can't face the morning skies
Day comes again too soon
I'm waiting for that silver moon
Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like
Another night will make it all right...

Bit of Camel there - playing in the car on the way over to the club. Moon Madness. Blimey. Haven't heard that one for a long time. Good sound. Though not exactly uplifting - for a Wednesday night.

No. I think a little bit of you-know-what is called for. I push the eject button. Then search blindly - fingers riflling through the piles of discs cluttering-up the central console - looking for the one-and-only Mr JW - whilst at the same time making a rather tricky maneouvre at the lights outside 'Chav Central'. (Tesco Extra). Someone sounds their horn at me. Go forth and multiply - I exhort them. A hatchback with blacked-out windows streaks alongside - cuts me up - gains one car-body-length in the queue down Purley High Street. F-r! Anyway. Enough of all that. (Uptight's - out of sight.) So, let's stay in the groove. Hey! It’s Wednesday. Turbo night! I finally manage to grab hold of the one I want and load it into the player. That's more like it! Ladies and gentlemen - please put your hands together for - Mr Johnny Winter. Let's rock!

I get card for seat 6 Caesar’s Palace. Empty chair on my right. Fella on my left is new to me. ‘What’s your name mate?’ I ask. ‘Barnes.’ He says. ‘Barnes. Phil. What are you drinking?’ ‘Oh, nice one,’ says he. ‘Kronenberg. Thanks very much.’ ‘No problemo,’ says I. ‘Anyone else?’ I look around the table.

To Barney’s left is Filthy Sye. He beams at me from under the peak of a tight-fitting corduroy cap. Reminds me of a pair of trousers I once had. Very fashionable at the time. ‘Yeah. Phil. A Kronnie. Ta.’

Next to Sye is an empty chair. Then comes a guy in blue, nice fella, black tash. George, I think his name is. ‘What you havin’ mate?’ I ask. ‘Diet coke. Thanks.’ He smiles.

Next to George is Chris (sans shades – I think he only wears them for the big freeze-outs). Orders a fat Coke. ‘Sure you won’t have a diet?’ I jest with a knowing wink. He laughs roundly at my little quip, but assures me that he’ll take the real, full-bodied thing.

Somehow. (Don’t ask me why). But next thing we’re talking about - Julie Andrews. Yeah. No. That’s it. I do remember. I’m saying that I can’t hear the music. ‘Is it on loud enough?’ ‘It is for me,’ says Chris up the other end of the table. ‘What is it?’ ‘Dunno,’ says Chris. ‘Not Stevie Wonder, is it?’ ‘Nah,’ says Chris. ‘Dunno what it is. Not my kind of music, anyway.’ ‘Right. What is your kind of music?’ I ask. ‘Oh. I like all sorts. Weird stuff.’ ‘Weird?. Weird like what?’ I persist. ‘Oh. The Sound of Music,’ says Chris. ‘What, Julie Andrews?’ ‘Yeah.’ says Chris. ‘Oh. Right,’ I nod encouragingly – thinking, Yeah. That is weird

Next to Chris (a lovely bloke - who clearly needs help) is another face that’s new to me. Well, it’s a while since I’ve been down to the ‘Slick’ – what with all the bother I’ve had lately. Did I tell yer I’ve moved? Yeah. J’sus. Never again. What a drama. But I had to get away. The neighbours. Bad karma. I gotta tell you. Well, I probably will - later - if I have enough Guinness.

Anyway. (Back to the poker). It turns out that guy next to Chris is a bloke called Almir. Very nice guy, as it happens. Very polite. Friendly. ‘Orange juice,’ he says. ‘No ice.’ He’s very specific on this point.

The dealer is Alex. (Know who I mean? Yeah, that’s him. But. To be fair. He is actually a very good dealer). 'No, I'm fine,' he tells me.

‘As for me,’ I announce. ‘I’m in the mood for a pint of Guinness.’ Lovely it is too. Goes down a treat.

Tell me, Alex,’ I enquire, after a deep and cooling throat-load of the dark stuff. ‘What’s the drill on this one? Rebuys are £10, right? And how many chips do we get for the super add-on?’

‘Twenty pounds buys five thousand chips,’ says Alex.

‘Five thousand! Blimey! I think I’ll just sit tight for an hour then. Wait and pick up my five thousand at the break. Thank you very much.’

‘Yeah,’ says Chris. ‘No point in getting involved till then.’ Round the table heads nod sagely. Very good advice, we’re all agreed. Funny none of us follow it.

First out of the blocks is Sye. No surprise there then. The blinds have started at 25-50. He’s betting a 1,000. There’s 125 in the middle. Everyone folds.

‘What’d you have?’ I ask him. ‘Eight, four, off?’

Sye grins that cheeky-wide-bright grin of his.

After that it’s all caution to the winds for most of them. Just Chris and me passing every hand. Barney, George and Sye are at it hammer and tongs. Their stacks going up and down quicker than a you-know-what’s you-know-whats. Then Barney busts-out. Re-buys. Doubles up. It’s all action. Very exciting. (Almost found myself playing a hand at one point).

‘Fast and furious,’ says Sye. He loves it.

After a bit, even Chris can’t resist. Having steadfastly passed everything, he’s suddenly shoving it all in for (of all things) a flush draw on the river. It doesn’t come and he has to re-buy.

But it’s Almir who’s piling-up the chips. The hands he’s getting! AK. JJ. 99. AA. AA again. Then he sneaks in with K2. Hits a King on the flop. He’s walking on water and soon he’s way ahead. A great wall of chips in front of him.

‘Ready for another one?’ says Barney. ‘Uhmmm. Another Guinness would be nice. Cheers.’ Barney gets them in. Play continues.

Till now, I haven’t played a single hand. Get sixes one time. Decide to make a raise. But before it gets to me we’ve had raise and re-raise. I fold. Next thing. George and Mrs Maker are all-in. (Oh yeah. I forgot to say. Mrs Maker has joined us – lovely woman – real lady – sitting on my right). Anyway. It turns out that George has got 2-2. (George, I should tell you, is at it most of the time. He’s busted out at least once. To George 2-2 is a monster). Mrs Maker’s got KJ-off. ‘I’ve come late,’ she explains. ‘I have to get some chips.’ Fair enough. And you know. I'm thinking. There's something almost heroic about the way she said it. And then. Would you believe it? A jack, two queens and a six come on the board. I would have had a house! Instead Mrs Maker takes it all with her pair. George’s volatile stack takes another tumble.

Then I get QJ suited. After the rubbish I’ve been getting, it looks like El Dorado. I make a small raise. Get one caller. A queen hits the flop. I bet out. Other guy folds. And that’s more or less it for me until after the break.

No. Wait a minute. There was one other hand. That’s right.

There are several cries of ‘player down!’ - I remember. Then Angelo joins our table, sitting to Sye’s left. And I get eights. That’s right. My chips have dwindled a bit with the blinds, (they’re up to 100-200 by now), so with enough limpers already in to make the pot worthwhile, I decide to join the merry scramble and shove it all in.

Everyone folds, except for the newly arrived Mutant Ninja Turtle - Angelo. After very little consideration, he calls.

‘Mmmm’ I’m thinking. I didn’t really want a caller – not with 88. ‘So, what’s he got?’ I’m asking myself. Angelo will have put me on a reasonable pair - maybe even a high pair – or AK, AQ – something like that. Which means that either he has a big pair himself, which is worrying. Or, AK. Or, is he playing one of those dark little subterranean reptilian hands of his? I’m hoping it’s the last of these three possibilities..

Then it’s on their backs. And would you Adam&Eve it! Angelo’s got 88 and it’s a split pot.

After that, it’s the break.

'Coming outside for a smoke, Phil?' Almir invites me. 'Yeah. Why not?' I agree. But now I remember that I didn't bring any cigars with me. I've deliberately left them at home. I'm really trying to cut down. You know? Funny - I felt very positive about it earlier. Taking control and all that. But now. Now that Almir's put it into my head - I'm suddenly busting for one. 'I can't,' I tell him. 'I didn't bring my cigars with me.' 'Here. Have one of mine.' Almir waves a pack of ciggies in front of me. 'Nah. Thanks for the offer, Almir, but no.' 'You only smoke cigars?' he asks. 'Yeah', I whine. 'Ok,' he shrugs and walks to the door. Bugger it! I could really murder a smoke now. But instead I have to make do with a plate of Manuel's marinated chicken on a bed of rice (delicious as it happens) washed down with a cooling pint of Guinness. Very nice. Well. I was bluddy starving hungry. And that always makes food taste better. Dunnit? (Sorry Manuel. Only kidding mate. No. Honestly. The food really is really, really nice. Honestly. No. It is. I was only kidding. For f-k's sake, Manuel. You don't have to be like that about it. It was only a joke, for Chr-st's sake. All right. All right. I said I'm sorry. Chill, why don't you? 'king hell).

Then it’s freezeout. Time for some proper poker. Right? You must be joking.

Blinds are 200-400. On the button, I get AQ–suited. I make it 1200 to go. It folds round to George who’d just limped in. He pauses. Looks at me and smiles. Looks at his cards. Then looks at me again. ‘You’ve got me worried,’ he says. ‘You haven’t played a hand for an hour.’ ‘If you’re worried, you’d better fold my friend,’ I advise. He shows me a king and mucks. ‘Good fold,’ I congratulate him.

Then all of a sudden, I get a succession of very playable hands – especially for a turbo. AJ-suited. AJ-off. 88 - again. 22. AQ-off. But, you know, you can get too many hands sometimes. Well that’s what I think. I mean, sometimes you just don’t want another marginal playable hand. You’re bound to end-up in trouble with one of them. Know what I mean?

Anyway. I call with the AJ-suited – miss the flop – fold to a bet. I call with the AJ-off– miss the flop – fold to a bet. The 88 I raise-up to 1800 (blinds are 300-600 by now) – everyone folds. I dump the twos. The AQ-off is another story.

I limp. And all of a sudden, George is all-in. And Mrs Maker follows. One of them I’d call – but two? There’s got to be a pair or AK out there. So, I fold. On there backs. What do I find? George has got 85-suited. Mrs Maker A9-off. They both miss. Mrs Maker takes the pot.

‘I folded AQ for you two.’ I smile through gritted teeth. George manages to smile and frown at the same time. He clearly doesn’t believe me. ‘You shouldn’t be playing poker then,’ he admonishes. ‘You don’t believe me, do you?’ I plead. George arches one eyebrow. No, he doesn’t.

A few Guninesses later and we’re down to the last ten players. One place away from the final table. Two tables playing alternate hands. I’ve got a reasonable stack – about 13,000 – but I’m nowhere near the leaders. Nevertheless, I tell myself to sit tight. Whatever happens - stay in control - get to the Bellagio. Then get busy and hope to make some luck.

But now I’m staring down at A10-suited. I don’t really want to play it, to be honest. But I'm feeling - I dunno - a little looser - more happy-go-lucky, shall we say. Anyway. Instead of folding, I find myself making a raise. Yet again, George is all-in on me. And not to be left out of things - Mrs Maker quickly follows. Bluddy hell. What is it with those two? Now what to do?

I dwell-up for a bit. I'm thinking it through. Calmly. The chances are I’m in front. But I’m so close to the final table. And I’ve never liked A10 much. And maybe this time George has got a genuine hand. But, the way these two have been playing, you've got to fancy that my A10 is in front. And if I do win – I go to the final table with a very playable stack of chips. So. S-d it. What do they call it? Fast and furious. I decide to go for it. And they’re on their backs.

George shows: A6-off. Mrs Maker: QJ-off.Yours truly: A10-suited.

And suddenly everyone from the other table is round our table - like vultures viewing the kill.

Flop comes K 10 4 Turn 2 River 9!

‘Mrs Maker!’ I cry. ‘You broke my heart.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ she says. And I really believe she means it. ‘I shouldn’t have called, but I needed to get more chips.’ And so she did.

Then there’s an all-in on the other table. We all rush to take a look. Cries. Moans. Arms raised. We’re down to nine. I’ve made it to the final table – but I’m crippled. Barely enough to pay the blinds.

Bellagio. And first to fall is George - almost immediately. Then me. Just a few hands in - I find 33. Not great, but at least it’s a pair. Sye goes all-in. I call without much hope. Sye hits his set of sevens. I hit the road.

Soon after that, Sye went out. Then Pav. Then Almir. That left four. Three places paid.

As it happens, it was Chas Brook who went on to win the tourney, carving-up the money with Barney. Dimps made third and picked-up a few quid too. And good luck to them all. They played well.

The heroic Mrs M? Alas, she fell at the bubble.

Keep smiling - Phil Diamond

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh, Brother!

Borrowing from Oscar Wilde...

One must have a heart of stone to watch the tearful interview Jade Gooding gave to the News of the World without laughing out loud.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hey Tony! What's it all about?

What about my human rights? That's what I wanna know.

When a bunch of guys hijacked a plane and flew it here, they were promptly arrested, tried and convicted. But when they tried to send them back to where they came from - it was said that this was an infringment of their human rights - and so they're still here. I think?

Alright. Maybe there are some very good reasons why these hikackers don't want to be sent home. Obviously, if home is such a great place then they wouldn't have hijacked the plane in the first place - I guess. And I'm not actually saying that they should be sent home.

The point I am trying to make is this. What about my human rights? The rights of an ordinary bloke who works, pays his taxes and never hijacks planes. I mean. All I want to do is go out on a Friday night - have a smoke - a drink - and play cards. What's so terrible about that?

As we know, smoking is to be banned virtually everywhere, come the summer. They're not even gonna let us have smoking areas in pubs and clubs. I ask you. What would be so terrible about having some pubs and restaurants that allow smoking and some that don't. I mean. People would be free to choose for themselves. Right?

And drinking? Well, at least we can still do that, for now - so long as we can afford to pay through the nose for the privilige. I mean. The taxes on alcohol are crazy. A pint of beer would probably cost about 15p if it wasn't for the duty.

Ok. I can understand them raising the duty on petrol. We've gotta to look as though we're doing something to protect the environment - even if everyone knows it won't make a scrap of difference all the time China, India and the USA couldn't give a toss. But, as far as I know, there's no evidence that drinking has added to the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, or that it has caused another hole in the ozone layer.

And. Now. After the disgraceful verdict in the Derek Kelly case, it seems they don't want us to play cards either. Not unless we go to casinos run by a small cartel of big boys, who've had it cushty for too long, treat their players like dirt and don't want any competition thank you very much.

Hey Tony! What's it all about? Things can only get better - you said. Instead, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Abroad, stuck in a war we should never have started in the first place, we spend billions on arms, while millions starve, or die from aids.

And at home, our civil liberties are eroded daily. I mean. You can't drive your car, go shopping, or break wind without it being caught on camera, these days. You can't peacefully protest against unjust laws within half a mile of the place the laws are made. And. Soon, we'll all be carrying identity cards with our name, date of birth, A-level results and inside-leg measurements.

Nanny state? Stalag 13 - more like!

Alright. Answer me this one, Tony. You've been in power now for - I dunno - bluddy ages anyway. So. Why is it then that law still always favours the big guys with all the money and the little guy always gets screwed?

Is it because the laws are still being written by the big guys with all the money?

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year 2007!

What a Christmas!

Thank g-d it's all over for another bluddy year. Spent most of it in bed. No. Not with a hangover. Viral infection. That's what the quack says. Anyway.

And it's not funny. Let me tell you. I've been at death's door for the best part of 2 weeks.

But here I am!

Though. To tell the truth. I'm not right. Even now. Not really. Still coughing a lot. And my ears keep clicking. But. Hopefully. I'll be well enough to go back into work on Tuesday. That's the plan. And. yet. You know. I gotta admit. There were times when old Phil Diamond actually wondered if he was gonna make it through at all.

But. You see. Even down there. Even in the darkest depths. Something in me made me fight back. You know. And I mentally decided. I couldn't just lie there and give-in. Phil. I said. You can't just give in. You are the Diamond. And you can't let the people down. Especially at this important time of the year.

And so it is that the Diamond Man has bravely risen from his sick bed to bring you his New Year message.

But. What shall I write about? I wondered, in between bouts of high fever and delirium. I've done nothing for days. But. Then. I thought. What could be more appropriate than a list of my latest New Year Resolutions. I've had plenty of time to think about them - lying as I was - so close to death. It focusses the mind. You know? On the really important things in life.

So. Here they are. In no particular order...

Phil Diamond's New Year’s Resolutions

I will give up making big pre-flop raises with small pocket pairs
I will give up making big pre-flop raises with medium pocket pairs
I will give up making big pre-flop raises with A-K, A-Q A-J, A-10…
I will give up…

… making continuation bets when there’s an ace on the board and I haven’t got one.

… over-betting top-pair - when top-pair is 6-6 or lower.

… representing the ace (I haven’t got) with a raise, after the other guy has already made that move.

… going all-in with an up-and-down straight draw.
… going all-in with the wrong end of a straight draw.
… going all-in on a flush draw.
… going all-in with jacks.
… going all-in with queens.
… going all-in with kings.
… going all-in with aces.
… in fact, going all-in with anything less than quads.

… calling an all-in with top pair – especially when there is a 2 on the board, or when there are three, black suited-cards on the board and mine are both red.

… offering free advice to the guy next to me on how he might have played that last hand better and saved himself several thousand chips – especially if I was the one who won the hand in question. Even though such advice is given freely and with the sole intention of helping my fellow players improve their understanding of the game, I have generally found that ‘tapping the side of the aquarium’ (as they say) is rarely greeted with gratitude by the minnows inside. And, come to think of it, we serious players need all the krill we can get to swell the prize pool with their dead money.

... reading Card Player magazine during the early stages of a tournament. I can’t see the problem, but I have overheard, well, shall we say, some unflattering comments on the subject.

… trying to get my chips back from the guy who has just taken most them from me with a terrible bad-beat on the river, by re-raising his latest raise with 8-2 suited.

… bearing personal and lasting grudges against anyone who decimates my stack by catching his one and only out on the river.

… swearing out loud during a live game - under any circumstances.

… saying ‘yes’ when asked if I will agree to show my cards, if the other guy agrees to fold, only to find that he has now taken that to be a sign of weakness and has decided instead to call my all-in when I had really rather hoped that he didn’t - and facing the consequential humiliation of having to lay my modest cards on their backs for all the world to see.

… jumping out of my chair, whooping, dancing and proclaiming that ‘I AM THE GREATEST’, after coming from a mile behind, hitting a miracle full-house on the river, taking down a massive pot and knocking-out the very nice lady out of the tourney.

… mucking my cards with such disgust and vigour that one is exposed before leaving the table completely, while the other flies up and hits the dealer in the face

… jumping suddenly up from my seat and simultaneously knocking-over three drinks tables and seventeen fully charged glasses – replacement cost the best part of forty quid – and being told to ‘sit down and shut up you a-hole.’

… eating two whole packs of custard creams at 4.30 in the morning

… saying ‘sorry’ in a cash game to the guy I’ve just rivered to take down a £700 pot. It has been my experience that such apologies are rarely accepted with good grace.

Give up smoking?
Cut down on the drinking?

Leave it out!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Look! You fools! You’re in danger! Can’t you see? They’re after you! They’re after all of us! Our wives…our children…they’re here already! You’re next!

Move over Neil Channing – make way for Phil Bad Beat Diamond

I can’t bluddy believe it. You wouldn’t believe it. I mean. You really wouldn’t bluddy believe it. Get your chips in when you’ve got the best hand. That’s what the Lobster tells me. But bluddy hell. Talk about bad beats. No. Please. Don’t talk to me about bad beats.

I mean. Last night. Right. I’m in the £10 Rebuy at the Big Slick. Right. First hour doing nicely – thanks very much. A-10 makes 2-pair with A on the turn and a 10 on the river - pays out handsomely. (The other bloke didn’t look too impressed – I gotta say. Still.) Very nice all the same. Then I get a nice pocket pair of Aces. Early position. Decide to limp in. Angelo, on the Button, shoves it all in with a pair of sixes. AA holds up. Luvvly Jubbly. So. Nearly 6,000 chips and no rebuys. Hunky-Dory.

So. I’m saying to myself. Don’t get involved Phil. No need to get involved. Pay your blinds. Ride it out. Do your add-on at the break. Look at the bigger picture. Do NOT get involved – not unless you’ve got the absolute nuts.

Yeah. Well. Right. Like. Why can’t I ever listen to my own advice. I mean. I write columns on the game – for Chr’st sake. You know - in the blog and the forum and on the web site. I’m regularly dishing out tip-top advice to beginners as well as to the more experienced players who want to sharpen-up on the finer points. You know. The seemingly small, yet all-important little insights on the game that give us serious players that vital edge over the rest of the pack. And all for free.

And yet when it comes to me – why is it I can’t I ever listen to my own good advice?

Anyway. To cut a long story sideways – listen to this for a list of horrible beats. KK beaten by 22. Ok. Ok. I know I shouldn’t have slow-played them. But I’m in early position. I want to get full value. Anyway. Flop comes 2-4-4.

And this is when my poker brain says to me. WARNING! I’m looking across at Angelo who is in this pot. I’m not so concerned about the others. They’re all playing Ax, KQ, KJ - anything with the lettter A or a bit of paint on it. But 2-4-4. That’s just the sort of flop a mutant ninja turtle loves.

But this is the maddening thing about it. Although the finely-honed, working part of my poker brain is advising CAUTION! – I find that I have suddenly lost bodily control over my limbs. I can see my hands reaching for my chips. I try to stop them, but they do not respond. It’s like the two kings in front of me are actually a pair body-snatching aliens in desguise. You know. Like in the film. And now they’ve taken me over. And drained me of all free will. And they are forcing me to push my entire stack into the middle. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

And on there backs, I stare in terror at the set of twos sent down to planet Earth to vaporize my chips.

The earthling's stack must be destroyed. Exterminate. ExterminateAaaaaaaah!!

Yeah. Then after that. I’ve got the rest of my chips in with the nuts flush – only to lose it on the river to a full house.

So. Now, I’m having to rebuy. £10 for 1,000 chips. There’s only 15 minutes left before the break. I get J-J and shove my solitary green chip in and get a dozen callers. First card up – Jack! But then four diamonds fall and my set loses to a flush. Gary laughs. Bad luck – Phil. Poker – eh? What a game.

Yeah. Right. Thanks, Gary.

Another rebuy. A-10. Shove it in. Beaten by an 8. Another rebuy. A-9 suited. Shove it in. Beaten – by something – can’t remember. Anyhow. Last hand. Another rebuy. Q-8off. Shove it in. Don’t ask.

It’s the break. £30 will buy you 4,000 chips – Mayo kindly informs me. My shaking fingers reach into empty pockets. Cleaned-out. Lend us 30 quid, Gary. Cheers mate. I’ll pay you straight back.

No worries, Phil.

Break – beer – smoke outside. Chat with Jamie and Mary-Ann for a while. Very, very nice people. Very understanding too. Sympathetically shaking their heads, as I take them meticulously through every hand. Then Big-Bad-Dave joins us. He looks different. But it takes a minute before I realise he’s wearing glasses.

Dave. I say. You’re wearing glasses. Yes. Says Dave. Funny. I say. Glasses usually make people look more intelligent. Yeah. All right. Take the p’ss, then.


Back after the break. I need to get a move on. Obviously. Anyway. First hand up. 10 -10. A few limpers. I raise it up. Make it 1,200 to go. Everyone folds, but one. Flop comes J-J-Q. He’s all-in like a flash. I know I’m done for. Have to fold.

Next hand. A-8 suited - I think? To be honest, I can’t clearly remember. Almost past caring. Anyway someone makes a raise. Then Gary re-raises. Makes it 2,000 to go. I’ve only got 2,200 – something like that. So, I think. F-ck it and shove it all in. Don’t ask.

Grab another beer and go outside. No one out there. Jack Jones. Bluddy cold. Drizzle. Pull hard. A few swigs. Skuttle back into the warm – see if there’s any cash action. ‘Course there is.

I’m sitting down with Angelo, Dave-Glasses, Ahmed, Steve, Casper, Ben and some other bloke. The action is hot. And I’m about to get burned.

Be careful what you wish for. That’s what my Auntie Doris used to say – G-d love her. Though at the time I never really understood what she meant by it. I was only little then and of course I wanted what I wished for. Be careful what you wish for? It sounded like something out of The Water Babies. You know. The sort of thing Mrs-Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By might have said.

Now, of course, I’m a lot older and (like many a poker player, I would venture to say) I have come to understand its meaning only too well.

We’re playing £2 – £2 optional £5. J-9 spades. Limp. Flop comes 4d – 10s – Qs. Dave-Glasses is first to act - asks - How much goes? 40-odd quid. I decide to flat call. Turn comes Jc. Dave-Glasses checks. He’s got the Q, I’m thinking – but then why doesn’t he bet. Then I’m thinking – he’s only got the 10 – that’s why he didn’t bet. But then I know Dave-Glasses likes to play Jacks. F-ck – he’s got Q-J or J-10. I’m well behind. But then wouldn’t he fear the flush draw and not want to give me a free card? To be honest, I don’t know what to think. Except, I think I’m in trouble. I check. K or 8 on the river will give me the straight. A spade and I’ve got the flush.

Make it a spade – G-d. I pray. Make it a spade.

And guess what? The omnipotent-one duly delivers and the 4s comes on the river. Get me paid – I’m thinking, till Dave-Glasses asks - How much goes - and sticks in over £150. I swallow hard. You see. Over the past few years the good Lord and I haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye on a number of things. Maybe that 4 has helped Dave-Glasses? Yeah. Maybe, it’s given him trips 4. But. That’s ok. I’ve got the flush. I have to call. Maybe G-d has forgiven me. Giving me another chance. And Dave-Glasses’ trips 4? Well, they're dead meat. Right?


I’ve got the house, says Dave-Glasses – never one to slow roll you. He shows 10 – 4.

Procol Harem is playing in my head…

The sky began to tremble
Rain began to fall
There were four angels standing round me
And it weren’t no social call
Fell down on my knees praying Lord
But it didn’t do no good at all

Oh, Auntie! Why didn’t I listen?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Season's Grettings

So here it is Merry Christmas
Everybody's having fun
Look to the future now
It's only just begun...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pocket Rockets!

Here's one for you...

It's Friday night at The Big Slick and the place is rocking. You've made it to the final table and now you're down to the last five. The first prize is a very handy £1,300.

POSITION: Under the gun
BLINDS: 2k-4k
GAME: £10 rebuy Friday 13th November
YOUR CHIPS: 35,000

Under the gun, you find pocket rockets. Bear in mind, you've had a few and it's very late - and that's after a long week in the office spent driving the Surrey property market forward. Reasonably well stacked, you decide not to slow play it and make it 10,000 to go. Everyone folds round to the SB who pushes all-in without hesitation. BB thinks for about a second and pushes in his stack too. Both have more chips than you. So, if you get it wrong - it's curtains. On the other hand, if your aces stand-up - you will be chip leader.

So, tell me punk - are you feeling lucky?

What should you do?



Pocket Rockets - probably the most over-played hand in poker. Ask yourself how many times have you had them busted? And chances are you had you whole stack riding on them. Right? Now ask yourself - how many times have you busted out with a rubbish hand?

As it happens, this is a position I actually found myself in a few weeks ago. So, to be fair, I had the drop on you on this one. At the time, I called all-in.

SB showed A6.

BB showed 88.

Flop came three blanks. Turn blank. River - 8.

Like I said, it's Friday 13th.