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?

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