Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Monday, March 29, 2004

All the way to Reno

Well I made it back in one piece from Reno, without maximum bankroll damage thanks to having 10% of my much more successful travelling partner. Last time I said "system working well send more money", but this time I'm not so sure. I think I have sussed out what I was doing wrong for most of the week, which is of course a good thing ! I was playing too tight. What this meant was that I was missing out on getting chips off the poor players before they knocked themselves out. On top of that when I did find a hand I wasn't getting any action from the more aware opponents. So with about two days left I decided nuts to this * and started playing some marginal hands and making judgement plays. Needless to say I got some of these wrong, but more of them right, and it felt a lot better. If nothing else it was more fun and stopped me from getting bored.

One point that struck me out there was how poorly the majority of American players handle a short stack. I lost count of the number of players I saw call off their last chips with a hand that could not possibly be winning (22, A8, KJ all that rubbish), and that includes several who otherwise played very well. The most frustrating experience of the whole trip for me was watching a woman call all-in three-way with A5, win the sidepot, call those off with J5, win that, then go on to knock me out and, as it transpired the next day, win the tournament. Marvellous. In fact (whether by luck or judgement) once she got some chips she played reasonably well, albeit in a calling station stylee, but that's the other thing over there - there are a lot of players who just can't stop bluffing. Two checks, or a pre-flop limp and a check, are just a red rag to them. Two days later I watched Bonetti try to bluff the same woman only for her to call all the way with a Jack high flush draw and pair up on the river. This is a guy with a big reputation over there, a guy who finished third in the World Series, who doesn't seem to have grasped that you can't bluff a mug. A guy who I trapped like a rat half an hour later only for him to hit his 3-outer. A face is a face, the world over :-).

* I'm still in American non-swearing mode. If I said what I meant there, I would have to take a 20-minute break from the keyboard. The land of the free my behind (see I'm still doing it).

I'm here, get these celebrities out, or something

I see that while I was away there was another "Celebrity Poker" thread on the Mob Forum. It's probably a good job I wasn't here or I would have incurred the wrath of Miss Vicky by suggesting, as a colleague did, that Roger de Courcey and Nookie Bear are less than worthy of our star-struck adulation. I am tempted to write to the Observer and suggest that, while Vicky is an excellent writer, we the British public would rather see celebrities doing things badly than professionals doing things right, and so can she please be replaced by Stu "I Could Crush a Grape" Francis ?

Nonetheless it would be remiss of me not to report on which US celebrities allowed us to bask in their radiance last week. Allegedly Prince was staying in the hotel and even played a little bit of poker, although I didn't see him. Mind you he could have been across the table in Seat 9 for all I knew as he probably wouldn't be tall enough to see over the rail. Much more believably, I met the 2002 World Shuffleboard Champion who regaled us with the thrilling tale of how he overcame a wrist injury by throwing left-handed to claim the title. "You gotta be able to play with both hands at that level" - so now you know. And we saw Preppie from "Saved by the Bell" who very thoughtfully wore a T-shirt with a picture of his character on it and the word PREPPIE underneath. If only more D-list celebs would follow this example, I for one would find it a lot easier.