Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Joe Le Taxi

If you can remember back far enough, I was telling you about a trip with the poker lads heading to Deauville. As I signed off last time we were just arriving at Paris on the Eurostar…

Having enjoyed the wonders of the modern railway, we [myself, Ali Masterman, Ben Grundy, Pommo, Dubai and Ben Mayhew] fall out of the station and onto the filthy Parisian streets. Ooh la la. Just breathe in that… stench. This truly is the city of love. If it wasn’t for Dubai pulling his pants out of his arse crack in front of me as we trudge up the rue, I’d be right in the mood for it.

The instructions for our journey become complicated and painful-looking at this stage. A taxi is required across the city to a different station, where a train (that I have no doubt will make the Eurostar look like a palace on wheels) will take us down to Deauville.

I now know this group a little better, but back then this was my first time meeting them, so I really just expected us to act the way we looked (i.e. like a bunch of poorly-dressed gypsies) and follow the travel instructions to their ultimate conclusion. The fact that my arse was attempting to detach itself from my body [you might remember I was paying the price for a half-cooked steak on the George Forman] made this a less than slightly appealing idea, but what can you do? I mean, it’s not like anyone is going to have such a disregard for money that they’d just pay for a taxi all the way to Deauville is it!


...and then I got my first glimpse of the Pommo bankroll in action.

We shuffle like jawas across the road to a sniffy-looking cabbie who has the misfortune to be the only one we can see with the capacity to carry all of us and our bags. He doesn’t look happy, but then again he is French. I’d be miserable personally.

I’m struggling to remember exactly who did the talking (I was busy hiding behind a lamppost in case it all got embarrassing) but I believe it was Dubai who took the reins, using his trademark charm and international communications skills. Either that, or he spat out, “’Ow much to Doughvile mate?” I forget now.

The cabbie looked relieved… “Oh…” he said, “zat’s a ver long way.” Now the French cabbie had made the text book error of thinking Dubai would give a shit. It’s easily done - I myself have had many conversations with Dubai expecting him to give a shit. “Yeah. I know mate. ‘Ow much?” A look of panic spread across the cabby’s face, until he realised that his way out of this was simple – just price himself out of the game. Totally unaware of the poker player in front of him, Joe Le Taxi pushes €600 out, confident it'll get Dubai off the pot – so to speak. He really has picked the wrong crowd for this play. Dubai calls the twat’s bluff with a “Come on boys – we’re in.” The cabbie literally shits his pants. I mean actual shit flies from his pantaloons in all directions.

I am, of course, speaking metaphorically. I pride myself on being the only man in Paris at that exact moment who could shoot an apple of a child's head with a stream of pressurised rusty cack.

A moment of inspiration sweeps over Le Cabby, and he blurts out “CASH! It has to be cash!” I mean, it’s brilliant. What are the chances of finding a troupe of travelling poker-playing gypsies who not only find €600 acceptable, but happen to have it on them in cash? Well… needless to say the driver’s face slumped in final defeat as Pommo plucked out his “ready-for-Deauville bankroll” of which €600 really was only a very very small percentage. Frankly, I get the felling Pommo had enough to buy the cab company let alone pay off this fella, but I was grateful for the ride as my arse was heating up like some faecal kiln and could deliver a ‘hot sculpture’ at any time regardless of my plans or wishes.

And so thus it was that we pilled into what was to be our chariot for the next two and a half hours. Smug, relatively comfortable, and trying really really hard not to shit myself in front of my new friends.

Ali attempts to bond over a cigarette, whille Le Cabbie pretends to enjoy his company, grimacing all the way.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Holding the nuts

Having recently attended a Full Tilt press event, I was chuffed to finally interview a couple of my favourite poker personalities; namely Howard Lederer and Mike Matusow. The most interesting event of the day, however, came later that afternoon as I stood by the bar, shooting the breeze with a group of journalists. As we chatted away, I absent-mindedly clasped my hands behind my back. Now, unbeknownst to me, Phil Ivey had chosen that exact moment to squeeze between me and a pillar in the room. It’s the sort of thing I couldn’t do if I tried, but I somehow managed to perfectly cup Ivey’s balls in my hands. Neither of us acknowledged the testicle cupping, but I immediately felt imbued with magical nut dust from the poker wizard’s pods. I said my goodbyes (without shaking hands, obviously) and hurried home to log-on for some heads-up action. I won 7 out of 9 games. The mystical knackers of Ivey were indeed the source of all things good in poker. Frankly, I regretted not having rubbed them three times.

Now it might strike some as an unorthodox approach to ‘winning poker’, but if you ever have the opportunity to fondle Ivey’s bollocks before a big tournament, grab the opportunity with both hands. Literally.

I’d also made another observation as I walked out of the venue with Shelly Rubenstein. Ivey was climbing into a car just in front of us clutching the “How to Play Poker” supplement I helped the Poker Player Magazine boys write. Shelly and I looked at each other in a ‘did you just see what I saw?’ way. “You’d think he was a bit beyond that.” Shelly ventured. I agreed, but couldn’t help thinking that if Phil Ivey spent a little less time reading books and more time fiddling with his genitals he’d be unstoppable.