As we blast ever-deeper into 2009, I realsed that no one bothered to ask me for a review of 2008 (which is a shame as I’m sure it would have been hilarious). I hope, however, that we’re not so far into 2009 that I can’t still talk about one of my favourite poker moments of 2008. I’m referring to the car-crash that was the ‘celebrity’ heat of the Party Poker Women’s World Open; featuring easily one of the best acts of poker numptitude since Jennifer Tilly checked her full house to Patrik Antonius ‘just in case he had quads’ (the twatt).
My initial concern was that only one of the ‘celebrities’ was arguably an actual celebrity (and even that was just Cheryl Baker; ever-humoured on English telly because she took her skirt off in 1981 and her thighs won a trophy). Not to worry (thought I - ever the optomist) maybe these well-known unknowns can play poker. And then the first hand arrived...
Three female ‘celebrities’ (who neither I nor the dog had ever heard of) folded their cards. The button (some ‘celebrity’) called, the small blind (some ‘celebrity’) called, and the big blind (Cheryl Baker who, disappointingly, had trousers on and not a scrap of Velcro in sight) took a deep breath and said “stick”. No... seriously: “stick”. Press record lads; I think we might have a poker genius in our midst.
The dealer dealt the flop (which no doubt confused the life out of at least half the women at the table) and the first player announced “check”. The second player now took a moment to consider her options. What to do... what to do? Perhaps check and go for a free card… Maybe take a stab at winning the pot with a well-sized bet, or perhaps… “fold”. What? Say again love... That’s right, you heard - “fold”. Oh, brilliant. No one saw that one coming (I swear the dealer nearly slapped herself on the forehead in response). Meanwhile Cheryl – clearly delighted that someone had accidentally reminded her what the correct term for ‘do nothing’ was – also announced “check”.
With the turn dealt the first player dug deep and placed some chips onto the table. Cheryl sat back, looked at the dealer and – rather than embarrass herself by saying ‘bust’ or ‘Jenga’ or something similarly stupid – said simply: “er… I want to say whatever you say when you don’t want to go on any more.” (What; like ‘please kill me’?)
“Fold?” ventured the dealer tentatively. “Yes!” exclaimed Cheryl, “that’s the one.” And thus it was that the first hand somehow came to a conclusion without anyone knocking themselves out of the tournament or bursting into flames. My god, this was going to be one hell of a game.
Or at least it would have been had not the missus – who endures more crap TV poker than any reasonable person should have to – chosen this moment to reach out and silently remove the Sky remote from my hand. Pressing ‘backup’ she exited the show, returning to the Sky Plus menu as I looked on quizzically. She then deftly hit the ‘delete’ button, saying “it’s probably for the best”. Now I remember why I married her. Smart girl.
Apart from watching televised poker approximately 365 days of the year (rough estimate. Source: Mrs Waster) then I’m generally playing poker or thinking about it. If I’m not writing about it, then I’m probably on telly blabbing about it; and if I’m not doing any of those things, well… let’s just say there better be a bloody good reason (i.e. family death, birth, marriage, or all three simultaneously). Don’t laugh – you don’t know my family.
Even the water closet – the last sanctuary of modern man – no longer offers safe haven thanks to a magazine rack chock full of poker magazines, a pile of thicker-than-brick poker books on the end of the bath, and a word search book by the sink (don’t’ worry; the latter belongs to the missus – the dirty bitch.)
I decided that for the good of those unlucky enough to be around me on a regular basis I should perhaps take a break from poker as we entered the Xmas season (i.e. December, not back in late-September when Sainsburys put the tinsel out). Though the idea of not being in some super-loose Badugi game by 10:30am each morning was slightly freaking me out I decided to just try to let poker waft from my mind for a bit. I even went as far as agreeing to visit various naff pre-Xmas bazaars and gift fairs in local halls.
And it was there, dear friends, that I discovered that there is no escaping poker. Next post I’ll explain how I turned three innocent Xmas activities into poker games. (Remind me again Cheryl: what do you say when you don’t want to go on any more?)