Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Poker v Golf

A few people have asked if I intend to write a post about poker. Well, I’ll let you all into a little secret known only to poker players. Poker is boring as fuck.
Furthermore, reading about poker is even worse because there’s very few ways of making the posts interesting especially if you don’t play poker.
Your average MTT (Multi table tournament) may take four hours to play and for three and a half odd hours of that you’re folding junk. That equates to one hand every eight minutes. Compare this to a round of Golf that takes four hours and if you shoot an eighty that would equate to one shot every three minutes. Plus you have the added attraction of pleasant scenery, a bit of banter from your playing partners and some exercise.
Take Saturday for example. The weather wasn’t particularly great but then again, when is it in Britain? Four of us tee off at eight in the morning and the 1st hole on our course is probably the toughest. 440 yards with a slight dog leg to the left and out of bounds on both sides of the fairway. Small lake in front of an elevated sloping green with out of bounds continuing on the right. The ideal way to play the hole is a drive up the left leaving no more than a six iron to the green. Anything longer makes the chances of holding the green non existent. Otherwise, you need to lay up on your second leaving a wedge in and hope to make your putt.
I nail a three wood into the perfect spot and have 165 yards left. I’m into my downswing when a rabbit runs straight across the fairway distracting me to the extent that I’m watching it as I hit the ball. Disaster. My ball bobbles about fifty yards up the fairway as my playing partners piss themselves whilst I throw my six iron at the offending fucking runt. Trying to regain my composure, I walk up to my ball and visualise my next shot. I have this pre shot routine where I stand directly behind the ball and pick a spot a couple of feet in front of it which is on a direct path to my target. It may be a clump of grass, a Bluebell or a divot. I then line the club head up with this spot and after a couple of practice swings I’m ready to do some damage.
There’s a split second when the club head makes contact with the ball which instantly allows you to recognise what the ball is going to do. A hook, slice, thin, fade, top, each shot has its own feeling. On this occasion, when my wedge struck the ball, I instantly knew I’d flushed it. My gaze followed the balls trajectory and there’s another split second when the ball starts falling out of the sky where the ball and its intended target merge into your plane of vision. It’s at this exact second that you know if your shot is any good. Mine was looking fucking awesome and the only thing that comes into consideration now is whether you’ve judged the distance correctly.
Okay, that’s not exactly true because when the ball pitches the green it can do a number of things. It can take a few bounces and roll twenty yards past where it landed. It can spin backwards, stop dead, kick to the left or right. A pro will know exactly what his ball will do. A hack and thrash merchant like me has no idea. Mine pitched, took a hop forward before stopping dead, two feet from the hole with a nice straight uphill putt for par. Shots like that make your round. The ball rolls off the green and you’re looking at a six. Leave it short and you’re in the water and looking at racking up a monster.
I make the putt and life’s good. No more thoughts of my fluffed second shot but a jolt of confidence from my superb third one.
Three and a half hours later I’m in the bar looking at a decent card and all’s well in the World. My mate Dave, notice a trend with my mates names, is one of life’s funny guys. If something stupid is going to happen to anyone then it’s him. The subject of first jobs comes up and Dave slowly starts shaking his head. Dave worked as a doorman for years and is, as we say in Wales, warm as toast.
“Have I ever told you about when I worked the doors at Barry Island?” Dave enquires. We all shake our heads.
To paint the picture for you all, Barry Island used to be a massive holiday camp. There were hundreds of chalets, several bars and restaurants and a couple of night clubs. To compound matters, it wasn’t really an Island but perched on the end of one of South Wales’ roughest towns. In reality it was a time bomb waiting to explode. Dave was there to make sure it didn’t.
Dave continued, “I’d only been there three days and my mate and I are on the door of the club when the night manager comes over the radio saying that someone is breaking into the rooms. My mate and I leg it down there and just as we arrive this guy comes flying out of a first storey window, which wasn’t open, and lands right next to us. We’re standing there with glass flying everywhere and this guy picks himself up, takes one look at us and is gone. We chase the fucker and finally catch him. He starts throwing punches and you can tell by the look in his eyes that he’s drugged up to the eyeballs so I get him in a choke hold. The more he struggles the tighter I hold him until he eventually passes out. So this twat is sparked out on the floor and my mate puts him in the recovery position. We’re just about to radio in saying we’ve got him when my mate looks at me and says “fucking hell Dave, he’s not breathing”. I bend down and take his pulse and there isn’t one. So I’m standing there, three days into the job, 20 years old and I’ve killed someone. I’m looking at my mate saying I don’t fucking believe this and he says to throw him in the pool and tell everyone that he’s drowned. I consider this for about a split second but realise no ones going to buy that shit and I’m going down for several years so I walk up to the twat and kick him as hard as I can in the stomach. Fuck me, he starts spewing everywhere. My mate and I jump back and are just staring at this fucking clown who suddenly springs to his feet, chins me and starts legging it down the road. I was so fucking relieved I burst out laughing. The cops caught him three blocks away and it took eight of them to arrest the fucker”.
By now the whole bar is listening to Dave’s tale, most of them with tears running down their cheeks.
Fast forward seven hours and I’m watching the Football in the front room. I fire up the laptop and enter a PLO MTT on FT (keep up with that did you?). After the first hour I’m doing OK. I haven’t had to re buy and don’t need an add on. Second break sees me with a below average stack. Third break is a similar story. Leading up to fourth break is where the tourney starts to hot up. I’m 34th of 50 with the top 27 getting paid. I scrape into the money in 24th place and then into the top eighteen in 15th. Four hours into the tournament I make the final table, 9th of nine. I’ve got $27k in chips and the next lowest has $110k. And here’s the crux of it all and the reason why I don’t post about Poker that much.
I can’t remember one fucking hand of note from four hours of play.
I eventually finish in fifth for $485 which is a decent sum but not as good as the $2k the winner had.
And here’s another thing that maybe is solely experienced by myself but, I’m guessing, probably shared by a lot of other poker players. The high of winning a few dollars lasts for a few seconds before the stark truth hits home. Tomorrow night you’re going to be doing the same fucking thing. And the night after, four hours of boredom for three seconds of happiness.
Give me a 125 yard wedge to two feet and Dave holding court in the bar afterwards any day of the week.


  1. I was wondering what par on that first hole was, and if you'd make it.

    And you're right - your golf stories are better than your poker stories, although the fact you finished the tournament in 5th place is really rather awesome.

    Of course, I'm partial to stories about your daughter (to say nothing of stories about unwittingly shagging your boss's wife), but I'll take what I can get.

  2. And that's why you're my favourite.

    Unless I'm greatly mistaken, or have read this very wrongly, or am getting threads mixed up, you kicked a twat rabbit in the stomach before sending it onto the final table with a 9 iron and winning 27k. Bloody hell.

    Couldn't nick any pint glasses tonight, 'people have been stealing them' apparently, so I had my German draft in a Becks glass.

  3. So Dave thinks he killed a guy and his gut reaction is to kick him? Brilliant!

  4. Fucking great story. I'm sure Dave knows by now but, if something like that happens again, he needs to do a sternum rub. It's that place just above your heart and it hurts like a motherfucker but it'll wake the dead. Unless they're really dead of course. Fucking great story.

  5. Is there anything as sweet as hitting the ball and just knowing you've struck it perfect?

  6. How much did you make playing golf???


  7. lol, always crack me up Rubbish and your mates sounds proper looney's !!!


  8. Hey rubbish, saw you playing that tourney but you ignored me ya twat!! :p

  9. Your friend Dave is awesome. Hahaha. That was hilarious.

  10. Hi guys,
    Jan- Daughter story coming up soon
    Mo - I'm expecting some nice Whiskey tumblers from you for Xmas
    Sam, Tenn, Cogs, OWO - I do have some great friends in fairness which is just as well or I wouldn't have anything to write about
    DOV - Will play one tonight
    Mr O - I never read the comments in the chat box except when there's a break on. Was I looking good?
    Capt. Too true. How did the job interview go?

  11. I agree: to the naked eye poker may seem boring if you're not really into it. But I watch all the World Series episodes I possibly can and just try to learn from those crazy good freaks.

    I have something for you over at my blog :)

  12. So rubbish. Wow dude. Only half of this was in a language I speak but that part was awesome.

    Golf was in there somewhere, about which all know is that I like to watch if Tiger is playing. But then, I'd watch him watch paint dry, so I guess that's not saying much.

  13. yeah you were going ok when I saw you mate!

  14. Thanks for the link, that was fantastic. And the interview went pretty good except for the manager worried I was overqualified for the job. I don't think my bank cares if I'm selling my ass on the street as long as they're getting their money though.

  15. Top post Sir, and your right it is boring, still it's better than watching the shit they put on TV.