Dave woke me up early from my slumbers in the arm chair and made a cup of coffee for us both.
“Fuck me Rubbish, you were pissed last night. You sat down there and were out cold within seconds. I tried to wake you to go to the spare room but you were dead to the World”.
I didn’t doubt him for one second.
Twenty minutes later we were out of his house to meet Mr O and DoV for our lift to Newcastle. Dave informed me that he was taking the poker serious and wasn’t having a drink until 8.00pm that evening. DoV pitched up first, dropped off by his lovely missus. Dave and I looked at each other and shrugged. Sometimes there’s no justice in this World. Five minutes later Mr O turned up and we were off.
DoV had thoughtfully brought a case of Bud with him. What he hadn’t brought was his wallet so we had a detour to go back to his gaffe. Not sure why a battalion of the Welsh regiment was waiting outside his house when we got there?
And then we were off. The time was 8.30am and we were on our first beer of the day, 12 hours earlier than Dave had planned.
Mr O put on some horrendous music and punched Newcastle in the Sat Nav or the Cogs as I like to call it. Ten minutes up the M55 and DoV blurted out that he knew a shortcut. I inwardly groaned. Mr O punched in the new details and we said goodbye to motorway traffic for the remainder of the journey. By now Dave, DoV and I were on our second bottle.
The shortcut was eventful to say the least. After driving through country lanes, following tractors for miles, turning up someone’s drive and nearly mowing down twenty people walking around a village fete we started to climb through some mountain range. I’ve subsequently looked on a map and I haven’t a clue which one it is.
The gradient of the road got steeper and the mountain side turned into a massive pine forest. The trees were huge, sixty or seventy feet high and as the road narrowed so did the daylight. The first thunderclap passed overhead like a sonic boom. It was so loud we all actually ducked. The rain started, a light drizzle which soon turned into a torrential downpour. By now we were driving in pitch darkness and even with the headlights on visibility was only a couple of yards. An electrical storm passed so close overhead that it knocked the stereo and Cogs out. A lightning bolt crashed into the forest illuminating the tree line and that’s when I saw them first. Seven maybe eight feet high, moving quickly, much quicker than we were currently driving. Dave saw them as well.
Another thunder clap burst overhead reverberating through the car. One of the beasts was now by the side of us. It must have been doing twenty five mph. Blood red eyes and fangs were the only visible parts of its body. You could smell death on its breath. Mr O crunched down a gear. We were losing momentum as the roads gradient increased. Through the back window I spotted four more of them, lit up by a huge bolt of lightning. They were gaining and would be on us in seconds. The one to our left hand side swung a huge claw/paw at the side of the car. We momentarily went up on two wheels. DoV screamed.
What am I on about? It wasn’t that exciting a journey. We got lost several times and then, three hours later, we were there. Fuck knows how?
Actually we went to the wrong Hotel first off which was a bit gutting because there was a three foot midget, painted entirely blue and dressed in a smurf outfit. The amount of fun we could have had with that guy. I would have paid him fifty to have been our mascot for a couple of hours, running around the casino bollock naked, screaming “Raise the River” over and over. As it was Dd had to do that himself.
When we got to our proper Hotel we had had four buds each and Dave and I had topped up nicely. We met Mik, Pud, Snake and Dd and after a super quick shower headed for the Grosvenor. Once there we met up with Stan and Tripz and our team was complete.
I haven’t played in many live tournaments so I’m not sure if the atmosphere was lively or subdued. I’m guessing it was electric. We all had to walk on as a team and I tried to get the Madness, One step beyond, song. Unfortunately the music had been predetermined but how cool would it have been for us to have done the Madness walk into the arena.
I know quite a few of the RTR boys have played live and Mik, Snake, DoV and No Cash knew quite a few of the people in the other teams. I sort of knew one other person there which was Stan’s Wife, Mair. Spookily I ended up sitting next to her. We had a bit of a giggle chatting away but poker wise; one hour started blurring into another. I do know due to texting Dave though that at 17.30 I had $18k in chips from a starting stack of $7.5k.
Quite a few of the guys exited early and after a while only DoV, Mr O and myself were left. I’m not saying I would have lasted into the second day had there been quite a few of us left but my heart wasn’t in it towards the end. I went out with Q9 on a flop of KQ9. I couldn’t tell you if I limped into the hand out of position or raised in the big blind. All I know is I ended up all in for a huge pot and the other guy turned J10. No miracle Q or 9 on the turn or River and that was that. DoV bombed soon after and we converged at the bar.
At some stage in the evening Gazza walked in with an entourage. He was immediately surrounded by three floor managers and within one minute they were all leaving again. Very wierd.
A couple of the boys were playing in the side event so six or seven of us headed back to the Hotel for a change of gear before carrying on. There was a hen night in the reception who had finished for the evening so I guess it was past 2.00am at this point. One of the girls was sitting on the floor with someone, who shall remain nameless, standing next to her. Why he said it I do not know. Maybe he was thinking of the "is that your feet I can smell" joke? Maybe he was hallucinating? Maybe he was reeally drunk but without warning he asked her if the smell in reception was because she hadn’t washed her c***. Several punches were thrown at this point and he was so surprised by this I honestly think he didn’t realise he was speaking out loud.
We ended up going lap dancing, I think because most clubs had closed. It was shit. That said, some of the boys seemed to enjoy it. Finally we left and went back to the casino. A few more ciders whilst railing Snake who was crushing everyone in the side event which he ended up chopping for £370 before heading off at 5.30am. A nice little 21 hour session for Dave, DoV and myself which absolutely killed me.
Day three to follow.