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Tuesday 24th May 2005

It was an intense day of poker, whic probably demonstrated that whilst I won't make much money at the tables, I might be able to make a small living out of poker anyway.
I was up at 6.45am and heading for the Victoria Casino to shoot a link for a promotional competition to slot into the Channel 5 coverage of a tournament being broadcast next month.
It was weird being in a casino when it is closed and has no sad people in it wasting their money because they are addicted to gambling and hate themselves. Sad faced Eastern European cleaners were rushing to get the place spick and span for the next day's worth of idiots to come in and mess it all up again. We were holding them up, and when we finally finished they started attacking the floor with vacuum cleaners, not caring if we were in the way, waiting for us to jump out the way. I imagine their proportion of the daily profits of this place is rather tiny and yet they I doubt anyone works harder than them. Certainly not the people taking the money. It made me glad that poker has taken my interest away from roulette and blackjack, which seem like childish games of chance to me now. And which no-one is paying me to make little promos about.
It was a fairly easy morning's work, despite the early hour and then I headed down to my evil management company Avalon to have a meeting about a possible book I might be writing. Also about poker. There will be more on that I am sure if it all comes to pass.
And my evening was spent taking part in a poker tournament, in which I played impeccably well, only taking part in hands that I was likely to win. I played for about three hours, and didn't get much, but played what I had well and was ahead. Then I had an ace 9 and the flop was lowish cards including a 5. A guy who I have played before who is a bit of a chancer went all in and I guessed he was bluffing so followed him. It turned out I was right. He had A 2 which was way worse than me. Basically he needed a 2 to come up to win this. It was a big pot and things were looking good for me. The next card was a 4, which was no good for either of us, but it did mean that a 3 would give him a lucky straight. Surely that couldn't happen to me again, after the same scenario in Oxford the other week. Of course it did. I was not quite out, but chose not to risk my remaining chips on the next hand, where I would have got a flush if I'd stayed in. Then I went all in on a K 10 and a K came down on the turn (fourth of the five cards on the table). I'm back in, I hubristically shouted to the man next to me, failing to remember the story of the American in the World Series of Poker final that Greg Raymer had talked about (and I had told the man next to me about too). One of my opponents had a pair of aces in her hand. In three hands my entire evening of careful play had gone up in smoke. Though I played every hand correctly and was able to enjoy the intense disappointment of defeat almost as much as the elation of victory. It's a great game. There is some luck.
I then got a bit drunk and played a few more games with other losers, coming second in one despite having been on the brink of extinction for most of the game.
Then I came home and stayed up late playing in an online tournament. I played very loose in contrast to the rest of the night's play and got ahead quite quickly thanks to fluking four of a kind early on. Things went up and down, but I managed to make it to the final table, where I confounded the other players as I had done once before, by telling them what I had on certain hands. They told me I would get into trouble, but I couldn't see why as I was only helping them. I was lucky though and kept getting excellent cards and everyone was scared to take me on, so I won something at last. Though to be honest the evening tournament was free and I'd been paid for the filming, so all in all it had been a good poker day.
Though my mum is sure that I will get addicted to the game and ruin my life.
She is, of course, insane. And it's just a coincidence that I am playing poker, like Anthony Hopkins, as I write this.

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