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Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins

Keith The Camel Hawkins

Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins Older Articles

Learning a Lesson

By Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins / September 2004

For three days last month I went racing at York for the Ebor meeting. Literally racing at one point, when I trounced internationally renowned top sprinter Lionel Hutz over 70 yards. (Ok, so he gave me a little head start, but that won't show up in the official results!)


It was a memorable 3 days; great company, good food, backing a few winners and drinking altogether too much pink champagne!

But, perhaps the highlight of the week was meeting the legendary racehorse trainer Mick Easterby in city centre pub on Tuesday night. Easterby is well into his 70s and has been training for about 50 years.

We only talked for about 10 minutes before his assistant trainer dragged him away, but we managed to cover alot of subjects, including the sexuality of Claire Balding (watch out for fireworks if she ever interviews him on the beeb!); the shenanigans he got up to when he was a point-to-point rider, how much he loved the Ebor meeting; a horse he has prepared for a big gamble later in the season and trying to get us to buy an animal. He is a sparkling raconteur and seemed to enjoy our company too.

But one thing shone through about Mick Easterby. He still has an unquenchable thirst for life. Training racehorses is a stressful and arduous occupation and my guess is Easterby won't give it up until he is in his grave. He loves life in general and horse racing in particular. He certainly has a touch of the devil within him, but this mischievousness is what makes
him such a sparkling drinking companion.

It got me thinking. Why do I always see the dark side of every situation? Why am I so goddamn cynical? There are a million things I could be doing which wouldn't give me as much pleasure as playing poker for a living. I get to meet fascinating people and travel all over the world. Why should I moan and whinge when I could be pushing paper or flipping burgers 6 days a week.

There are far worse things that could happen than a dealer makes a mistake. The dealer didn't mean to make a mistake, so don't spend half an hour criticising him and making his life a misery, he would rather not be dealing I'm sure and if his financial situation allowed he would certainly be doing something far more interesting with his life.

When we are confronted by a newbie or two at our table in a small tournament don't be grumpy and fold your arms and ignore them. They are probably nervous and intimidated and it is our job as experienced players to make them feel comfortable and welcome. We were newbies once (too many years ago in my case) and if we weren't welcomed and encouraged would we have come back?

What am I trying to say, I guess, is take time to smell the roses. After years of hard work and stress Mick Easterby still knows how to enjoy himself. Poker is an incredible game and populated by loads of interesting people. By treating other people the way you would like to treated yourself it will make the whole arena a more congenial place to play and you will
reap the benefits.

If you can't enjoy playing poker don't do it. There are enough miserable gits around without you or me adding to the list.

NB: Don't worry, I'm sure this is only a temporary lapse in my career as a misanthrope. But, for a little while at least, until the novelty wears off or someone does something that REALLY annoys me, you won't see many negative posts on the forum or on my blog.

So, normal service will be resumed shortly then...

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