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Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins

Keith The Camel Hawkins

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Some Random Poker Thoughts

By Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins / March 2005

If Nic Bloggs says something is for "good of poker" you can bet you bottom dollar it is actually for the good of Nic Bloggs.

When someone has a huge dwell up seemingly every hand is he: a. Trying to work out pot odds? b. Looking for a tell from his opponent? c. Working out how he is going to throw his hand to the dealer when he folds? d. Trying to remember if he let the cat out and turned the gas off before he left home?

The string bet rule should be consigned to the dustbin. In 20 years playing poker I have never seen anyone trying to gain an advantage by string betting. The only angle shots are from those who scream "string bet!" on some nervous newbie who hasn't worked out exactly how to make his bet properly.

You can't eat value.

The old style gambler will soon be a thing of the past. The days of a guy going horse racing or to the betting shop in the afternoon, followed by an evening at the dogs and the early hours at the casino will soon be history. The gamblers of today are much more likely to be found in front of a computer screen perusing the latest betfair markets and scouring internet poker sites for a game than grafting for a few quid.

Soft playing ruins the game and is essentially cheating. By all means swap 10% with your mates or slip them a oner if you win a tournament, but by not trying to eliminate them when you have the best hand you are cheating all the other players. Don't do it.

Play your A game at all times. If you are not able to play at your best don't play at all. You will lose.

The UK is the best place in the world to play poker. We really don't appreciate exactly how lucky we are. Winnings aren't taxed. Players aren't badgered for tips when they score a result. The environment for play is usually excellent now many cardrooms are non smoking. On the whole, poker players in Britain are very civilised, friendly and amenable.

And the Vic is the best place in the UK to play poker. The staff are absolutely top quality, the tournaments are the most prestigeous around and the atmosphere is electric.

When asked who he thought would win the omaha tournament at the recent Midlands Medley a seasoned pro said "I don't know, except if it's a self dealt tournament, then player L would be odds on favourite!"

Taking on sponsored players and rich amateurs in big tournaments over a long period of time is finacially unadvisable. For sure, take the odd shot or try and qualify for a big tournament in a super satellite. But there are so many big events these days you can drain a fortune trying to beat players with bottomless pockets.

There is a pub near Walsall called the "Boatman's Best". Unsuprisingly it is a welcoming hostelry. But suprisingly when I popped in for a quick snifter it didn't try to steal my blinds once.

When a grizzled old veteran talks sneeringly in interviews prior to tv tournaments about "internet players" it is a pretty safe bet that the majority of players spoken about so disparagingly play a hell of alot better than the veteran does.

In his article about me in the lastest issue of Poker Europa Nic Szeremeta slags me off for slagging people off. Yet in the article below it, he sings the praises of the Poker Bastard for slagging people off. (For some reason "slag" seems to be a favourite word of Mr Szeremeta). Is it because Nic dislikes the people the PB slags off and is friendly with the people he accuses me of slagging off. Wouldn't it be ironic if the PB wrote a post all about the fragrant Mr Szeremeta? I suppose that's just too much to wish for....

It costs nothing to act with class and dignity at the poker table. Before you holler and whoop when outdrawing someone in a big pot, imagine how the victim of your luck feels. Jumping around like an orangutan on speed certainly won't improve how he feels.

My new poker mantra is: "If you haven't got it, they probably have".

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