25/12/2005

I'm back. Yes, I know you didn't even know I was gone. You may have thought I missed the deadline last month, due to an inability to perform on demand, or under pressure of any sort, but I know how relieved you will be to hear the real reason for my absence, dispelling any doubts as to my physical and mental well being. I was of course away, for a months rest and relaxation in a Swiss clinic, having my blood changed weekly, and my stress levels reduced back to an acceptably manic level. I’m ready once again for the cut and thrust of the Poker jungle. The emotional and physical demands of playing poker are relentless. It is only with regular sabbaticals in a nurturing environment, surrounded by dedicated professional help, that I am able to continue to rise to the challenge.

Normally I approach the festive season with some trepidation and the idea of taking a sleeping pill on Christmas Eve and waking up on Boxing Day, denying any knowledge of peace and goodwill to all. (Repeating the dosage on New years Eve and avoiding any unrealistic resolutions) This year however my plans have been thwarted by a couple of social invitations, so I am bracing myself for the unexpectedly social dimension of the holidays. Perhaps I will go out and play some live poker to get the feel of human interaction; well, its pretty close.

I noticed my fellow columnist The Camel hitting the crossbar in the last Sunday of the month Poker Stars $530 NLHE tournament. This is about as difficult as winning the tournament but pays less. Good shot. If this man doesn't win a major tournament next year, he should get out more.

For those of you wondering about what to buy all your family and friends for Christmas, the good news is that WPT now have an official screen based World Poker Tour game. Just plug it in and away you go. I can see the blank staring faces out there. Yes, they have a board/screen game which I suppose is intended to replicate the WPT "experience". A pack of cards and a book would've done me, but in keeping with today’s Hi-Tech standards, they felt that some electronic piece of plastic was far more suitable. I haven’t had a chance to examine the game yet, but I have come up with a list of requirements to ensure the game accurately reflects the reality.

  1. Cloak of Invisibility needed to collect any winnings without being nipped
  2. Very good excuse when you win the tournament, and both your 100% backers turn up.
  3. Large family entering together is helpful to ensure one surviving member with big stack
  4. Extrovert character- required for final TV stages to avoid dull game- any kind of child like stupidity acceptable as long as there's no profanity-we do have standards!
  5. Patronise the female players by having a special tournament for them.
  6. Divide the money amongst as many as possible so everyone keeps coming back for more.
  7. Create a few new poker millionaires.

Ok the real thing isn't perfect, but I'll give it a spin, you can give the game to someone else.

I like to think of myself as aware, but was kicked in the teeth yet again- this time by my own computer! I play a lot of online poker, and decided I needed to try a bigger screen so I could have several games opened at once on my screen without overlapping. I looked online for a new screen trying to see what was available. Then, I visited a couple of shops to see a demonstration, but there was nothing much to see. I did manage to discuss the subject with some techie shop assistants who explained about screen resolution. Armed with this new concept I went home and adjusted the resolution on my monitor. Eureka! This allows me to have four games opened simultaneously, something that would not be possible with a bigger screen, unless it had a similar capacity for high resolution(1600 x 1200). The good news is I found this out before I spent hundreds of pounds, although I still need a bigger screen, at least I might buy the right one now.

Although this should make me more effective, already I have found it to be that much more intense, and need more breaks when I play. I suspect a bigger screen will ease things a little, but so does playing live, and doing it infrequently makes it seem a lot less like hard work, more like fun.

For next year I will be asking Santa to put me into a few tournaments with the necessary expenses covered of course, whilst I concentrate on paying the rent before my ship comes in. I worry that winning a lot of money, may damage the precarious balance of my existence, not to mention take the edge off my cynicism, but deal me in anyway.

Peace and Goodwill
should be for life not just for Christmas.