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Barny Boatman
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Shouting and swearing

The first day of the H.O.R.S.E tournament was a day off for Ross Joe and I, but for Ram it was an irresistible opportunity to play big. ‘After this’ he told me ‘they’ll change my name to Crazy H.O.R.S.E.’

I came down to watch the closing stages of day one and with Ram going well I found myself a seat in a cash game. At about 2am the tournament director got on the mike to explain to the H.O.R.S.E players how they should bag up their chips, what they should write on their slips and when they should return the next day. The PA was turned up a lot louder than usual which made it all the more unfortunate that he found himself compelled to repeat the instructions over and over, until none of us could remember a time before this deafening groundhog-minute mantra had begun. Oblivious to the pleading and the bleeding ear drums, he continued to bellow: ‘Once again, play will commence at two pm tomorrow…’

Everyone in the room was going on tilt. ‘If he says ‘once again’ one more time,’ screamed one visibly shaken player at my table, ‘I’ll ram that mike down his throat. These guys have all put up 50k to play in this event; does he think they are idiots? How many times does he have to tell them when to come back tomorrow?’

At 11 am the next morning the phone rang. ‘Hi, it’s Ram. Do you know what time the H.O.R.S.E starts?

You probably know my opinion of the ‘F bomb’ rule. A lot of players have canvassed Harrahs on the subject and I have yet to hear one player or dealer speak up in favour of the rule which, I am pleased to say, is being universally ignored. Even if they insist on retaining this daft unpopular and unenforceable rule, why do they have to spell it out at the start of every event? Why not tell us something useful like ‘action out of turn is binding’; ‘bets must be completed in one forward motion’; or ‘If you hold your tournament receipt upside down you can pass it off as a drinks voucher’ (Thanks Padraig). Why must they always make the same patronising and insulting little speech? Anyone playing here for the first time would assume that they must be battling against a constant barrage of foul mouthed abuse. This simply isn’t the case. Every table I have been on has been good natured and the chat, ‘f word’ included, has been friendly and fun.

Personally I would like them to start each tournament by reminding everyone to keep their chips in view. I am constantly having to ask players to let me see their chips, which are hidden behind, or even in, their hands. You can give away a lot if you are forced to ask, and you can make costly mistakes if you fail to notice hidden chips. I think the tournament director should begin each event by saying: ‘Once again, will everyone please keep their fucking chips where Barny can see them!

One or two of you may want to know how the poker has been going. Well, I’ve been gathering chips early in most events and getting myself into some good positions. On the whole I’ve been very happy with my play although I made a bad bluff against Phil Helmuth in the 5K no limit and a terrible call to knock myself out of the Pot Limit Omaha. I think it’s fair to say that overall I haven’t had the rub of the green when it’s mattered, and it’s certainly disheartening to have had so many good starts without a single cash. But I’m not the only one in this position and I know how many people would give anything to be here playing in all these events.

The others haven’t played as many events as me, but Ross and Joe have managed a cash each. Joe had one of the worst beats imaginable when his car failed to pick him up for day two of the short handed tournament. With one empty seat and another late player his table was playing three handed and he had lost a third of his chips by the time he arrived.

We’re pacing ourselves better this year and when I go really deep into a tournament I sometime take the next day off even if it’s something I’d planned to play. So, despite everything I’m going to be fresh and confident for the big one. For the past four or five years it’s taken some horrible beats to separate me from my chips in the championship event and I feel I’m due for a major result this time. But then again, I always back Spain in the World Cup!

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