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Barny Boatman
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What was the name of that memory man?

Report by Barny on Wednesday, 15 September 2004 at 7:42 pm

A few months ago I was at a corporate poker evening with the Mob, Simon Trumper and Dave Colclough. Sat net to me was the world champion memory man. His name escapes me. After dinner he stood up and named each of the hundred or so guests. There was something about each one of us that reminded him of our names. I could never do that, but in the course of a year you play against hundreds - maybe thousands - of different people and although it’s impossible to remember them all, its amazing how often you remember what matters. You look up at a face staring across at you and you think ‘Rock’ or ‘Calling Station’ or ‘If I re-raise this guy he’ll put me on Ace King’

When I arrived here a week or so ago the first familiar face I saw was the lift guy at the Nugget. I once met a man in a Macau casino who, when shown a pile of white beans, could instantly tell you whether there was an odd or even amount. This skill was all the more impressive in a way for being utterly pointless and the cheery certainty with which the Nugget lift guy calls out ‘up to twelve sir?’ is strangely moving. Here is a man who is making the most of his job and has found a way to keep himself amused. I must ask him what the trick is that allows him to look at each guest and see a number between two and seventeen, I can’t help thinking that he may have what it takes to be a memory champion or a poker pro. Meanwhile, I changed floors on my second day here and I haven’t had the heart to tell him. I guess that’s the thing about remembering players, they sometimes change too and it’s surprising how often they just don’t have the heart to tell you that you are reading them wrong!

I’m sure doing something wrong right now. Form is a funny thing, the word means different things to different people but it certainly doesn’t just mean whether you are winning or losing. At the WSOP this year I played my best ever poker and never won a thing. I just got unlucky in all the key hands. Here at the Four Queens, with smaller less imposing fields, I’m not even getting close. Whether it’s focus, commitment or whatever I’m obviously not at the top of my game. Yesterday was the $500 seven card stud and although they finally put up a small enough field to get me to the last table I busted out ninth and scored another blank.

Today is a $1,000 No limit event and, despite a late night, a fuzzy head and poor form I’m going into it with a lot of confidence. I look at myself and think ‘Winner’; maybe I just haven’t got the heart to admit that I’m reading myself wrong!

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