20/02/2008

Pocket Queens and Kevin from Coro

Barry Carter

There are some landmark moments in sport which I think that history certainly got it wrong:

  • Henry Cooper should have beaten Muhammad Ali in one of their two matches, as he was on his way there both times before external factors stood in the way (In the form of cuts to Cooper or Ali being allowed to recover when his gloves came loose.)
  • At least one of the last two disallowed Sol Campbell goals against Argentina and Portugal should have stood, surely sealing a major International final for our boys.
  • And surely Newcastle should have beaten Man Utd in their 1995-96 season title winning encounter, just so the world could have seen Kevin Keegan and how he reacts when he is “loving it”.

I now have another one to add to that list, and it is that my pocket queens should have held against the ace-king of Robin Keston during my televised poker debut last week in the European Open. Not because it was unlucky (standard coin flip as we all know), not because I deserved to win and not because Robin Keston wasn’t deserving of the victory himself (Very nice man.....the lucky b%&*%).

No, it’s because busting out of that heat has robbed me of the chance to play against Kevin Webster from Coronation Street. Michael Le Vell, the actor that plays him, won the celebrity heat and was through to the semi final.

You see, when my heat is televised in a month or two, chances are I’ll be watching it with my Mum and Dad as they live just up the road. I think I played very well against a very tough table, had the above hand gone my way I would have been in good shape to win the heat. All this will probably be lost on them and I’ll have to explain how good/unlucky I was on a hand for hand basis.

But if Kevin Webster was sat at my table, the whole game would have had meaning for them. Watching their son lock horns with someone from a show they haven’t missed an episode of for 17 years (Completely true, it actually meant they missed the start of my appearance on Sky Poker last year) would have been greater than any gift the $200,000 first prize could have gotten them. Annette Obrestad, Phil Hellmuth and Roland De Wolfe would have been mere extras in the Rovers Return to what would have been the ultimate battle for my parent’s affection: their son vs Coronation Street.

But it wasn’t to be, and for someone who has just bust out of a tournament I am surprisingly content. I was cacking myself in the build up to playing on TV and probably went to the toilet more in a 24 hour period than I did in all of January. I’d told myself not to even bother playing the first few hands and just feel the whole game out first, but the next thing I know I had raised 7 of the first 10 hands.

Once the cards were in the air, it was just another game of poker and I am very pleased with how I played. I’d built up a big stack prior to my elimination, made a few moves and generally looked like a proper poker player. Whether or not Roland De Wolfe and Jesse May agreed with me in the commentary box remains to be seen, but the show is months away so I have a grace period where I go to sleep at night imagining them saying “another strong move by table captain Barry Carter”.

As confident as I am that I played the least donkiest game I could have played, I am equally as confident that I will have done nothing beneficial for reputation in my pre and post game interviews. The guys at VC Poker told me to really go for it and come across as a big character for them, but after take after take, cut after cut and several breaks for a drink of water, I think we called it a day with a high pitched:

“Hello.....My Name........ is ......Barry Carter............Ihavebeenplayingpokerforfiveyears”

I got a text from TD Mad Marty Wilson later that day telling me how well I had played, which I’m sure he sends to everybody for contractual reasons, but either way it has just cemented the fact that I want another crack at playing poker on TV again soon. The cameras add an extra pressure you’re not used to as a poker player, but they also add extra value to the mix like big prizes, meeting Kevin Webster and getting another line on your Hendon Mob database for every heat you play.