Four King Hell

I don’t understand how you can call that! What on earth did you think I had? – Me to Terry “The Run” Welsh after calling a £25 pre flop bet with pocket fours busting my Kings and taking me for over £300.

Thinking is not really my thing Ching – Terry “The Run” Welsh after neatly stacking my £300 on top of his £300.

There are some sights in the world that you secretly yearn for such as England winning the World Cup, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston playing naked snooker in your front room, and being dealt pocket aces at the poker table. Then there are some sights in the world that you would gladly settle for without even thinking you had gotten second best for an instant such as England winning the European Championships, Kylie and Danni Minogue playing naked snooker and being dealt pocket kings at the poker table.

If you run a spell check over the word Minogue the computer try’s to tell you to change the word to Minge. Steve Jobs is a genius!

Although the thought of the naked girls rattling my balls on the snooker table may sound pleasing it wouldn’t make for a decent story about poker. Therefore I will keep those thoughts for my next Razzle article and instead concentrate on pocket kings.

I once read a story about a World War II navy cook. He could only order his supplies every four months and he had to order enough food to feed 900 males aged between the ages of 18 and 30. One particularly heavy tour the cook had realised that he had accidentally ordered twice as much lemon jelly but no cherry jelly. As all poker players can testify it is the small things that can make a difference when a person is under stress and sailors are no different. Two months out and people started to complain vociferously that there was no cherry jelly. In the face of a potential rebellion the cook decided to get creative. He made lemon jelly as usual but he added red food colouring. It was lemon jelly of course but it looked like cherry jelly. When it was served nobody complained about the jelly. In fact quite the opposite happened. People actually started to thank the cook for finally serving cherry jelly.

The cook simply gave the sailors the opportunity to taste what they expected to taste.

Psychologists call this phenomenon Confirmation Bias or Expectation Assimilation. In the case of the sailors it means that their taste buds were biased by their imagination.

Why else do you think the French say “You taste with your eyes?”

Last night I played in my Tuesday night home game with renewed optimism. After running all the way back to Sep 09 hardly losing a pot I have found myself on the end of three losing weeks out of five. I have really worked hard understanding what has been going wrong and the biggest problem has been my high bluffing frequency. I was determined to keep that in check last night. My bankroll had reduced significantly and just like Kate Moss it was time to pile on those pounds.

The new venue is fantastic. The owner is a Scottish bloke who goes by the name Rob. Every Batman has a Robin, and Rob’s Robin goes by the name Wee Chris. I don’t know him well but I assume he is called Wee Chris because of his striking resemblance to Wee Man from the Jackass shows.

Upon arrival last night I felt as if I had walked into a casino in another part of the world. Rob and Chris were arguing and they could have been speaking in Swahili for all I knew. It has only been two weeks but I have already mastered the art of looking and nodding when they speak to me, never understanding a sentence that leaves their mouths.

Bobby Eggs was on splendid form. He had decided to drink a little bit more ale than usual this evening. He was in mourning. He had just returned from his trip to Italy to see his Mother-in-Law and she had returned to live with them indefinitely. He wasn’t happy.

“She just gave me a row for having too much water in the bowl when I was doing the dishes, the cheeky Fucka!” He told me.

He truly is a sight to behold. Paper thin and of an enviable height. He was dressed in a white tracksuit with the words Italia stencilled in red and blue. I couldn’t help thinking that his mother in law had dressed him. The tracksuit bottoms only came as far as just above his ankles and underneath them lay powder white socks and a pair of black loafers. He had a pair of cheap rectangular spectacles on his craggy nose.

Bob would tell you he isn’t bad for a 60 odd year old.

“Where did you park your drop handle bike Bob?” I said referring to his high tracksuit bottoms. They were so high it looked as though he had bike clips on.

“You cheeky Fucka!” He drawled with an impish laugh.

He was seated next to me and he plonked a brown long length purse with a golden clasp on it right down next to me on the table. It was his Mother in Laws glasses holder. He had lost his and had to borrow hers.

We started the tournament off and despite Bobby Eggs slathering down my ear hole all night my game was pretty sound. Then just after the break I was dealt pocket Kings.

Bobby Eggs limped into the pot and I raised. He looked at me and thought for a while in the manner that normal poker players do when they are contemplating a decision. Most poker players are figuring out my range based on the size of my bet and the frequency of my opening from this position. Inside Bobby’s head was a little monkey with cymbals in each hand going crash, crash, crash.

“I call ya you cheeky little fucka!” Bob finally said.

The flop was rainbow, king high and uncoordinated. I threw Bob some rope but he checked behind me. Never mind there is always the turn and river to get his stack. I have pocket kings after all.

The turn card was an Ace and I saw a glint in his old eyes. I bet and he raised me the minimum. I called hoping he would take the rest of the rope on the river, throw it around the beam on the roof, tie it around his neck and jump off the table.

The turn came an innocuous low card. I thought for a while.

“Come on Ching. I haven’t got anything I was bluffing.” He shouted. This play means he is strong. But I have pocket Kings.

I check. Bob pushes all-in. I laugh at him and call. He takes all my chips after showing me a flush.

I am out. So what happened?

Just like the sailors on the boat I let my imagination bias my senses into believing that I was going to win all of Bobby’s chips. I had pocket Kings so I was entitled to win. As each street progressed I had an ingrained belief that I would win, so ingrained that I didn’t even pay any attention to the runner, runner flush. Why would I need to? I knew the jelly was cherry after all it was red, right?

I humbly departed and started to set the cash game table up. The game started slow with Andrew “Too Nice” Bayliss, Eddies Dad Steve and a young lad called Lloyd playing NLHE and PLO because they were the only games Lloyd knew how to play. Then things changes when Terry “The Run” Welsh sat down.

“I don’t know what the colours are?” Said Terry.

“Try reading the numbers on them. £1, £5 and £10!” I said.

“Alright slow down it isn’t my fault I am colour blind?” Said Terry.

I had promised everyone that I was going home at 01:00 come rain or shine. At exactly 01:00 I was dealt Danni and Kylie Minogue. Skit raised to £5 and Terry called. I raised to £25, Skit folded and Terry called.

The flop came down 234r and I led out for a bet of £40. Terry instantly raised the pot to £80. I looked down at my winning hand, licked my lips and shoved all in for about £300. Terry didn’t bat an eyelid and calmly said call. I waited for him to roll over his pocket nines or tens and instead saw him roll over pocket fours for a set.

I obviously didn’t leave at 01:00.

When I finally got home I didn’t sleep. Instead I just lay their thinking of jelly.

Cherry Flavoured jelly.

Or was it Lemon?

First Published in Poker Pro Europe Magazine