Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? ~Fanny Brice

When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth – Peter, Dawn of the Dead 78

I will assume that anyone reading this is familiar with reading poker literature. I am. I don’t think there is a book in the market about poker that I haven’t read. The first time I allowed a poker book to break through my literary hymen I started to feel like I was a better player as soon as I had finished that last page. The intelligent thing to do was to go out and buy another book whilst simultaneously attempting to introduce all of my newly found knowledge on the green baize. For months I felt like Neo on the Nebuchadnezzar when he was having his mind uploaded with “combat training”. After a while I started to stop learning anything new and instead I felt like I was revising. Each book had the same framework as the last.

  1. Bankroll Management
  2. Table Selection
  3. Pre Flop Play
  4. Post Flop Play
  5. Turn Play
  6. River Play
  7. Pot Odds
  8. Implied Odds
  9. Reverse Implied Odds

Blah, blah fucking blah.

Like a desert there are pages and pages of wasted literary space all teaching you one thing. To play a certain way, be a certain type of poker player. Hitler would have been an excellent poker author. His views on the introduction of an Aryan race would have fitted the mould perfectly.

Lets take a concept such as table or game selection. If you follow the poker literature out there you will know that you must seek out the fish. Find games that are easy.

Easy = Games where people have an inferior poker skill level than you. Beginners. Rich people with money to burn. Stupid people. Inebriated people.

There is one thing for certain. I don’t fit into the poker player mould. The mould the poker books are trying to create. I don’t like the criteria of an easy game. In fact I hate it, don’t enjoy one minute of it.

Last night the Tuesday night home game transferred to a different venue with a different crowd. A venue and crowd that was brimming with people who fitted into my category of “easy” perfectly. A pool teeming with fish. I parked up the van and bustled my way through the glue sniffing kids hanging around the front door. The auditory experience was overwhelming to say the least. Had I walked into a Metallica concert? I quickly glanced around the room like a Gladiator in the coliseum. I nearly turned right around when I noticed the organiser setting up tables right next to the dance floor. The lads were split right down the middle there were those like me who had come for the kill. Fuck Metallica! I wasn’t here to practice my “Guitar Hero” skills I was here to fish and I planned on hauling in a great catch. Then there were those who were here to celebrate the bank holiday. They were here to get pissed and playing poker was something they were going to do on the side as they slowly made their way through the top shelf.

My table, which incidentally was a pool table, was soft as shit. There were two players who had a fundamental grasp of poker theory, three that didn’t, two that were hammered and didn’t really know why they were at the table, one who had never played before and me. Easy right? I was happier when I was at the WSOPE and found myself seated next to Ferguson, Juanda and Boeree!

I couldn’t hear anything. If people weren’t singing they were talking. You had to consistently tell people that it was their turn. The action was painfully slow.

How much? Am I the blind? Can I check? What do these colours mean? How many cards are in the flop thing?

Within minutes someone had lost his stack down one of the holes in the pool table midway through a hand. If you thought that was confusion then that was nothing compared to the explosion when Ginger accused Kurty of not putting his £10 into the pint glass during the rebuy. Kurty got so incensed that he stopped the game and we had to count all of the chips in the middle so he could prove to Ginger that he wasn’t stealing. This was quite difficult as most of the chips were down the hole in the pool table! Nobody argues with a big hard Turk and the money was counted. It turns out both Ginger and Kurty were sort of right. Kurty had put a £20 in the pint glass instead of a £10. Amazing how you can argue with a man who will call your £500 with Ace high yet he can be accused of stealing £10.! Alcohol has a knack of starting a fight in a convent.

I decided to play it tight. After all people were calling with anything and after the hand had finished you had to point out that they had won. Again. Poker hand ranking had gone clean out of the window. The local alcoholic kept making a bee-line towards me. He only said one thing but he said it a thousand times to me all night.

“I shit my pants earlier on by the bar! Fuck it who cares its only shit right!”


I started to think how lucky it was that he wasn’t playing. I kept thinking of his shitty hands touching the chips and then me touching the chips and spreading his shit onto my mouth during the game. It wasn’t until the game had finished that I realised that no-one except for me was washing their hands in the toilet which meant I probably had at least thirty different types of piss in my mouth as I handled the pissy chips and then unknowingly placed my hands no doubt on my lips. Nice.

As I looked around the room people’s faces began to change. Whereas I was seeing dead people in my bedroom they were now following me into the pub. I don’t think people notice the physical effects alcohol has on the face, maybe because when your friends are pissed so are you. Maybe psychologically you don’t want to admit it. Don’t want to admit that you look like shit? When you are sober and you watch this metamorphic marvel it is quite astounding. It’s like being in a scene from a George Romero movie. Eyelids droop, crows feet lines appear, complexion turns white apart from around the eyes that turn a shade of black and the globes themselves just look dead. People wobble, slur and basically haven’t got a clue where they are or what they are doing. They are zombies and this place has just turned into Zombieland.

The lad on the table who had never played before cleaned up.

“This poker game is easy! I don’t know what all the fuss is about.” He said.

So in summary that was probably the easiest £800 you could have wished to win. Not for me. Zombies are for the movies and easy tables are for someone else. For me I will stick with Ferguson, Juanda and Boeree and I promise you one thing.

The day Liv Boeree tells me she has shit in her knickers by the bar I will give up the game completely.