Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wall Of Shame plus a few other Vic Ramblings

I went to the Vic the other day and noticed they've had a bit of a refurb. The colour scheme is fairly vile, but what is quite fun is a mural of the London skyline on the back wall. If you look closely you can see that it is made up of poker players' faces, a mix of Vic regulars and famous European and American pros. I must admit to feeling a bit left out that my pic isn't there considering I was at one time a pretty hardcore regular, but then again I hardly go there anymore at the moment and it's only my pathetic ego that's making me think like that, so what difference?

Anyway, I made a comment that it reminded me of that portrait of Myra Hindley by Marcus Harvey that was made up of children's handprints which caused a furore at the Royal Academy a few years ago and naturally some wag made a joke along the lines of the wall painting in the Vic being more evil as it was full of thieves, rapists and murderers. Some other wit then made a joke about the mural actually being a picture of everyone that Brian Stander owes money to. Hmmm, maybe I'm glad I didn't make it onto the Wall of Shame.

As I was waiting for a seat I sweated Willie Tann as he played in the £250 plo game. I received a masterclass when he raised before the flop with 3 4 5 6 double suited (diamonds and clubs) and then bet the pot when checked to on a K T 9 flop which contained two diamonds. His only caller was Lisa Hawkes out of the small blind. The next card paired the board and Lisa checked. Willie quickly looked at the £375 he had left and then bet £150. Lisa ummed and errred and made a comment about how that bet scared her more than if Willie had bet the pot. Willie replied that he wanted her to call of course. After more hesitation Lisa called. The river made no difference and Lisa checked again and now Willie went all in. After a long dwell up and some good verbal from Willie along the lines of, "You can see my hand afterwards if you want" Lisa finally folded. Ok it's all standard stuff, but it was a good reminder that you need to leave yourself enough money to bluff with on the river. Plus all the excellent moody which was highly convincing. Willie could tell that Lisa was conflicted and leaning towards folding, but something was telling her that maybe her hand was a winner; he just encouraged her in the right direction (for him).

All this moody got me thinking me that one negative aspect of poker is how we all become two-faced bastards. How many times have we become friendly with a live one? Commiserated oh so sincerely when the star has done his chips? "Unlucky, you're just running bad" and all that sort of shit? I say all this because later on I found myself talking with a player (who I like incidentally) about a mutual friend of ours and he started going on about how our mutual friend was a terrible loser. As I heard myself agreeing I suddenly realised I was actually chatting to one of the worst losers of all time! This is a player who if he goes behind just a tiny amount steams like crazy and starts chasing like you wouldn't believe. Did I say, Hold on _____, you're a much worse loser than ol' so and so? Nah, of course not.

I'm now reminded of another Vic regular who once said to me that he thought he was a really disciplined player. I nearly choked on my cup of tea. This was a guy who was a known card flinger and whose emotional state can best be described as 98% tilt. He always blamed it all on bad luck, not actually realising that continually chasing your losses by raising out of position in the blinds when several other players who know you are completely cracked up have limped in is not what most reasonably good players would describe as "disciplined".

Speaking of disciplined, DY was there and he was telling me all about the e-poker table at the new Ladbrokes Casino down the road. Of course it's faster and you get loads more hands and all that malarkey, but I hope it doesn't take off. Maybe I'm an old fart, but it just wouldn't be the same. And just so you don't think I'm a Luddite I remember being quite excited about internet poker when it first started. Anyway, I then noticed that several regulars were missing - Declan Devereux, Michael Arnold, Fred Carle and Alan Abrahams. Maybe they were all down the Ladbrokes getting the lot...