The perfect recipe

Get the knowledge – beat the field

He had as much verbal ammunition as a 14-year-old

I have a new favourite recipe at the poker table. It requires the following ingredients: 180lb of congenial player, one heaped tablespoon of crotchety old rock and one large pinch of obnoxious wannabe pro. Lightly simmer said components over a low stakes freezeout for a delightful, yet fiery blend, that will leave you feeling satisfied.

I discovered this compelling concoction at a £20 no-limit Hold’em tourney that is often populated by beginners, so when sitting down next to a fellow poker hack we were, quite frankly, buggering about. I can only conclude that our inane banter made a couple of the self-important local regulars peg us as rank beginners.

A slightly dishevelled Clive Owen look-alike sat three seats to my left. With an iPod in one ear, his cringe-worthy attempt at a languid pose made him look more like an East European man-whore taking a well-deserved rest, than the hustler he so blatantly wanted to be. So wrapped up was he in his belief that he was the best player – as illustrated by his solitary chip trick – that he forgot to play.

He was a modern day Mussolini: too busy preening his hat to stop his troops from going into full retreat. Upon raising his big blind for the first time he leant forward and warned me that, ‘Next time, I’ll call you blind.’ Good! Calling out of position with any two cards is just asking for trouble.

His attempt at intimidation, just like Mussolini’s, achieved the opposite effect as the fellow poker journalist and myself ripped into the socially inept individual. And it really wasn’t difficult. He had as much verbal ammunition as a stroppy 14-year-old and was easier to read than the health warning on a packet of fags.

The table at large saw how much fun we were having and promptly joined us in shredding him. From the way that he huffed off it’s unlikely his ego will let him realise the part he played in his own downfall. While he was no doubt spitting blood about playing with ‘fish’ I had a great time all the way to the final table. So remember, if you make yourself a target, don’t be surprised if people come gunning for you.

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