Monday, 30 August 2010


Next to our first-floor fruit bowl, on which there are fresh clementines, pink lady apples and large bananas, I saw something which just looked so decadent I found it hard to stop myself laughing: an empty bottle of red wine (Merlot) with a dirty fork and even-dirtier spoon stuffed into the bottle neck, handle first, the grubby heads sticking out as if to say "yep, this time yesterday we were still alive!"

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Hand History - Part 12

The final night of the Brighton Rack fell on a Monday and, tournament schedules being tournament schedules, the best thing available on a Monday night was a £10 rebuy at the Grosvenor. There may have been a more ambitious tournament at the Rendezvous, but having already experienced once the invincibility of victory followed by the humbling shot-in-the-stomach of defeat, we were not tempted to risk our previous night's winnings on another stab at glory.

The £10 rebuy went fairly badly. I was out first and Goblin fairly soon afterwards. Though I remember what part of the room we were sitting at, I remember very little besides. And so the Brighton Rack ended. We were each up around £50 or so. A lot of playing was done online, although there were no particular highlights or deep runs, I believe much of our profit came from online play. We had been essentially successful in our initial aim - earning enough to cover meals and transport. And it was a lot of fun indeed.

As there is not much to write here I may as well sail on towards September, and the start of Third Year, a year so remarkably different to the previous two.

I kept playing a little during the summer, online mainly. I did have one $200+ tournament win (was an $12 bounty 90 seater, Full Tilt) and by mid September I was around $300 up from where I had started in July.

But it was around that time that, once again, I became greedy. I read an article on 2+2 Forums discussing whether it was possible to make a living at 25NL. Four tables, running at 10 big bets an hour on each... $20 an hour! This was enough to spark the flame of greed, ever present inside me. Oh, if my gluttony were limited to food, it would be alright! But like anyone else, the prospect of a quick buck holds an appeal beyond the merely rational.

Not that my decision was entirely and self-indulgently irrational. The last time I had 4-tabled 25NL (which had been for a few hours back in June) I had done very well, and was alarmed at how easy it was.

This was not to be the case this time. I lost about $150 fairly quickly. Worse still, the aim to my project was rather distorted. Even though my general aim was to 'make money', there was the somewhat conflicting aim of 'achieving SilverStar', SilverStar being the second tier on the PokerStars awards programme.

I couldn't really understand why I was losing, and I stopped playing for a bit.

I did get frustrated with poker sometimes during this period, and occasionally felt an extreme sort of guilt for not doing something better with my time.

At the end of September, just before the beginning of term, I found myself single again, almost a year to the day since the previous time this had happened. The difference being that by now I was quite happy to be so. I won't labour on that, only to say that I had a lot of spare time on my hands. I returned to how things had been eight months earlier - a gentleman of poker, turning up to Poker Society, playing a bit online although increasingly less so due to the demands of Third Year work. However, as I was doing more or less completely what I wanted to do with my time and free from self-conferred restraints, I was happy.

This did not mean I was cured, by any means, of some of my bad habits, pokerwise. On the contrary, I did something which, if read in a history book by people in the future, would look as ridiculous as, say, the Tulipmania does to us now. Essentially, I fell into the perennial trap of the poker player and blamed my earlier failings at 25NL on 'bad luck' along with the fact that I had not been 'sufficiently bankrolled'. I had only had about $250 in my account at the time of my experiment.

Is it any surprise, therefore, that my proposed solution to this problem was to... start with a larger bankroll? An artificially large one at that, so as to provide me as great a pillow as possible.

So it was that at the end of September I sidelined $800 (heaven knows how I had so much money in the first place!) as my 'bankroll'. My aim, simply, would be to increase it over the course of the year. Nothing irrational about this aim, naturally. And it was a very comfortable amount to start on too - 32 buyins for 25NL, a good bankroll for $11 45 seaters, and a good opportunity for me to experiment with fixed-limit games. Just thinking of it now gives me that strange sensation or warmth in my lower limbs. I do not mean it arouses me - heaven forbid! But the idea that $800 could become $900 a month later, $1050 the month after that... it seemed possible. Not only possible but beautiful. Not only possible and beautiful but strangely inevitable.

It wasn't. Within three days of it I was down to $526, at which point I learnt. I was reminded of Cornwallis Burgoyned, for those who know the song. Typical that I should enjoy having failed at something - for at least I failed in an exciting way.

There is so much to say about Third Year and poker that I shall leave things here for now and continue another time.

Friday, 27 August 2010


This morning at the co-op I bought some bananas, along with some other morning items. The man at the till was taking charge of the bagging. He had difficulty opening one of the plastic bags, so I helped him. Odd, thought I, as in all my history of buying things and putting them in plastic bags, never has it been I who have helped them. Perhaps I am growing up?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


One of the fun things about being a historian (there are many) is noticing when people resemble certain historical figures. Sometimes in their persona, but more commonly (and more noticably) in their appearance.

For instance, at a recent interview (of whose outcome am still waiting fourteen days on) my inquisitor looked just like JFK, though without a hint of either the accent or the charm of the said President.

When I went to see Absurd Person Singular a few months ago the long suffering middle-class wife (during the second scene) looked just like Charles I. Whether I was the only person in the audience who noticed this, I do not know. But I was almost certainly the only one who could not contain his laughter upon noticing it.f

Also my driving instructor (and I hope it won't be to long before I will no longer require one) looks just like Frederick the Great. I have shared this comparison with many of my close friends who have had the same instructor. To be frank the description did not resonate with them, partly because many of them haven't seen the said instructor for four years (having approached the matter of driving with a little more urgency than ever I did) and partly because many of them aren't entirely sure what Frederick the Great is meant to look like. Well for the latter I can provide this portrait. See the resemblence!

It's also funny when certain musical instruments remind me of certain people's voices. Brass for the most part.

Or when people resemble certain objects, animals or body parts. Comparing Liberal Democrat leaders, my mother reckoned Paddy Ashdown a 'lion' whereas Charles Kennedy looked rather like a thumb.

Apologies for lack of posts recently, has been a busy three weeks. Granted, I apologise for not having posted. I am not apologising for having been busy!

I have Hand History Part 12 perched in the rafters, which covers the period from the end of the Brighton Rack to the start of Third Year.

But apart from the tournament I played at Nottingham in July I have not played a bit of poker this summer.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


There's something very confusing about using menthol shampoo. Every time I open it my first instict is to ply it over my teeth and brush with it.

In other news I won't be posting much over the next few days, essentially because I'm not going to be here. Have an interview tomorrow and then am off to Kent for the weekend, followed by another interview on Wednesday.

That's the last you'll hear from me about applications btw. I'll let you know if I get a job, I'll jet you know if all my applications come to nothing - but nothing more inbetween shall be said.

All to play for, Chris!