poker, sickness

So: sick like the end of everything (with men we are always dying), I stayed home Tuesday to scare my neighbours with my cough. It certainly scared me; it sounded like gravel rattling around, only the stones were covered with goo. Bubbles came out of my mouth. So I stayed home to lay around and groan and cough and wheeze and moan, to stuff kleenex up my nostrils and ask myself how it all came to this. There's never a good answer. Still, sometime in the afternoon, perhaps seeing me miserable and huddled over my humidifier, God sent along some European Poker Tour for me to watch on tv.

Serious business. There were very few bluffs. Extremely aggressive play would sometimes seemingly flare up out of nowhere (like Xuyen 'Bad Girl' Pham going all-in with an A-4 under the gun) but if you looked again there was usually some spark behind the fire (usually, the desperation that attends the short stack, or the fear of being blinded down to nothing). Rarely did these attempts amount to more than a flame-out (Pham, for example, ran into A-K, and was unceremoniously extinguished). Questionable hands and/or loose plays were almost always punished. By and large, and at least until the table shrunk to four and less, the play was very conservative. Players played good hands, full stop. Everything seemed -- as you would expect -- very calculated. Very sober.

It got me thinking about our own little Thursday-night game hosted by Sebastien. Poor Sebastien: usually a good finisher, he really fell down in the gate last week, thanks to a few mediocre hands and a lot of hard liquor. But at least he didn't cry and moan about it like Chico. Really, I think he just wanted to be held. Chico's friend Marcel tried to find his feet, and did manage a few runs by the end of the evening. But it was the ladies, again, who dominated the table. In Fannie's case she did so physically, that is with her voice, this droninghectoringrepetitivesingsong thing, she was like an auctioneer with Tourette's. Seeming to play every hand, making silly, impossible raises. Jaunna got a lot of good cards, played them loosely and was rewarded whenever she was brave. Flo, who complained bitterly about her cards for the first half of the evening, got some rather good ones for the second half. I think she won the most. And me? I played many crappy cards, and managed to win with them more often than I should have. One hand I played -- 3-5 on the button -- made Flo particularly crazy. She had raised from the middle of the table and I still called. Then I flopped a straight. Flo folded and I, unfortunately, proceeded to raise against Jaunna ... who was holding a flush. After I turned them over, Flo would only look at me to give me the stink-eye. And no matter how I tried to explain it (I just had a hunch, I needed to play something, I was trying to mix it up, etcetera), she continued to find my behaviour inexplicable. 'You were supposed to fold that hand,' she grumbled.

I gave her a hug.

Every so often someone complains that we don't play 'by the rules' enough, that we don't follow the accepted mantras of poker play. You know, playing by pot-odds, position, protection, all that jazz. And it's true. Alex, for example, is well-known for defending a pair of 5's to oblivion. Or playing 8-3s because he's in the small blind. Martine is even more famous for going all-in without even looking at her cards. It's a lively table, to say the least. Yes, the card-play is often suspect. Yes, there is a certain wildness and randomness to events. But really, if you're a good player, this shouldn't matter. You should be able to compensate. And then, really, the most important calculation is this: if we have to sacrifice a little professionalism for the sake of fun, then so be it. As far as the more sober version of the game goes, you can always catch it on tv. Just don't yell at the screen when Bad Girl goes all-in.

(Speaking of bad girls; to Tracey and Mary Beth: we missed you.)


  1. Anonymous5:48 pm

    Daryl -

    Missed you, too!

    Great blog, I will return. And, I didn't know you were actually an accomplished writer. Usually when people say they're a writer or working on "stuff", they aren't _really_ a writer. They usually like to write funny emails to friends or something. Not to say I thought you were lying - but you just never boasted of your talents to infer such greatness.

    And, I love the illustrations. And, McSweeney's. And, that shirt you wore the night of our Christmas poker game. Daniel Hector makes great shirts.

    Hope to see you soon -

  2. Anonymous8:13 pm

    Darryl Darryl Darryl,
    dont make me lecture you! Hey, I won 50 bucks that night, thats a lot more than anyone else could say :P you know I love you Darryl, even when you're calling my raise with 5-3 off suit! You're probably my favourite male friend and the fact that you're an accomplished writer makes that a fact! I would love to read some of your work and discuss it with you! Remember, we'll always have thursday nite poker, baby! lol

    flo :)

  3. Anonymous1:11 pm

    Well said Darryl,

    We all know too well how easily influenced Flo can be and calling her raise with a 3-5 was simply a good call even if it was just to witness her reaction to it...

    I also agree with you that fun takes priority over the seriousness of our play. I could probably win more money if I played differently but I would lose the enjoyment of being overly aggressive... Ok, maybe the booze didn’t help my odds of winning but it sure help me in a different way…ha ah

    The diversity and chemistry of our poker group is simply fantastic. Some tight, some lose, some crazy, some good, some not so good but the funny part is that it is anyone's game on any given night...

    So I'll use this opportunity to thank you for your presence and entertainment to my games hoping that you'll keep showing up for many more. The only I’ll ask is that you make a better effort to lose more money… I think that I am well over due for a win!!!


  4. Anonymous10:35 pm

    Dear Darryl,

    I must say that your wit and charm are unrivaled! I completely support not playing by the rules with poker. I attended the games for the great company, witty banter and Eric's colour commentary. I am the self proclaimed rebuy queen and fully acknowledge that my foolish play lined the pockets of my dear friend MB on more than one occasion. That being said I did manage to learn a little from these gatherings even if I choose not to apply what I have learned. It's fun to take a chance.

    At the end of the day I can still boast about being the ultimate poker champ ad nauseam (and yes I will do exactly that). As a matter of fact I am sitting here mother-naked with only my Ultimate Poker Championship belt on for warm and support. I dare any rule infested, uptight gambler to try and take it from me...muhhahhha!

    Take care and keep's fantastic



Post a Comment

Popular Posts