Thursday, October 31, 2019

You know it’s for kids right?

I'm going to recount a conversation I had with Mrs AC a few weeks ago:

Mrs AC - Are you here on October 31?
Me - I think so. Why?
Mrs AC - there's a Halloween party and we're invited
Me - where?
Mrs AC - Such and such bar
Me - cool, as long as I'm in NY then I'll come

Now if this were in the U.K. it would have been the end of the conversation. It wasn't.

Mrs AC - what are you going to go as?
Me - eh?
Mrs AC - your costume?
Me - I was thinking bloke in a suit who needs a beer before slowly graduating to bloke in a suit who's had too many beers and needs to go home
Mrs AC - no you need to have a Halloween costume
Me - really? Can't I just turn up and drink beer?
Mrs AC - nope, everyone is dressing up. You'll look stupid if you don't have a costume
Me - I'll look stupid in a costume dressed up like kids do. You realise Halloween is for kids right?
Mrs AC - then you'll love it. You're the most immature person I know.

She's got me there.

Now I haven't been to a proper Halloween costume party since I was about 10 - I went as a skeleton. But our costumes were all homemade and therefore really shit. My costume consisted of my mum's black tights (pantyhose) with paper cut outs of bones stuck to them. Until all the bones fell off and I was just some odd kid hyped out of his head on cheap lemonade and too much candy wearing his mum's tights.

So tonight I'm off to a costume party dressed as Frankenstein's monster and I'm quite looking forward to it. There will be beer, the 49ers are on TNF and I get to spend one more night with Mrs AC who will be dressed as a witch before heading back to London on Friday and it's unlikely we'll see each other until the end of November.

And if it all goes wrong no one will be able to tell that it's me that's had too many beers under my monster costume - and at least I won't be wearing my mum's tights.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Table stakes only

Following on from my last blog, I met Mrs AC at the airport on Friday morning and worked from home for the day whilst we caught up. I finished my work on Saturday and we'd arranged to have a couple of my friends and their partners round for dinner.

I've been friends with one of these guys since the early 2000s and there's virtually nothing we haven't got up to together - we've had countless drunken adventures together with the most memorable probably being separate trips for both our 30th birthdays. For his we ventured to Krakow where his dodgy Russian language skills got us taken to a brothel on the edge of a very rough looking part of town when he's adamant that he asked to be taken to a lively club where we could drink and dance. The highlight of my 30th birthday trip was a visit to a strip club in Budapest only for my dancer to kneel on my phone which was inside my pocket, call the original Mrs AC without my knowledge who then proceeded to listen to an hour's worth of drunken shenanigans (the hour international phone charge was the least of my worries when I got back from that weekend). And what was he doing whilst this went on? Well he was getting himself thrown out of the aforementioned strip club for getting up on stage and trying to dance using the pole. The other guy is an ex work colleague turned drinking partner. I don't think I've actually been in a social situation with him where we haven't been drinking - he's also a keen beer nerd like me and was very keen to sample the beer I'd picked up in Belgium during the week (the verdict was it's good but apparently needs to age for a few months to develop the full flavour range).

So, a dinner party involving us all is not the smart, sophisticated affair you might believe that all English folks have on a weekend. We had one at the first friend's a few years ago which involved quite a big fire in his garden, which was only partly intentional.

Over drinks and dinner we got talking about our trip to Las Vegas and Mrs AC professed her shock that I've never actually been to Vegas with either of these friends. I think we planned to go one year but the original Mrs AC fell pregnant so that scuppered that plan - if I ever find out who's responsible for that I'm going to have words with him!!

But we told our stories of our drunken idiocy which kept the girls amused until Mrs AC wanted to know the most salacious thing I'd ever encountered in Vegas. The oldest cost centre, who is still at the table trying to act grown up asks what salacious means, "It means it's time for you to get ready for bed as the conversation is going to get blue" I reply.

But I was actually stuck here because I had virtually nothing, I've never been to a strip club in Vegas, have only had a couple of brief and mostly uninteresting interactions with hookers and am generally in town on my own. I was trying to recall anything of interest that I've already blogged about (neither Mrs AC nor my friends know about this blog) but I've actually already told her most of my stories but then I had a flashback - it was the poker session with a very flirty lady who wanted to play for more than just table stakes.

This was about 4 years ago, just after I'd started coming here quite regularly and hadn't even come across a poker blog, let alone considered starting my own so I'd not started taking notes on players or hand histories which is why I've never posted this story before - there's obviously some Freudian reason why this had been repressed deep down in my memory and the reason for this will probably become obvious later on.

I'd been at the table for an hour or so and was enjoying my usual unhealthy intake of free beer when a lady sits down on my left hand side. She's got a drink in her hand and she says that she needs to get drunk to cheer herself up. Super - I've got a drinking partner now so I'm effectively not a solo drinking degenerate for a couple of hours. She clinks her glass against my bottle and necks her vodka and tonic whilst she's ordering another one from the waitress.

She says she's celebrating the anniversary of her divorce which is why she wants to get drunk. She asks about my marital status and I tell her that I'm divorced as well - this definitely perks her up as she tells me she's always had a thing for English guys. Now at this point it's probably pertinent to describe myself - at the time I was not really in shape and I definitely don't bear any resemblance to Brad Pitt or George Clooney. I've had a tough life (I always joke that my paper round was uphill both ways) and I probably look older than my true age of mid to late 30s (despite my mental age barely being out of the teens).

This lady has a problem though - although she's pretty and in good shape she's also at least 10 years older than me and I've never really been into that sort of Mrs Robinson thing. So I'm not overly interested in flirting with her although I'm more than happy to have a drunken conversation at the poker table. She's also very flirtatious with most of the guys at the table so this is probably just her being friendly rather than trying some sort of pick up. At this point of the story Mrs AC is in hysterics - she's 12 years younger than me and says she would have loved to have seen the look on my face when I'm being pounced on by a cougar.

But anyway - back to the story.

Over the space of an hour or so she continues to drink and flirt - she's also very tactile and puts her hand on my arm or neck whilst she's talking to me and more than once she's put her hand on my leg. Whilst I'm not an overly tactile person I'm not bothered as she's very friendly and it's a nice change to have a friendly female as opposed to the miserable guys who frequently populate poker tables.

This continues for quite a while and she's not afraid of divulging very personal information - delighting in telling the table about the boob job she's got planned and asking very personal questions of her neighbours - especially me. She's asks me how "big" I am and the dealer almost gets beer spat at him. I laugh at her and she then looks to see how big my feet are as she says you can tell a guy's size from that. She seems impressed at what she sees as she continues to flirt and talk suggestively.

But then I get into a hand with my new admirer. I flop the nut flush and get a call on all streets from only Ms Cougar until the river when I'm still holding the nuts. I bet $75 and she min raises to $150. I have her covered - maybe $350 left to her $200 so I need to raise. I decided to shove. I announce all in and she thinks for a bit and is acting a bit confused. I think the stack differences are the cause of her confusion.

"So it's $350 to me?" she questions. Well it's not is it? It's $200. The dealer confirms it's all in for her to call but she's still confused. She seems to think she can win my full stack if she calls and wins which is obviously wrong - she can only win whatever she can match. So she clarifies the situation. "I can only win an extra $200 from you?" following up with "Is there any way I can win all of it?"

She then leans into me and whispers in my ear "If you put your whole stack on the line I'll let you take me back to your room for the night". Ok - the dealer is now definitely wearing some of my beer.

Mrs AC is now on the floor upon hearing this tale of a cougar about to pounce on me. She tells the dinner table she can imagine me screaming in terror as I'm dragged off.

So back to the table - there's a problem. Ms Cougar might have thought that she whispered this offer to me and me alone but the alcohol has probably messed up her volume control. It was nowhere close to a whisper - the entire table and some of the players on the table behind have heard and are waiting for my response to being devoured by a hungry and horny cougar. Do cougars eat their mate after copulating? I'm not hanging about to find out or let her do either to me. There's shortly going to be an AC shaped hole in the nearest wall if this carries on.

I probably have a look of abject terror on my face and for once I'm completely lost for words. What the fuck is an appropriate response to this? Thanks but a polite decline? Pretend I've misinterpreted her advance and tell her that there's no need to clean my room as housekeeping does a sterling job?

Luckily the dealer helps me out once he's stopped laughing "I think it's table stakes only here" he pipes up with.

I remain silent, hoping that she doesn't make the offer again. She announces call and I turn over my cards and scoop the pot. She rebuys and goes back to her flirtatious self but doesn't mention her offer again, much to my delight.

So thanks to Mrs AC for providing the impetus to remembering this story - now off to raid the bar in the BA lounge at Heathrow (we're heading back to NY later today) as I need to drink to forget this again. It's either booze or subject Mrs AC to me waking up screaming in the middle of the night and booze is probably cheaper than therapy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The butterfly effect

There’s a saying related to chaos theory that a butterfly flapping its wings over the Pacific can start a hurricane over the Atlantic. It’s obviously not meant to be taken literally but essentially means that a small or meaningless act can potentially have a much greater effect than previously foreseen. And today I know exactly how that feels.

My mother came to visit. Luckily only for a few days as I’m not sure I can handle any longer - she’s perfectly fine in her own home where she has her routine but ask her to do anything that deviates from the norm is like asking a hyped up toddler to behave - it’s just not going to happen.

Within 24 hours of arriving she’d driven me mad. Deciding to do some vacuuming she almost smashed the vacuum cleaner through the TV screen (it was a sports filled Sunday so I really would have lost it had she actually broken the screen), then broken the vacuum cleaner, whined about who to support in the rugby, refused to eat what we were all having for lunch and taken 2 hours to tell me about a 10 minute walk to the park with the main gist being that she saw someone with a dog. She also managed to have the washing machine on constantly for a whole day - did she bring laundry with her?

Then without me realising she’d fucked around with the heating controls so when I woke up at 6am on Monday it was about 3,000 degrees in the house but there was no hot water. What a great way to start the week.

But I’d given her a job to do on Monday that she surely couldn’t fuck up. Stay in the house and sign for a delivery. It was going to arrive before noon so it’s really not that difficult. It usually takes her this long to get up, have her breakfast and moan about everything on the news so it wasn’t going to be a major inconvenience.

Now the delivery I was expecting was important - nothing valuable but a client was sending me some papers which I needed to read ahead of a meeting on Friday. So the plan was to do my reading on Tuesday, head to Belgium to pick my beer up on Wednesday, finish my reading on Thursday ahead of meetings on Friday and picking Mrs AC up from Heathrow as she’s heading over from NY.

So when I get home on Monday eveningthere are 2 surprises waiting for me. There’s no package been delivered and there’s a cat sat on my sofa. I don’t own a cat and have never, in my entire life, owned a cat.

Upon asking my mother where my package is I’m told “You’re out of cat food. I had to go and buy some.” Another one of her problems is that she just can’t answer a question directly, no tangent is too bizarre for her to deviate onto - I think the weirdest one recently has been the answer to “If we get pizza what do you want?” involving her wittering about where her best friend used to live 40 years ago.

So anyway. Where the fuck is my package? (I don’t actually swear in front of my mother - any foul language is only in my head and used to emphasise what I’m thinking during this whole conversation).

“Well I had to go out to get cat food and they must have come whilst I was out”. Why in fuck’s name did you have to go out to get cat food? “Well you’d run out and he was hungry”. Even for her this is batshit insane.

“Why would I have cat food, I don’t have a cat” I reply.

“How was I to know - I just presumed he was yours” pointing to the cat that is about to get ejected from my sofa. “If you’d told me you didn’t have a cat then we wouldn’t be in this mess would we?” Yes, this is definitely my fault and there’s no way of this conversation continuing without me spannering you around the back of your head.

So anyway - I now have no papers, an irate cat who is being kicked out of the house and a cupboard full of cat food.

Tuesday morning and I get a call from the client - did you get the papers? Err no but there’s no way I’m telling him this batshit idiocy. I tell him no and they’ll have to resend them to me, “Fuck (he really did swear on the phone to me), that means we can’t have the meeting on Friday. How does Monday work for you?”

Not good to be honest - I’m meant to be on a plane with Mrs AC back to NY then with another client all next week. They can wait. We rearrange the meeting to Monday and I go about sorting this mess out.

I’m not getting the papers till Thursday, so Friday and then part of the weekend is going to be spent going through them so part of my weekend is ruined, Mrs AC is going to need some retail therapy to get her out of the way whilst I work and I need to reschedule our flights back to NY and make sure the other client is ok with my revised travel plans.

All because I never thought to tell my mother that I don’t have a cat!!

Edit to add extra bonus batshit insanity:

My mother was scheduled to go home on Wednesday and I’d be out all day so I ordered her a cab from a very good local car service to take her to the airport. All she had to do was pack her suitcase, sort out whatever she wanted for breakfast and wait for the car to arrive. How hard could that be?

I was driving through France and Belgium and missed a call from her so got a very panicked voicemail asking me to call her. About 5 minutes after I’d received the call I phoned and could barely hear a thing as there was an alarm going off in the background - my burglar alarm at home.

“What’s the burglar alarm code?” she eventually asks. I tell her and eventually the alarm stops. It turns out she’d tried to set the alarm by guessing the code which eventually set it off. Why in the name of insanity she would do this I have no idea. I’d specifically told her not to worry about the alarm as I only use it when I’m away for more than a day or so. She’s been numerous times and never tried to set it before.

She tells me the cab is there to pick her up and off to the airport she goes - no doubt to witter at the driver all the way to the airport so I’ll have to make amends next time I use them.

A few minutes later I get another call - this time from another number that I don’t recognise. It’s the alarm company who are investigating why the alarm has been ringing. I try to explain the situation but in order to proceed they need the 2nd and 4th digits of my security number. I have literally no idea what this number is so they can’t confirm my identity and tell me the police will be on their way. Oh joy.

Turns out that someone came over, could see no evidence of forced entry and just files a report which might cost me money due to wasting their time.

Friday morning I pick up Mrs AC from the airport and we spend the day at home - Mrs AC is looking for something in the cupboard and asks “Why do you have cat food, did you get a cat?” to which I reply “Honey, it’s a long story. You’d better get me a beer!”  

Friday, October 11, 2019

I’ll always be the guy that can’t finish his beers

Quite a few years ago I lived in the Netherlands and I loved it. I had an apartment just outside Amsterdam city centre, got up later than I'd usually have been in the office in London, cycled to work and was still usually the first person in at 8.30am or so. The office also emptied out by 5.30 pm so I could enjoy my evenings on most days of the week. 

That enjoyment usually entailed heading out for beers a few days of the week, not always a heavy session but I found quite a few decent bars which became my regular haunts. I had a non Dutch colleague who had a Dutch boyfriend (they are now married) and she told me a story of their first date - when she was ready to go she still had half a drink left and her soon to be boyfriend made her finish it. I thought it hilarious but it emphasised how the Dutch are notoriously careful with their money. Not to an extent of being tight, they are very hospitable and will always offer a drink when amongst friends but they like to get what they pay for - if they've bought a drink then they expect it to be finished. I decided to implement this in my own life and to this day I still refer to it as "Amsterdam rules". 

This has lead to numerous situations where I've ordered an unfamiliar beer and not particularly liked it but struggled through and finished it before I can order another one. I do try to order new beers all the time and I've had some absolute horror shows - there was one that was so hoppy and bitter that it effectively turned my face inside out, a smoked beer that tasted like rancid bacon and an absolutely lovely German wheat beer that must rank as one of my favourite beers of all times. That's not a problem I hear you say - well it is when I tell you this beer absolutely disagrees with me, if I have more than half a pint of this beer I'm hugging the great white telephone in the bathroom all night, there's something in it that makes me ill and for the life of me I don't know what it is. 

But I've never broken my Amsterdam rules, until recently. I hate myself for it and I might have to hang up my beer drinking trousers in shame

I was out socially a week or so ago with a client in New York. I've been out for beers with this guy a few times and he's quite good fun to be around - he loves a beer almost as much as me and whenever I'm in town I usually arrange to meet up with him. We'd had a couple of beers when he suggested we order the seasonal speciality - pumpkin beer. Ok - I'm open minded and always keen to try out a new one I told him so we both ordered pints of it (if only they served it in smaller glasses European style my honour might have remained intact). The first mouthful nearly ended up getting spat back at the bar tender. It was fucking horrible. I asked whether the beer was off, unfortunately not was the reply. 

So it's actually meant to taste like that? Now I know Americans have very different tastes sometimes - everything seems to be full of sugar, syrup for breakfast and putting half a strawberry on a steak is just fucking weird. But this was beyond weird, it was the worst thing I've ever put in my mouth. That probably includes eating god knows what when I was a kid. How in sweet jesus could anyone actually enjoy this?

My drinking buddy is already half way through his and I've still got nearly a full pint left. Maybe if I get something really hot to kill my taste buds I can get it done 

But unfortunately I'm on my own here and I need to pull my socks up. I take another mouthful and swallow it. It's so vile I think I'm going to be sick. In fact it actually tastes like I've thrown up in my own mouth and swallowed it again. And I've still got 85% of a pint worth of sick to go. This is going to be hard. I seriously can't stand this - should I drop or spill my beer deliberately? 

Now if this were in London, where we often stand on the street outside of pubs whatever the weather, I would consider actually spilling my beer. But as we're in the US, which seems to be very backward in its public alcohol laws (NY is not too bad but doesn't one state have some retarded rule that all drinks have to be poured out of view of customers?) and we're inside I can't bring myself to do it. (As an aside is it obvious why I love the relaxed attitude to public consumption in Las Vegas - in my mind it's actually illegal to not be carrying an open container when walking down the strip. Perhaps when I come to power it will be). 

I struggle to sip a bit more of my beer but even the smell is now making me want to heave. My drinking buddy has now finished his pint and looks at me struggling and bursts out laughing "I think I've won, I don't think I've ever finished a beer before you. You must be ill" he jokes. This is only our 3rd or 4th beer so it's obvious that neither of us is drunk and can't handle another beer. 

I explain it's the god awful pumpkin nonsense that has no right to be called beer - for the love of god who thought that was a good idea? We both order another beer and I tell him about my Amsterdam rules and how I've tried to finish it but I'm not getting any sympathy - he tells me jokingly that in his mind I'll always be the guy that can't finish his beers. 

And just for Ace here's a picture of the offending beer

Plus I've since found another review so it's not just me that thinks it's rank

Monday, October 7, 2019

Some people just can’t handle Vegas

I haven't done a proper trip report for a while now - most of my posts are about drunken degeneracy or just odd players or table talk. So I'm going to do one now - only because it includes my first trip to Vegas with the new Mrs AC. Whilst we've been seeing each other for over a year the amount of time we've actually spent together has been pretty low and we've only had one previous elongated spell together over the summer detailed here

So it had been nearly a month without seeing each other when Mrs AC took a Thursday night flight over to London (she lives in New York). After picking her up from Heathrow on Friday morning we had a relatively quiet weekend in London then flew back to New York together on Monday. I had business in NY all week so we only spent one evening together until we took the Thursday afternoon flight to Vegas.

Now as soon as I'm done with work on Thursday lunchtime I'm in "Vegas mode". This usually entails a few drinks at the airport followed by more on the plane. This was no different apart from remembering to grab 2 drinks at a time from the fridge in the AA lounge. It's a tough life!! So when we get on the plane I'm already 3 or 4 beers in and looking forward to a few days off. We're offered a pre-flight drink and I switch to my usual airplane routine of a G&T (too much beer on flights leaves me needing to piss like an incontinent racehorse) and we're served another drink as soon as we're in the air. The meal is passable but completely forgettable but there's a problem. My seat-mate wants to talk to me rather than letting me watch a movie on my tablet. Now in ordinary circumstances I'd just ignore a talkative seat-mate but today it's Mrs AC so I oblige whilst ensuring I'm in no danger of contracting malaria anytime soon by drinking numerous G&Ts.

It's just after 7pm when we land and we take a cab to the Signature - I nearly always stay here when I'm on my own and although I offered to stay somewhere a bit fancier Mrs AC was happy to stay there (secretly I think she's checking up to see if I'm really living the life of Riley when I tell her I'm in Vegas for work). Once we're all settled in we headed out to Morimoto for sushi - very good albeit pretty pricey before wandering through the MGM for an hour or so and heading into the bar in tower one of the Signature for a couple of drinks before heading to sleep around midnight.

Friday was spent wandering the strip followed by dinner at Lago overlooking the fountains at Bellagio - mediocre and overpriced but a great view. Mrs AC was asleep by midnight so I snuck out to watch the England v Argentina rugby which kicked off at 1am (H/T to for suggesting a place I could find the game). Mrs AC had no interest in watching the rugby but I was given strict instructions not to be too late or too drunk. Hmmmm. Plan went perfectly until I came back at 3.30am and woke her up by drunkenly falling over a suitcase in the dark room! 

Saturday started badly - we were both up before 8am and watching the English football but my team suffered its worst home defeat for over 10 years. Worse still was that Mrs AC categorically banned me from having a beer whilst watching the game. Probably not a bad thing to be honest but I certainly wasn't letting Mrs AC know that she was right 😃! 

It was actually a change to be in Vegas with someone - I've not been here with anyone for a few years so it was completely different doing touristy things rather than scoping out poker rooms so I'd originally planned on not playing any poker but Mrs AC decided that she wanted some pampering on Saturday. She asked if I was ok spending an afternoon on my own - I'm sure I can manage to amuse myself! So whilst she went to get whatever it is that women spend a ridiculous amount of money on that makes her hurt all over for days I headed to a very unremarkable session at Aria. Literally nothing to report apart from winning about $20 and consuming enough beer to drown a camel. Luckily Mrs AC is in a good mood from her pampering session and we had a very nice dinner at Jean Georges steakhouse at the Aria.

Sunday was Mrs AC's last day whilst I was staying here and heading to LA for the next week so we had a lazy afternoon by the pool at the Signature. Lovely early autumn weather and a virtually deserted pool area made for a very relaxing day (as an aside why in god's name are pool parties so popular? The very idea of being vacuum packed into a pool with 3 million other drunken individuals is my idea of hell).

We had a bite to eat at TAP before heading to the airport at 6pm for an overnight flight flight back to NY. Having dropped Mrs AC off I'm in a cab back to the MGM by 8pm and sat at the poker table by 9pm.

Another unremarkable session ensued and I'm still at the table when my phone buzzes at about 3.30am with a text from Mrs AC (whose flight has now landed in NY) which read "thanks for a lovely w/e. I'm shattered. I don't know how you do it".

Now there's something you need to know about me and Mrs AC - I'm in my early 40s (or 21 with 20 years of experience as I prefer to put it) but Mrs AC is over a dozen years younger than me so she should be the one full of beans and it should be me flagging after a weekend in Vegas - but it's the other way around and to me we've definitely not over done it at all. In fact if I rate this out of 10 on my usual drunken degeneracy scale we'd barely trouble the scoreboard.

But her text is a good reminder that I've got work to do on the Monday morning - not heading to LA until Tuesday although in the past I have done the 1st flight to LA on Monday morning having had no sleep the previous night, which didn't go well. So I do my drunken stumble over to the Signature and pass out just after 4am having had a fantastic weekend, but all the while thinking that some people just can't handle Vegas.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Apologies if this is a bit rushed and unpolished but I'm in Vegas at the moment and wanted to chime in on the Mike Postle debate while it's still front page news.

I'm not going to go into hand history minutiae - there are loads posted by Doug Polk and Joey Ingram which go into far more detail than I could possibly manage. There are also lots of figures compiled by people with far too much time on their hands which detail wins, losses, VPIPs and other stats ad Infinitum. 

As a caveat I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this blog, I've never met them and probably haven't even corresponded on social media with them, albeit I follow a few on twitter and subscribe to some you tube channels. 

I'm also not a lawyer - although a few years ago I sat on a committee related to my job which was mostly populated by lawyers and in general conversation one of my fellow members was shocked when she discovered that I'm not, nor ever have been, a qualified solicitor. 

So if you've been living in a cave for the last couple of days an allegation of cheating was made by Veronica Brill ( against a player by the name of Mike Postle ( that Mike was cheating on a live streamed game at Stones Gambling Hall in northern California. Veronica is a long time presenter and commentator at these games and has presumably been building these suspicions over a reasonable amount of time. 

The allegations are that Mike (whether alone or with collusion from someone at Stones) has access to the RFID technology and therefore is aware of what hole cards each player is holding. Stones originally brushed these concerns under the carpet by stating that they'd carried out an internal review and determined that the allegations were baseless which is a red flag in itself - they didn't give any details of any review and if it's conducted internally any potential wrong doer is firstly alerted to an investigation and secondly is potentially conducting the review against their own wrongdoing - quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Stones presumably thought this would make the matter disappear but Veronica made her allegations public, after which they were picked up by the wider poker community and deeper investigations were conducted by various vloggers which picked apart hands played. The results are astounding. 

-Mike has had 69 documented sessions in 2019 and lost money on 7 of them (mainly due to a few "hero calls" from other players holding marginal hands catching naked bluffs
-Mike didn't lose an all in river situation over the entirety of those sessions. Not one
-Mike seemed to make incredible laydowns against strong opponents and bluffed into weak ones. Not overly remarkable in itself but happening multiple times and against multiple opponents it's pretty unusual. 

Mike himself claims that he plays an extremely high variance form of poker using his amazing live reading skills. Fine. But high variance entails the occasional high loss, something we never see over the sessions analysed. Not once. As to his live reading skills he spends the majority of his time staring at his crotch or with his hands clasped to his hat. 

A lot of discussion has taken place around those last 2 points - has he got an app on his phone that he's using to see a live version of the stream which is normally delayed to ameliorate this situation? Or does he have some form of receiver in his hat that an accomplice is using to send him information? 

No one apart from Mike knows this and no one will probably ever find out. If the perpetrator(s) is smart he will have destroyed any evidence and just deny that it ever existed. Stones have now announced a second "external" investigation which is apparently being headed by the casino owner's personal attorney. 

But as to the smoking gun - any layman, let alone a lawyer, will know that the absence of a weapon doesn't mean that a murder hasn't been committed. The chances of finding that smoking gun are minimal but there is so much circumstantial evidence - either Mike is the greatest poker player in the world or a cheat. And if he's not a cheat I'm the King of England (hint - the only thing that runs through my veins is of the high alcohol, rather than blue variety). 

So now back my original title (and point). Veronica has received a great deal of abuse on the internet for even voicing these allegations. She's been attacked, threatened and ridiculed and even had very upsetting personal history brought up by those who don't believe her accusations. This is disgusting but I know the deepest darkest corners of the internet are populated by vile individuals intent on making everyone as unhappy as they obviously are. 

What would have happened had Veronica not voiced her concerns? How long would Mike's amazing win streak have continued? No one knows. But what we do know is this - our game is based on trust. Trust that the playing field is level, trust that each individual is working alone, trust that no one (even the casino) is trying to favour one player over another. So if someone is even suspected of breaching that trust we all have a duty to speak up without fear of repercussions and keep speaking up until our voices are heard because without this trust our game is dead. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I’m just going outside (for some beers) and may be some time

I need to make a confession - I don't actually drink that much. Well I probably do but it's not that often - when I'm at home I actually rarely drink but it's just that I'm not at home very often. I travel a lot and airports, planes and hotels are pretty boring so to pass the time I can usually be found with some sort of adult beverage at hand. But at home I'm different - unless I've got friends over I will very rarely have more than a couple of beers a week. That is until a couple of weeks from now when I'm off to pick up a very special package. It's some beer. But not just any beer - it's been described as the best in the world and it's notoriously hard to get hold of - I've never seen it in stock but a few websites claim to be able to get a couple of bottles if you're prepared to pay around $40 for a 330ml bottle!!

It's a Belgian Trappist beer called Westvleteren 10 and it's made in such a small quantity (they sell around 2,000 cases per month) that getting to purchase some is akin to winning the lottery. Until recently the sales process used to involve ringing the brewery during a 1 hour per month window and hoping to actually get through, now they've gone a little more high tech and actually take web bookings but there's still only a very short sales window. Then you can only collect it in person at the brewery in Belgium, having given them your car registration details to ensure no one can pick up more than their allotted 2 crates per sales window.

So in order to pick up my order I need to drive over an hour to catch the train that goes under the English Channel, take the car on the train then drive another hour or so through France into Belgium. I'll probably head off to a supermarket to pick up some other beers / wines from France or Belgium - this is probably the last chance to bring back unlimited booze "duty free" before the shit-show that Brexit is likely to bring.

So a whole day to pop out to pick up some beer which is effectively going to be costing about $10 a bottle once I've factored in fuel and transportation - it had better be good.