Confessions of a Poker Writer: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

TAGs: Lee Davy, Poker Writer Confessions, PokerStars, Spin & Go, Writer Confessions

In this week’s confessions series, Lee Davy talks about some of the characters in his local home game, and why their attitude towards the game blends in with the success of the PokerStars Spin & Go format.

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?I have just come off the phone from a conversation with my mate Steve. We always have a little chat the afternoon after our local home game. We’re gossiping. We talk about how lucky people are, who unlucky others are, who deserves to win, and who deserves to lose.

I use this time to give my friend some advice. Steve loves the game, but it’s his love for the game that gets him into trouble. He plays too many hands, sees too many flops, and loses more money than he wins. I know I shouldn’t give him advice. I should take his money. But I like Steve. He’s a solid bloke. He’s salt of the earth.

“You just don’t get it Ching.” He told me when I castigated him earlier for ruing a hand he played where he folded, instead of chasing a one-outer that duly arrived. “I don’t play to win money. I love the game. The money is a nice bonus. But twice a week I sit down and play. I’m in my element. Like a pig in shit.”

Steve used to have a nasty habit on the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). He used to tell me that they would wink at him and beckon him over like a young woman in a pair of fishnet stockings. That was an expansive affair. He never complained though.

“I loved every penny I spent,” he once told me.

Gary is another one of the boys. He likes the wheel. He has a system, and it seems to work for him. I use the word ‘seems’ because I know that the outcome is generated by luck. I guess he’s a very lucky man. He loves it though.

Then you have Bobby. He’s in his 60s and is an ace of spades short of a full deck when it comes to his ability on the felt. It doesn’t stop him playing though. He loves the game. He’s an oddity in as much as he does everything the complete opposite of the way you are supposed to do it. It’s amazing to watch. Bobby loves the slots. He also has a system.

“I watch the Chinese playing. When they have done their bollocks, I jump on their machine. I am always winning.” he tells me.

“But there must be days you lose, Bob,” I assert.

“No!” he shouts. “As soon as I lose £10 I come off. I’m up hundreds.”

The one thing the three of these have in common is the primary purpose behind their actions. They are searching for happiness, and they are finding it in the art of gambling. It’s the act. Not the outcome.

This is one of the reasons that the Spin & Go format is an excellent idea by PokerStars and why the $1m win by the lucky Russian is nothing but good news for the poker economy.

I’ve heard people complain about the rake on these things being as high as 7%. The rake in the cash games at Cardiff Casino is £8 per hour. I played for six hours the other night and paid £48 rake. I was complaining to my friends about it and suggesting that we should play in my kitchen instead.

They gave me a look like they had just started watching a gay porn movie.

“Who cares?” said Eddie.

In her recent post citing the virtues of the Spin & Go format, Haley Hintze typed this wonderful line.

“If a poker player is going to lose, he ought to be able to lose in the manner which he finds most enjoyable.”

My mates know they are going to lose over the long run. They don’t care. They are happy when they get their short bursts of luck, and they are man enough ride out the waves of misfortune when they smash into their mush.

This is why I believe to be a great poker writer you need to play poker. It’s not just the technical side of the game that you will learn from – it’s the emotion. You need to know what it feels like to do your bollocks, get lucky and win a tournament and fold for 30-hands straight.

When you play poker your view on poker matters is more astute. My initial gut feel that the Spin & Go format would be good for the game has been re-enforced by mixing with the very people who will love playing that type of format.

They know they will lose more than they will win but that’s not the point. The point is the chase. It’s the Del Boy way of the world.

“This time next year we’ll be millionaires.”

Yeah, and I’m sure that my three mates will enjoy every single losing session it takes before they get there.


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