Confessions of a Poker Writer: WSOP Diaries – Swimming Upside Down With the Fish

Confessions of a Poker Writer: The Magic of Number ‘222.'

Lee Davy continues his World Series of Poker diary entry with a brief venture into what it feels like to be invisible, attacked by a man who doesn’t like meditation, and watching fish swimming upside down.

Confessions of a Poker Writer: WSOP Diaries - Swimming Upside Down With the FishDid he just fart in my face?

That’s one of the many problems that comes with a sturdy meditation practice – you can’t see what’s happening beyond your lids. It affects me tangentially, in the same way the fly does as it plays hopscotch on my tanned skeletal frame.

I will not open my eyes.

“Moody Blues…Moody Blues…MOODY BLUES!”

I surrender. My serene center coming perilously close to exploding. The man, in his 50’s, is sitting in the pool, on his own, kicking water in my general direction, farting, whilst shouting MOODY BLUES at the top of his darkened lungs.

I close my eyes, but it’s no use. The moment has gone, fractured like my fist the day I drove it into a wall instead of my first wife’s face during an argument over a burger than had fallen onto the floor.

A few minutes later and I give up. As I leave the pool area he is drifting off to sleep on a bed right next to the gate. I slam it as hard as I can, and giggle when he leaps to an erect state: scared, confused, and angry.

I couldn’t let it go.

James Obst is a little like that. The Australian poker player was unknown to me until his name flickered across my Google Alerts page a little too frequently. I can tell if I am going to like someone by how they answer my first question. I liked Obst right from the outset. Here was a guy with a smoldering intensity, but also preferring a life in the shadows. He’s one of the most interesting people I have met, and his forthright views on the Brian Hastings scandal, and poker in general, need to be met with more warmth than they have. He is a truth teller. We gain nothing by nailing these little nuggets to a noticeboard bearing the words ‘nasty little know-it-all’.

This prodigious talent has had an effect on me. His beliefs about the ego, and self serving actions of some quarters of the poker community, has made me consider my own role within it. Why do I fill my Facebook wall with the news that I have dined at a fancy restaurant in Las Vegas, played in a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event, and told everyone how unlucky I was that I lost KK v 77 whilst omitting the errors that eroded my stack to the point where it inevitably had to crumble upon the impact of the tiniest wave.

It’s all ego.

It’s a design created to prove to the world that I am something special. That I am worthy of your time. That I am not an idiot.

But I can be an idiot.

Once upon a time I had a pet goldfish. One day it started swimming upside down. I thought it was hilarious. The next day it was still swimming upside down. Now that can’t be much fun. I once imagined that’s how Australians like James Obst used to see the world. I read up on it and realized that my dear fish had trapped wind. It couldn’t burp or fart, and therefore the gas had turned it into a flotation device for newts learning to swim.

How can I cure this?

I have a responsibility to save my fish’s life.

I turned to Google, and the almighty God of the Internet told me to feed my pet goldfish: garden peas. That would create enough wind power to turn the goldfish bowl into a mini wave machine, and voila, my fish would stop trying to throw shrimp onto a Barbie.

Have you ever seen a man trying to feed frozen peas to a fish? It’s safe to say that my fish never ate them. It seems trapped wind can make a fish swim upside down, and the fish can’t deal with it, but once the fish dies it farts like a Frenchman after a bowl of frogs legs soup. I ended up flushing him down the bog. I saluted him, and so did my son. Then I had a dump.

This week has all been about energy for me. I don’t like being in the Rio and I try to avoid it as much as possible. When I walk out of there I feel like I need a strong shower. Not a normal shower, but a Rambo type hose down shower.

Poker reeks of negative energy. During my interview with Justin Smith, this week, he said he cannot be creative after playing poker – it drains him of creativity. It drains me of life.

I interviewed Darryll Fish (no relation to the little guy being chased down my toilet by my turd) and we talked about the power of story. We all create them in our lives: both good and bad.

Here is one that I have created.

When I am in the Rio I am invisible. People whom I have shared space with eschewing me as I stroll down the corridor. Is it my moustache? It must be my moustache. Neil Channing refused to speak to me until I shaved it off. He said it looked ridiculous. Perhaps people don’t recognize me? Do all part time Asians look the same? Are we all painted in the same newfangled decor?

When I feel like this nothing works. I don’t attract anybody’s attention. I feel the weight of the command and control structure of the poker community, like Atlas trying to hold the whole thing in the air. I transcend to Poets Corner where I grew up. The place where the dead body was found on the golf course where we used to pick conkers. I am an underdog, I will always be an underdog and that’s my story.

Then I pull myself together and stop acting like a little bitch. I do the work. Not in the dainty way I have been applying it, but with a paintbrush designed to change worlds.

The next day I don’t walk down the Rio corridor I stride. Like a man showing off a new pair of Hugo Boss shoes, constantly dropping to turn the metal tog, so people can see how expensive they are. I get a phone call. It’s from Willie Tann. He is calling me from the UK to tell me that he is loving the stuff that I am writing whilst in Las Vegas.

“You and I are alike in so many ways?” Says Tann

I wonder if he also has a stupid little moustache?

I feel empathy from him. It streams down the fiber optic cables and sails into my mind. I am busy though. I need to call him back. They all surround me, they all want my attention; everyone wants an interview, everyone smiles, they linger like the smell of roses, and I have the good fortune to take my pick of the most precious of petals.

I love the smell of roses.

It’s a much better scent than the one falling out of the ass of the man who thought it was funny to fart in my face.