Have you ever eaten a Guava? As a boy who munched through kilos of the stuff in my desert-town childhood, as many others in hot regions, I was somewhat surprised to discover that most of my English acquaintances have never had one. You eat Guavas when they are extra ripe, almost turning rotten. My mother used to put them on the cupboard top, and when they were ready, plunged them into the fridge for a couple of hours before us kids gorged on them. They were always nicer a bit cold. Guavas also have a very strong odour, not necessarily unpleasant but quite overwhelming. When you entered someone’s house you did not need to see the Guavas to know they bought some - you could smell them. You either liked that smell or not, but you could not stay impartial to it – because for the next few hours, you pretty much could not smell anything else.

Paul had just recently come back from the Caribbean, where he encountered the fruit for the first time. Paul and I go running together, attacking the routes going up and down the Chiltern Hills. He also started taking on poker recently and is doing okay in the micro stakes.

The other day me and Paul were left to our own devices while our wives went to the town centre to spend our hard earned cash on whatever women spend their men’s hard earned cash on: Shoes, clothes, accessories and more shoes. Paul fired Pokerstars and registered to a couple of 50p turbo 45’s. It’s a good way to spend a few hours without breaking the bank. The action loose and fast and you can’t take it too seriously. Still, we do play to win, so Paul was trying to be as serious as he possibly can.

Always early at those entry levels you get the “limper to hit big” types. They limp with everything, fold every raise, and if they hit a top pair (or middle one, or small one, or a flush draw or a gut shot draw to a strait) they will put you all-in hoping to get a caller with something less. You will think they are easy to exploit – but at the early levels they are about half of the table, and if you dare to call their all-in, you discover that you are in the mix with five others.

Then you also get among them those that are really good – that seem to know what you hold and always seem to time it perfectly. And you know they are good because you see them quite often when you make that last table – and then you see them again a couple of month later in higher stakes as they build their bankrolls and move up the stakes.

One of those was giving Paul a hard time, he limped and raised small a few times, to which Paul folded without further investment - and went all-in against another player with a top pair high kicker to double up. Then Paul gets an A/Q suited, raises four times to account for the limper and get called by two other. The flop is an okay A/9/2 rainbow and Paul raises half the pot only to be put all-in by the limper mentioned above.

- “hmmmm” said Paul “smalls like a Guava”
- “Sorry?”
- “Smalls like a Guava” he repeats.
- “Guava? How did you come up with that one?”
- “Well, you know – it small suspicious” he answers and folds.

Suspicious? Guava - Suspicious? Gee. Now, I remember being a member of a team writing a bespoken application to the national morgue. It was an inventory application and I was send with the first prototype to demonstrate it to the chief coroner and his staff (I’m not coming up with this one, it really happened). I was setting up the application, and to make it more realistic, I asked him to give me a few examples of typical inventory. He looked at me dead in the eye and said causally:

- “Well, it’s a morgue – what do you expect? Fingers, legs, ears, small and large intestine…”

Seeing me turning slowly a turquoise-green he smile and added:

- “Just kidding, it’s just normal inventory stuff: stationary, tables, chairs, computers, paper rolls, tea bags, scalpels and a nose or two….”

The other coroners were on the floor laughing their guts out; I was having hard time to breath. Mind you, I’m not sure I minded if he had my nose – the smell…. Well, it was suspicious – like someone trying to cover rot with acidic cleaning materials. It smelled foul to me, nothing like Guava. Interestingly enough – just like after smelling Guava, for the next few hours I could not smell anything else.

A few hands later Paul managed to get his stack a little bigger and on a big blind 7/8 suited hand faced the first pre-flop raise from that same player.

- “Smells suspicious to me” I offered my opinion.
- “Guava, Guava, Guava” mumbled Paul. Obviously his new favourite word. “I think I’ll call. Blinds still small, lets see if I can hit something”

The Flop come 7/7/Q. “Yes” hissed Paul “smells like Diamonds now!”

Smells... like… Diamonds?!?!? Diamonds – smell? Gee, I have not been lucky enough to smell Diamonds a major part of my life – but aren’t they odourless?

Without hesitation, Paul pushed all-in and got called by a Q/Q. The looks on his face – well, that was worth Diamonds. Diamonds do not smell, but I would have paid a big one just to see that look on Paul’s face again. It was funny. Really, really funny.

I stood up and grabbed my running shoes. “I think we should go running Paul” I said, “You don’t want to be playing right now”
-“I don’t?!?” he asked dumbfounded.
-“You don’t” I said – “because that fragrance in the air, that sweet sickly odour, well, it’s not Guavas, but the smell of some pretty good players swimming in those richly fish infested water…”

He grabbed his shoes and we went attacking the routes of the Chiltern Hills. It was a glorious sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and the air smelled of blooming flowers. After all the other day’s scents, there was really nothing quite like it.