I rarely play Multi-Table-Tournaments. I just don’t have the time. As a result I have never won a really big money prize – the kind you get after ploughing away for 14 hours till your head hurts and your eyes bleed, with 5 minutes break at the end of each hour for a quick cup of tea and a visit to the toilets.

But then again – I can never cease to be amused by the non-assuming behaviour of such winners. “Hello mate – ye, just won 250k on the Sunday millions – think we should celebrate – how about a round in the pub later on? Drinks on me….”

A round in the pub?!?!? Hell – you just won 250 big ones! You want to be on a plane to Vegas, celebrating on the strip – with skimpily dressed dancers pouring campaign down your throat – and you need to take your friends with you (me included). You want Homer Simpson lookalike flipping doughnuts and seventy six Arabian horses, perfectly groomed, running about with a pink bow on their tails. You want a big-band doing Sinatra. You want someone to shout your achievement the over the public announcement system in the Bellagio and display your name on the signs of route 15. You want the world to know that you are special and you deserve some respect. Yes – you might decimate your 250k in the processes – but hell – you done it the right way, the kind that leaves an ever lasting impression… for a day. You are the MAN!

Then again, maybe you shouldn’t. Nobody seems to give respect where respect is due anymore – so you might as well just keep the money.

You see – a few days ago a received my 9th star. If you go to the Official Poker Ranking site, type in my name and filter down to trainee (buy-in level of $0-$1) then you will find me – with 9 stars for 2013. At the time of writing that puts me in the top 1800 players out of 866,000 (or there about) for that buy-in level – the top 0.02% of players which is the mark required for a nine stars. 33% RIO, 534$ in prizes from playing 0.5$ 45-man games. In my book – we are talking massive achievement and I pointed this performance one evening to my wife:

- “That means you can take a break from poker tonight and watch the kids, I’m going to the gym. Make them some dinner – and can you please do something other then Pizza? They really had enough of that.”

That’s it. No “well done”, no “bravo”, not even a little kiss. She picked up her kit and hurried through the front door. That was not what I was looking for. My wife does not play poker; still a little appreciation would have sufficed.

I popped a pepperoni pizza into the oven, set the oven clock to twelve minutes and phoned Steve. He works in the square mile in London called “the city”, crammed with banks, financial institutions and stock-exchange related companies. He works in the city so he understands money.

- “So what’s the big deal?” he asked me as I finished telling his about the 9th star.
- “What do you mean what’s the big deal – I’m like – one of the bests!”
- “You mean you are one of the best in $0-$1 – where all the beginners start. Anyone with a bit of brain in his skull would have moved to the next buy-in once they figured they crash this level. Who stays around playing 0.5$ when they can make better cash moving up the steps? Call me when you get the 9th star at 15$ buy-ins.”

I hanged up on him. He works in the city. What does he understand about money?

Next I rang Paul. He runs with me. We cover miles of hills, wood and urban landscape – sweating hard together over the terrain. He appreciates hard work, and from him I could only envision faithful compliments:

- “Paul!” I exclaimed as he picked up “Got some really great news”
- “*yawn* - ye... what’s up? *another yawn*”
- “Are you okay Paul? You sound really tired”
- “Sorry mate, been up since five o’clock – *yawn* starring at the computer screen… I’m really tired, but really *yawn* happy – finished 3rd in 8000$ guaranteed – my best cash ever *yawn*.”
- “Wow mate, that’s impressive – for how much?”
- “I think about 1.5K. Hey, I only paid for it 4.40 buy-in… that’s like 40000% profit… really chaffed. *yawn* - tell you what, I’ll have a nap and then I think we should celebrate – how about a round in the pub later on? *yawn* Drinks on me - call Stave and Jack to join us… *yawn* - anyway, what’s the big news?”
- “Oh, it doesn’t really matter” I said “you sound tired mate – go get a good night sleep, we can do the pub tomorrow.”

Me around 850 games, 33% ROI, 534$ in prizes. Paul, 1 game – 40000% ROI, $1.5K in prizes. Yes, so I’m the consistent grinder, but somehow he stole my thunder.

I put the receiver down just as the oven clock started beeping. From the room nearby I could hear one of my boys whispering to his brother: “oh great – pizza…. again. I hope at least it’s a simple margarita and not that awful pepperoni only daddy can eat”

I’m not going to let all of this discourage me. I’m going to open all the poker books I have, fix all the leaks, work on my game, grind hard – and they better show me some respect when I get star number ten – or they aren’t friends of mine!


** P.S. – at the time of publishing I’m back down to 9.77 – about 0.03 away from the ninth star… but it was there for a brief moment…..