Sometimes a legend can be just plain stupid…

I’ll be extremely disappointed if there isn’t at least a small number of you who will have heard of me, the famous Cuchulainn!  Maybe it was when you were small and your granny told you tales of my daring-dos while you sat on her lap, or maybe you read about my glorious deeds in books or saw them re-enacted on the TV.  But for those who don’t know me, let’s just say I’m one helluva guy, indeed I’m considered a bit of a legend in these parts!  But why am I telling you this I hear you ask?  Well it’s just to show that even being a mythological hero doesn’t make you immune to bouts of sheer stupidity!  Take the last game of poker I played yesterday evening for example…

As the legions who follow my epic sagas in this blog will know, at the end of last week I decided to give the poker tables a wee break for a couple of days after I ran slap-bang into a really bad spell.  I had intended spending my time off, doing some cattle raiding, pillaging, laying waste to the odd village… you know, the things your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill, legendary warrior gets up to for fun and relaxation.  Unfortunately Mrs Cuchulainn decided she wanted to go to Belfast on Saturday, so rather than standing on my war chariot boldly leading my noble warriors into battle, I had to fit the baby seat into the thing, turn it round and take it up the M1 Motorway instead.  And have you ever tried parking a war chariot in a multi-storey car park...?

But yesterday saw me once more ready to try my hand at poker.  Nervously I approached a nice little Sit & Go, gingerly dipping my toe gently into the water (hey there are sharks out there you know!), and started to play…  And the little break had worked wonders!!!  I just couldn’t do wrong, and actually managed to win the thing (please, please, keep the applause coming).  It was to continue like this most of the day too, me nearly always getting into the last three, usually the heads-up, and several times taking the top spot!  True I did get caught out once, when I was dealt Q 4 in the BB.  As everybody had either called or folded, I was able to see a flop by checking.  Was I happy or what when the first two cards out were another two fours, followed by a six!?  Made hand, indeed a made monster hand!  Delving into the Pokerschool book of (dirty) tricks, I now started to bet small, less than half the pot to try and get some of the other players to build it.  I managed this for both the turn and the river too, so that I was really looking forward to a nice payday, until…  In the last round of betting, the player in the SB shoved all-in!  He had my stack well covered too, but hey I had a set of fours!  Hmmmm… the catch was he had the fourth 4 in his hand, and then I noticed he had a wee 6 wedged between his chubby little paws too, giving him a full house!  This is something I am genuinely bad at, I get sooooo excited about having a big hand, I never stop to think that maybe someone else has an even bigger one!  However apart from that it was a good day; I even managed a “VNH” to the guy just before I was barred from chatting - albeit through gritted teeth.

Last night I spent a fair bit of time watching Liv Boeree in action.  I’m a big fan of Liv Boeree, mostly - as a poker player - for all the right reasons, but I must confess quite a few of the wrong reasons too!  So when I say it’s actually encouraging to see her struggle and get eliminated long before she even gets close to the money, I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t want her to do well!  No, no… it’s just that when even a poker player of her calibre is frustrated and denied success, it makes it a little less painful when a load of lard like me makes a pig’s ear of it!  So with the lovely Liv out I decided to have one final game, again a wee Sit & Go.

I didn’t really get much to play with in the first few levels, but in level three I started getting some decent hands.  One guy had been really scoring from the off though, and it ended up with him on 7000+ chips, and the remaining 8000 or so split more or less equally between me and two others.  And then the big stack decided to sit out the rest of the game!  Man I HATE sitters; only I had spent hours cleaning, polishing and sharpening my sword for today’s wild boar hunting, I would have stuck it somewhere that would have made “sitting” for him “slightly” uncomfortable!  Anyway the rest of us now started to battle it out.  One player was a bit loose and aggressive, the other was tight, so tight it would have taken WD40 to get a chip freed from her vice-like grip!  I say “her” because although there was no avatar present, the name was definitely that of a female, although it could have been a transvestite I suppose..?  Anyway we fought it out, at times I was well ahead of the other two, then a boob would see me lose some of my stack.  “Mr Loose” was a bit sneaky (hard to believe, a sneaky poker player...?) but we were having a real ding dong battle.  “WD40” was so predictable it was silly.  Basically unless she held at least an ace, she folded to any raise.  Even if she had been dealt pocket rockets, she wouldn’t have raised, indeed if she had been dealt a set of aces (not a bad hand pre flop, a set of aces…), she STILL would only have called.  So it was easy, just make a small bet after the flop, and if she called, get out quick!  But to be fair to her, she was holding her own, sometimes working herself up to second between us (forget about the sitter), though never taking the lead.

And then it happened, I was dealt Q 9 unsuited in the BB, WD40 called (must have an ace says I), Mr Loose folded.  I would have folded too, but again being in the BB I got to see a flop for the amount already posted. Flop: Q-9-K, two pairs for the mythical hero!!  Bet half the pot… what’s this, a call… from WD40???  No Aces on the flop, maybe she’s decided to make a stand as the blinds are now getting pretty hefty.  But am I worried… me with my two pairs beaming up at me?  Immediately I re-raise, and so does she!  We then get involved in a clicking contest, you know what I mean, when players are clicking raise, raise, raise, until someone ends up all-in.  Alas she had me covered, not by much – 40 chips maybe – but it was enough.  The cards were turned over, and my jaw nearly broke my foot it hit the ground so hard!  She had actually played a J 10 off suit!!  WD40 to play that?  I tell you there were flying wild boars in the sky when I looked out the window!  Praying for either a Queen or a Nine so my full house would beat her straight, I sat in a stunned silence as I watched my hopes of glory, fame and fortune vanish like snow off a ditch!

Now nobody likes being eliminated, but if it’s by good play from an opponent, well you can sort of accept that.  If it’s a bad beat, not so good, but at least I would have something to tell all the little Cuchulainns in years to come, but to lose because I never thought to check what possible hands could have made someone like WD40 play with such confidence, that’s a hard one to live with.  All the signs were there, a blind man could have seen them, the calling, the constant raising… yet so wrapped up in my two pairs was I, the fact she must have a total monster of a hand never even crossed my mind.

Fair play to her though, for while I was kicking myself for being so stupid (and that’s why I’ve such sore shins!) as to have overlooked I might be beaten, she played it perfectly!  She bided her time, hanging in there until she finally got a real hand, tore me to pieces, and left be with a bloody nose!

Yes indeed, this is a major weakness with my game, and I’ve got a funny feeling it’s going to be a tough nut to crack.  I know I should take my time and see what other hands could be out there, but the old adrenaline starts flowing and I just can’t seem to take those all-important few seconds to make sure I’m not walking into an ambush.

Mrs C. is going to hit the roof when she hears about this! Oh she’s all fine and dandy when things are going well on the poker tables, but even if it’s only losing a hand in the middle of a game, she goes ballistic! I suppose you’re all shocked that a fearless warrior such as myself would tremble in terror at even the suggestion of a confrontation with “the little woman”, but though my trusty sword has slain many’s a foe, even it’s no match for the battleaxe!