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05/03/2007 No. 16
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday March 5, 2007

Here is a story to console anyone out there who has ever had a bad run at internet poker. In December, I was ill. Luckily, the advent of online poker has vastly improved the business of being stuck at home. When I was a kid, there was nothing to do but watch Crown Court. In the 21st century, I could amuse myself by playing $50 and $100 no-limit Holdem sit-and-goes (nine-handed knockout tournaments, in which the last three players win money).

I played 25 of them in a row. How many times do you think I cashed? No times. Zero. If a chimpanzee was poking the keyboard at random, over 25 games, it should accidentally finish in the money at least once.

The conclusion that "a monkey could do better" was not statistically accurate enough to be reported in a column, so I emailed Andy Ward, the celebrated blogger and online sit-and-go expert. Andy advised: "An average player, playing five sit-and-goes a day, could expect a run like that about every 20,000 games, or every 12 years. Twenty-five in a row is really sick. That could never happen to me, for the sole reason that when it got to 18, I would throw my PC through the window."

Being of calmer temperament, I simply stopped playing internet poker. I took a break; I re-grouped; I reminded myself that (girlish modesty aside) I am a very good poker player. After two months, I took a deep breath and signed up for another sit-and-go. Ten seconds in, my laptop crashed and I couldn't get the site back.

One hour later, I got an email from PokerStars: "You finished the tournament in 3rd place. A $180 award has been credited to your account. Congratulations!"

So, remember me the next time you have a bad run. You think you've got problems? My own computer plays better without me.

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