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06/01/2010 No. 78
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Wed 6 Jan 2010
Christmas is over:
time to sober up

Today is Day 1 of the $10,000 PCA tournament in Nassau. After a festive break from serious events, I need to get my head back in the zone. This is the sort of hand I've been playing lately:

I'm in the £10-£25 game, short-stacked with £1,000. I've just enjoyed a boozy Christmas dinner with most of my opponents.

Finding AK under the gun, I raise to £75 and Jeff Duval has a long think. Perfect. He will reraise and I can get it all in.

Then it turns out that Jeff had simply forgotten he had cards. I blame the second bottle. He folds, apologetically.

I sense that he did not check, originally, with the intention of raising but – wanting to play the hand, and the bigger stack having folded – thinks he might as well go all in. Must be a draw. Then I'm distracted by Dave the Bookie singing "tonight's gonna be a good night" loudly at the next table. Taking a swig of wine, I lose my train of thought entirely.

Where was I? Ah yes. AK. What did I think he had? I've forgotten. But what the hell. I was ready to go all in before the flop, why not now? I call!

Bad Beat shows A10. Why did I call? Why didn't I move in on the flop? I knew a moment ago . . . Nope. Gone.

"More wine?" says Bad Beat, scraping in the chips.

Everyone has to sober up in January, even poker players. We'd all be skint otherwise. Bring on the PCA; think lucky thoughts.

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