Thursday 16 December 1999
In last week's series of high- action tournaments, the club was bursting, manager Bruno Fitoussi squeezing everybody in. The cash games filled up early and ran all night. The games are all dealer's choice, with Omaha most popular. Stakes ran from a beginners' game with blinds of five and 10 francs through middling-sized stakes, up to big games, minimum sit- down 10,000 francs.
The way French players bet all the way at Omaha high-low (eight or better to qualify for low) on rubbish hands and then hit a flush on the last card was unnerving. It had the effect of making me play that way myself. In frustration, I started coming in on hands like A2-8#-84-J4 - after all, some miracle flop might come down to make a house or even a straight flush! And then when the flop shows A!-A!-32, you find yourself in a terrible position because if someone else has an ace and a low card, or an ace and a higher kicker, you are done for. But having started out on a hand like this and hit trip aces, you feel you have to go on - with predictable results.
"The French play so badly," I lamented to a friend as I dug into my pocket for another sheaf of green 500-franc notes. "Why are they doing us up like ze proverbial kippaires?" "Perhaps they play better than us," was his dour response.
Stuck for Christmas presents? A great selection of gambling and poker books is available at High Stakes, 21 Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JB, 0171-430 1021, including my own The Little Book of Poker at pounds 4.99. The ideal stocking-filler, if I say so myself.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant