I love poker. I hate poker.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
People have been congratulating me on being the “top woman” (or highest female finisher) in the 2008 WSOPE, and also on the “achievement” of coming 45th in such a high-calibre field after three long days of play. But right now I just feel miserable and sick. Exactly the same thing happened to me in the 2007 WSOPE: played really well for two days, had a grim and card-dead day three, moved all in when I saw opportunities (bravely, but not often enough), and got knocked out just before the money. I’d rather have gone out on day one. What’s so great about sacrificing two extra days of my life, for a bigger disappointment?
I’m sure in a couple of days I’ll look back and feel proud of a few good moves and some crucial short-stack survival. On day one I was down to 3000 in chips, and came back to 50,000. Maybe I’ll feel encouraged, in a couple of days, to be reminded that I can get so very close to a £25,000 payout and rising. To misquote Allen Ginsberg, I saw the best minds of my generation go out before I did. Hundreds of them. But at the moment it’s just pain. Do I need to survive all of that, outlive some of the biggest threats, fight my way through another day and another day, travel back and forth between Leicester Square and my house nine times (including dinner breaks), double up, lose chips, double up, lose chips, get closer and closer and closer - and then BANG, out, nine spots before the money? No cash. No final table. No result to write in my special little “tournament results” grid. (I could write “Top Woman”, but that just looks stupid with no prize money attached.) Basically, all I’ve done is my brains on cab fares.
Two seconds after I stood up in defeat, croaking my congratulations to Devilfish for the fair triumph of his QQ against my ATc - and I really mean two seconds; I was still unhooking my microphone from the TV table - a blonde girl bounded over with a big grin and said, “Are you going to collect your winnings now? We need to interview you after!”. Who ARE these people? They want to show up to cover poker tournaments for some website or TV show or another, and they’re not even interested enough to be aware that we’re still on the bubble? It’s not this woman’s fault; I’m sure she’s a nice person. But if you want to do exit interviews at a poker tournament, you have to learn how people are likely to be feeling. You have to say something sympathetic. Or nothing, to begin with, just be quiet. Every player who stands up - apart from the winner - has just got punched in the gut, and they need a minute. This girl’s cheery grin and chat about “winnings” just made me feel much, much worse. I had to ring The Camel and leave a string of expletives on his answerphone. I hope he didn’t listen to it on speaker.
So now it’s nearly midnight. I’ve got to be up at 6.30am to go and do an interview for BBC Breakfast about the London EPT. Then, at lunchtime, I have to play the London EPT. It doesn’t matter, it’s good. The London EPT is the greatest event in poker. It would be my favourite, even if I’d never won it. It’s got £250,000 added this year by PokerStars. When I wake up (apart from the first stab of hatred for the alarm clock) I’ll be excited to play. I love poker. But I also hate poker. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep; I guess I’ll just lie there feeling angry. He had to have queens? HE HAD TO HAVE QUEENS?
Still, bring on the EPT. I can only think of it with love. But if I don’t make the final this year, I hope I go out on day one.