Mr Manners Is Not At Home
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Do you ever have that thing where someone is so rude to you that you don’t quite register, and it doesn’t sink in til later? So it was this week in Premier League Poker.
Phil Hellmuth is having a bad run. Low on chips in his first heat, he raises with A7. I reraise with (funnily enough) A7. He passes angrily, but just before doing so he remarks - and not even to me, to the table in general - “Soon I may have to rely on a hand standing up against Vicky, of all people.”
Stacking the chips, I ask good-naturedly, “When you say ‘Vicky of all people...’ what exactly does that mean?”
He waves his hand and replies, “Believe me, you don’t want to know.”
Since I’m aware (which he isn’t yet) that I’ve just reraised him off a pot with a marginal hand, I’m in a good enough mood and don’t make anything of it. But thinking about it later… Wow! I know Phil doesn’t think I’m a great player (not sure why, I’ve come off perfectly fine in all the encounters I’ve ever had with him) and that’s ok. Before the tournament, he published a comment about each player in the series - of each one, Phil said “He’s a brilliant player” or “He has superb tactics” or “He has great reads”, and of me he said “She’s a sophisticated person, and a commentator”. I laughed at that. It was funny. And hey, I took it as a compliment. I like the idea of being sophisticated. (And I’ve always rather liked Phil, of course I admire him enormously as a player, and I’ve defended him when people took the mickey.)
But “Believe me, you don’t want to know”, on camera, with people watching? How bad a player does he think I am, how bad a player does he think the others think I am, that he makes this remark assuming they’ll all laugh and nod? I mean, sure I started as the long price to win this tournament, and sure I’m against a line-up of people who play 100 tournaments a year, and sure I’ve only won a couple of million dollars playing poker while some of them have won, I dunno, $10 million. I wouldn’t have made myself the favourite either. But what am I, some kind of goddamn novelty act?! Making that kind of joke, about me rather than to me… Jeez, Phil must be amazed that I can even manage to put my shoes on in the morning.
Is it my fault? My natural mode, in the interviews, in conversation, at the table, is a very English and self-deprecating one. I laugh a lot and say I hope to get lucky. If I walked round, like some of them do, shouting “I’m a genius!”, would they be any more respectful? The amazing thing is, I think they actually might. Between you and me, because I assume Phil Hellmuth doesn’t check my blog out on a regular basis, I do have some idea how to play poker. I don’t take myself incredibly seriously, and I don’t mind playing the role of the underdog / mascot / whatever in this line-up, but that level of dismissiveness from the older players (the younger ones don’t do it so much) can get kind of exhausting after a while. And puzzling. Even my friend Neil Channing, who’s played with me a lot, who knows I win in the cash games and who’s done pretty well financially out of having shares in my tournament action, made me 7/1 to win today’s 6-player heat. (If my KK had stood up against JC Tran’s A6 then I would’ve been a great bet; as it was, I only managed second.)
I dunno. Maybe I’m just tired. A good night’s sleep, and tomorrow I’ll bounce back into the studio chuckling out loud about how lucky I am to be there, fingers crossed, anything can happen etc etc. I hope so. If I ever turn into one of those people who really care how they are seen, take themselves very seriously and describe themselves publicly as brilliant, then I hope some of you will post comments on here reminding me to STOP IT AT ONCE. It’s all good fun, and if disparaging comments bothered me long-term then I’d have gone mad years ago. No doubt I’ll get unlucky later in the tournament, or cock something up, and finish in the relegation zone, and they’ll all say it’s because I can’t play, and I’ll just shrug it off because it’s the only thing to do. But right now, just this exact immediate second, I’d like to point out that I currently have 10 points and Phil Hellmuth has 3. More than three times his points, Vicky of all people!
Does this make me a terrible person? I guess I should probably delete this post tomorrow.
Night night x