Wednesday, 24 February 2010
(Warning: this is a poker-themed blog, just to baffle the thousands of people who have stopped by since The Bubble, had never heard of me last Thursday, read the previews on Friday morning and discovered that I was a comedian, watched the show on Friday and discovered that I was a celebrity, realized immediately that I wasn’t the latter, came here to discover that I wasn’t the former, are just beginning to grasp that I’m a sort of writer, and might crawl away howling if I try to explain that most of the time I actually just play cards. Sorry. Please don’t. It’s complicated.)
I had forgotten what it was like to be a woman.
In interviews, people always ask a million questions about “the female experience” in the game, but it’s irrelevant to me these days. I play either big tournaments where nobody cares, or regular cash games with such long-standing opponents that they’ve all forgotten my gender anyway.
But the other night, I went to a different card room. As always, I felt the shifty guilt of playing away from my regular haunt, the Vic in Marble Arch, but the **** ****** has a lot to offer. It’s a beautiful casino (though the card room is small), with nice food and a good sense of ‘hustle’: I arrived with three other players and a new game was started at once. That’s the one thing a poker player really wants, immediate action.
But here’s what I’d forgotten. Within ten minutes, three people had tried to pick me up. Of course! Poker players! They love meeting women, as long as those women deliver themselves to the card table and nobody stops dealing. One guy chatted me up while I was still taking my seat. Another offered dinner. A third, during a cigarette break, insisted I came to his party the following night. (Sorry Ahmed. It totally slipped my mind. But, by the following night, it had probably slipped yours too.)
I worry that new female players might be intimidated by the attention; even today, you need confidence and a thick skin for the live environment. Conversely, they might think it’s a great way to meet men. Poker-obsessed, unreliable, innately secretive men…
As for me, very comfortable in card rooms these days, far too eager for poker action to get distracted by any flirtatious nonsense, I just took it as a great compliment. Get me, the belle of the ball! Oh yeah, I still got it.
Then a fourth guy asked if I had a daughter called Laura.
“How old would she be?”, I asked.
“About nineteen”, he said.
Marvellous. I’m going back to the Vic.