Welcome To London
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Yesterday I did an interview with Inside Poker about London, to celebrate the upcoming WSOP Europe and London EPT, both of which come to town around the end of September.
They asked me about the mood of a typical London poker game. I tried to describe the particular mix of wit, sarcasm, respect, scorn, matiness, pleasure, misery and resentment. Then I tried to explain how rudeness actually denotes fellowship; how we are reserved among strangers and newcomers, but relish insulting old friends across the table. That’s the London way of expressing affection.
They asked for an example and my mind went blank. Couldn’t think of a single one. I’ve sat in poker games in the Vic, in my house, in friends’ houses, in other casinos, all over town, and watched players being openly rude to each other as soon as they feel truly comfortable (in my own Tuesday game, hardly a kind word has been spoken in ten years) but couldn’t remember anything specific at all.
A couple of hours later I went to the Palm Beach for their monthly £1000 tournament.
“A parakeet was found on the Edgware Road this morning,” remarked the player next to me, out of nowhere. “Green in colour, chirping ‘You’re an ugly bastard! You’re an ugly bastard!’ ”
Then he swivelled round to his old mate in the next chair.
“You ain’t lost a parrot, have you?”