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Chairs missing

The Thai Park takes place in southwest Berlin every weekend.

From spring to autumn a bunch of Thai ladies gather with camping stoves, cool boxes and supplies and make various delicious dishes. It got kind of famous now and there are always rumours that it will close down but each year so far it has started up again with the warmer weather. The 'soup lady' from the park even now has her own Imbiss (small restaurant) called Thai Art and all food there is always tasty.

On this occasion several years ago the park was busy and buzzing as usual. The crowd sat around the park on the grass and blankets enjoying the food, sunbathing and having a generally lovely time in the sun.

Set apart slightly there were a collection of older men seated around a table in a shady spot under a tree. I ambled over and saw that they were playing poker. Texas Holdem in fact. I watched a while longer and it appeared that they were playing for real money and there was a guy with a not suspicious at all br…
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Naked flush draw

I was in Austria. It was winter. The time was after midnight.

I had busted the main event of a large poker festival. It had been close to the bubble in a hand where I had got it in good and been outdrawn on the river. I had invested the maximum time and emotional energy for no financial reward. I wasn't in a great frame of mind. The walk back to my accommodation took around 15 minutes. I remember it was snowing and that I had inappropriate footwear. My room was cheap and quiet, ideal for my needs. But there was a caveat to consider that I had half forgotten.

When travelling for poker I often book someone's spare room instead of a whole apartment as it works out more affordable and I am hardly ever there. This time my host was a jovial guy in his 50s. He was awake when I got home and greeted me in the lounge with a friendly hello. I'd already been there three days but he took this moment to decide to ask me about life as a professional poker player. He asked all of the ques…

Marrakech Express

I went to Morocco on a whim really. I went because I expected that no poker player worth his or her salt would be there. They would all surely be in Las Vegas playing at the World Series of Poker - the biggest poker event of the year. Why would anyone good be at this weirdly scheduled North African event? I dreamed of tables full of suave but clueless French businessmen and friendly but naive locals.

As is the way with travelling to poker tournaments, you are conditioned to expect the disappointment of failure and financial losses. This is simply the way tournament poker works. The creeping inevitability of losing trip that perhaps can be staved off by a 'min cash' in the main event or a nice run in a side event or finding some good cash games. To be break even is beautiful. Sure - someone is going to win the tournament, but it sure as hell won't be me, right?

Expenses would have to be kept to a minimum and focus maintained. I would fly Ryanair. Arrive on the day of the ev…

Man wins poker tournament

I have played poker for many years and in all that time I have only managed to win one live tournament. Shockingly in the second half of 2018, despite having recently 'retired' from poker - I managed to take down two events.

Warning - post contains a lot of poker.

Summer Cup

I went back to day two of the Berlin Summer Cup (€220 buy in, 250 runners) with just 22 big blinds, lying around 50/62, with 27 players paid. I commented to my friend that at least it would get me out of the flat for the afternoon, but I expected to be available to watch the Uruguay v Portugal match later that evening. About 15 people bought in for 8bbs at the beginning of day two to swell the prizepool and we were off. Early on average stacks were very shallow, due in part to the number of day two re-entries, so there were a lot of all ins. I didn't do very much and dwindled down to 10bbs where I had my first (and I think only) suckout, doubling with A8 vs AQ. Shortly afterwards I went on a tear, bustin…

The Great Escape

I recently played the Party Million poker tournament in Rozvadov. Both the tournament and the casino were great, but travelling to and from the venue without a car proved even more difficult than I expected.
Rozvadov is a small village in the Czech Republic on the German border. Unremarkable apart from the fact that it houses the largest poker room in Europe. King's Casino seems to be turning itself into a major player in the European Poker scene but this was my first time at the venue.
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I played day one online and despite all my best efforts to build a stack or bust - I limped into day two with a short stack…

The road to Stalintown

When visiting Georgia my mum's advice was simple:

"Don't cause any trouble"

"But wait...What if I go to Gori, the town where Stalin was born and is still revered and worshipped like a God and somebody asks me my opinion about him?"

"Say Stalin? I've never heard of him. Say you don't know who he is."

"Then how would I explain why I ended up in this smallish out of the way town in Georgia?"

"Just say you are passing though. Say it is lovely place."


Joseph Stalin was born in Gori in the Russian Empire (now Georgia) in 1878. The present day town has a population of around 50,000 people and is somewhat of a shrine and memorial to the genocidal Soviet dictator. Stalin is of course Georgia's most famous son to everybody in the world apart from Manchester City supporters.

Getting to Gori from Tbilisi was to prove something of a challenge. By far the most common wa…

There's a guy down the kebab shop swears he's Hitler (AKA Döner Darts Hitler incident)

There's a certain kind of a moustache which is a problem. You'd know it if you saw it. I'm talking about a shaved top lip on either side with a patch of quite thick hair beneath the nose remaining. Particularly if it's dark hair.

There can only be two acceptable moments when a man sports this moustache. Firstly when shaving, when you do all the other bits and you leave that bit there to see what it looks like. Importantly you must make sure everyone is out and NOT take a photo. Secondly, when going to a genocidal dictator fancy dress party and you haven't got the depth or volume of top lip facial hair to pull off 'The Stalin', nor the scraggly beard to go for 'The Genghis Khan'.

I was in the kebab shop this evening.

This is not unusual.

Tonight due to extreme hunger and a diverted train I was in a new establishment. The signs were mixed but taking the queue inside as a good omen, we dived in to shelter and hopefully to enjoy above average food (hey,…