Friday, 2 April 2010

Two World Wars and One World Cup

“Go back home Englander”

I am sitting in a 2/2 no limit hold’em game in a Berlin casino and am not getting a warm welcome from a few of my hosts. The guy on my left is the businessman type, he’s drinking one of those overly large German glasses of beer and generally being an idiot. Being a dick is clearly something that transcends international boundaries.

So he’s insulting me in German, mocking me for being unable to speak the language and deliberately using oversized chips to bet -saying the number in German. A couple of players laugh along with him – I notice they have both had to rebuy in the hour I’ve been at the table. Clearly my businessman friend wants to be ‘the man’.

He tries to taunt me by repeatedly asking me what the score was in the Bayern Munich v Manchester United match that took place earlier in the week.

Eventually respond by telling him the game is delicately poised for the second leg, as United have the away goal and although the Bavarians are now favourites as Rooney is injured, if Bayern’s Dutch injury prone superstar Arjen Robben doesn’t return for the match at Old Trafford and with their suspect central defenders, I see the tie going either way and is probably 50/50.

And besides, I support Birmingham.

I’ve done nothing to annoy him so far apart from being a solid and aggressive poker player, but when he acts out of turn and raises when I am still deliberating my action with pocket tens, I decide to provide him with some ammunition.

Much to the consternation of several people at table, in English I seek a rules clarification from the dealer. She confirms to me that if I just call, then the raise from the businessman plays and he can’t take it back. So that’s just what I do and when the action returns to me, with a Turkish guy is caught in the sandwich, I stick in a nice healthy re- raise. This causes three people to simultaneously start gesticulating and shouting at me in German. When things calm down, the businessman folds and the Turk calls. He’s been standing up to my aggression with mixed results so far, but he is clearly after me. The hand plays out and after checking through the flop, I end up calling a bet from him on the turn and river. After my river call he disgustedly throws his cards into the muck and I don’t even have to show my cards to claim the 200+ euro pot.

Now it’s on and I have two players at the table steaming. When the businessman loses the rest of his stack against a confused old man who keeps string betting, he proceeds to fake spit at the female dealer before throwing his cards at her. The fact that he is tilting is beautiful to me but I feel sorry for the dealer, so I tell him he is being an idiot, has no class and the dealer has actually been helping him by enforcing the string bets. He now refuses to interact with me and simply keeps repeating “GO HOME” and GO AWAY” in a very loud voice.

I blow what remains of my image by running an audacious bluff with 7 high against the confused old man and proudly showing it when he folds. From then on I lock it up and play super tight for the next 45 minutes until I leave at midnight.

I leave just over 250 euros in profit which is nice win considering the high rake in the game, and which coincidently, is the exact amount of my three week sublet here in Berlin.

Maybe next time I visit the casino I can do my bit to repair Anglo-German poker relations.

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