Slophead

Returning from the park with Maize and Winnie a small dead branch drops off a tree and falls in my hair.  I reach up to remove it and discover that its not foliage, its a fresh green bird turd, sloppy enough to run down my face and down the front of my bright yellow jumper.  I smile at passers by as the thick soup soaks into my scalp.  I wonder if thats good for my hair.  What creature had produced such a large load?  I look above but do not see the culprit.

I remember that its very good luck to have a bird sh*t on your head.  Hopefully then the avian mark will show the end of a grim period of poker misfortune.

Recently I laughed at a punter in the card club who was so pessmistic and expectant of bad things happening, he never felt good about his hand until he held the mortal nuts on the river.  He did not break his dark frown until he was absolutely certain that he could not be beaten.  If there was any doubt that his hand was not good, he preferred to throw it away.  Of course when I say I laughed at him I meant I was laughing inside.  A very large middle aged man, he wore a suede baseball jacket and a strange crumpled leather baseball cap perched on his fat head – which he shoke slowly when a less jaded player at the table got money in with a hand that was merely almost-unbeatable, and intoned ‘unless you’ve got the nutssss….’

Time and time again he would fold the winning hand, making some great laydowns sometimes but most of the time it was like a bookmaker had offered him odds on the Manchester United – Stoke City game, but the odds had been mixed up so Stoke City were favourites and United were two-to-one underdogs, and any gambler would sell his car to put money on before the mistake was noticed, but my guy would not like to take the risk… because he didn’t have The Nutttsssss

Or there’s Carl ‘The Dean’ Sampson who writes for poker magazines where his dour face stares out at you, and his wise words of wisdom warn just how bad things can get and how difficult it is to be a pro and how pronounced a downswing can be and how long you can go without making any money and how many of the successful young players are just the ones who ran good and for every rich young man there are a hundred broke young men.

The rich young men don’t know what its like to run bad, perhaps they don’t think it will happen to them.  But the older generation know what its like, and they know that it will happen.

I’ve played a hundred tournaments over the last seven weeks, and lost more than 30% of my bankroll.  Thats apart from losses on cash games.  During this time i’ve been improving my play almost everyday, and have been making less mistakes than ever!  Its character building stuff.  To keep plugging away not knowing when the reward will come, to adjust downwards in stakes, to keep your head on and not get frustrated, not let the dry run affect your play, five hours deep in another tournament, a few hands away from a big payday, you tee up a player to let him give you all his chips, you hold the cards to do it, the right flop comes down, you bet, he raises you all in, you call gleefully, and then…. a bird shits in your eye.  Two of a possible forty-five cards will be dealt.  Forty-two of them will put you in pole position, three will bust you from the tournament, leaving you to enter another zero in your spreadsheet.

When you start in poker, you don’t see this happen straight away, because it doesn’t happen so often.  You don’t really believe it can happen to you, or at least it won’t happen very often.  If you are lucky you might just keep winning and winning for a while, and when you’re winning you don’t worry about losing.  But the bad luck catches up to us all after a while, and I suppose its how we deal with it thats important.  You might end up like some of the old crags I see at the club, so jaded by bad runs they have ended up believing that they were born to lose.

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