Pick of the Week: Folding Your Life Away

I turn my attention away from my iphone and give my eyes a much-needed rest. The cards are crashing into the £1 chip that stands alone, just inches from my ever-dwindling stack. There are six in all and I gather them together and flick with my right thumb. The cards snap open and closed, setting in motion a story, like the flick books you used to make when you were younger. Only this time the crudely drawn pictures of thornicating men and women have been replaced by hearts, kings, queens and spades.

There is a raise, everyone else calls, I fold and return to my iphone. The guys around the table are saying that I am being ignorant. This is said in part jest and part annoyance. They are taking the piss, but a part of the act of reading and essentially ignoring them, is winding them up. The situation is an interesting one though. I know if I stop reading and pay attention to the game, my ever-dwindling stack will be reduced to dust in the time it takes to say f…o…l…d. I don’t like folding, I like action and playing in this way kills me hence the book. It takes me away from the pain.

I know that in order to win in this game I need to fold. Everyone else, with the exception of Alan the Bookie, is playing every hand. By playing every hand you are in effect acting the same as everyone else. If everyone else were playing incorrectly, by playing every hand, then why would I want to do that? So I sit there, like the ultimate voyeur, waiting for the cards to be thrown over before I take my sneaky little peek – f…o…l…d.

Rob The Painter left early and took £800 along with his paintbrushes. That £800 has left a scar on the table dynamics. Rob The Painter is probably the worse poker player in the game. He doesn’t know what he is doing and can’t even do that very well. When players of his ilk take your money it hurts in ways that are difficult to describe. It’s a pride thing and we all hate to see our pride dented. So even if I weren’t retina deep in my iphone, whom would I talk to anyway? Everybody looks tired and fed up and we can thank Rob The Painter for that. There is no happiness around this table and yet we would gladly sit here for several days without sleep. What a strange feeling, what a strange world.

In the end, after folding hand after hand, for 8-hours, I lost all of my money in one hand. I said my goodbyes jumped into the car and headed home. When I got home I couldn’t sleep despite, being incredibly tired and exhausted. I wrote instead and even after writing I still didn’t want to go to sleep. Instead I wanted to play more poker. This is what happens in poker. You lose money and your soul cannot rest until you have won it back. I have had an incredibly tough week battling on the emotional front. I have a lot going on right now and yet the only thing that bothers me; the only thing that I don’t seem to be able to rise above is this damn game. Poker sends me into a spin of mood and despair the likes of which I have never experienced in anything before.

There are a number of scenarios that I have in my mind about what constitutes an ideal night and last night was one of them. There’s a sobering thought. Sitting in a pub, reading my book and folding hand after hand is what excites me…what stimulates me. Poker is often a metaphor of life. I am critical of people who act like robots, doing the same mind numbingly boring things day-after-day; complaining time-after-time without doing anything to change their predicament. These people who resign their lives to defeat, settle for second best despite acknowledging it – these people are just folding their lives away. But this preacher, this know-it-all-clever-clogs who thinks he has figured it all out…is he any different?

I have some serious thinking to do…


I don’t know what to do with myself today. I am devoid of all energy and just want the day to pass in the hope that tomorrow is different. It reminds me of my drinking days. I suppose today I have the metaphorical hangover from hell. I have a lot of reasons to feel sorry for myself, but my constant self improvement is paying dividends. Normally I can rise above the shit and set myself apart from it. Then there is poker…

I am a gambling addict and despite refraining from all other forms of gambling, the fact that I remain a poker player means that I remain a gambling addict. I don’t gamble to win money. Years ago when my problem was at it’s worst I would lose thousands of pounds and not bat an eyelid. But poker is different. When I lose playing poker, it really puts me in a bad place. The obvious thing to do is to just stop playing, but although I will remove all that wretched despair I will also miss the wonderful highs. So instead I am going to just sleep on it and hope my sub-conscious will work out this poker conundrum.

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  1. Excellent piece. I enjoyed that thanks.

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