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CHUTZPAH OR CIDER

Drinking at the poker table – guaranteed crash and burn or chip leader throughout the game?

We’ve all been there, sat to the left of the guy with a pint glass permanently welded to his hand. He’s getting progressively worse as the evening goes on, not knowing he’s on the blind, string betting and calling everyone behind because he’s misread the flop, only to catch runner runner to suck out on the guy with aces, and still managing to keep his drink upright even when he overbalances in the throes of his mirth and falls off his chair.

Now that’s either amusing, or annoying, mostly dependent on whether you were the guy with the bullets…

But can drinking, in moderation of course, actually help some people’s game by giving them the Dutch courage to make a play they wouldn’t normally have the cojones for?

I watched a well known player on the cash table at one of the GUKPT events. He steadily donated the best part of £2k to his compadres while drinking coffee, tapped a mate for another £200 and tapped the valet for a large brandy. A few snifters later and he’s back up to 2k. (Later still and he’s being sick in the toilets but his chips are still stacked up on the table)

Vicky Coren freely admitted she made a few calls she might not have made when she became the first woman to win an EPT, thanks to a few glasses of vino to steady her nerves beforehand.

But just because they’re calls you wouldn’t normally make – does that make them wrong? If your gut is screaming “he’s bluffing” based on what you’ve seen of his play so far, then it’s a good call – particularly when he turns over ace high and you scoop the pot with your top pair. Maybe that vodka might just make you check raise someone who you put on AK when the flop comes rag rag rag, just don’t shout out “I knew it !” when he folds and show your J10.

If it works for you, great. Of course you’re at risk of a complete lack of respect from others if you’re simply calling behind, not to mention cirrhosis of the liver, but if that warm beer buzz gives you the balls to make a play against a player who you would normally fold aces to preflop, then it’s no bad thing.

B. Raggers


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