Confessions of a Nitbitch

So I was standing at the upstairs bar at London EPT – a scene of many late night drinks over the course of the events – and was chatting to Ian Simpson. He of much recent poker success including of course Irish Open Champion 2013.

In spite of this, I managed to become the poker equivalent of that person who doctors at parties dread. The one who starts pulling off various items of clothing and saying, “Do you mind just taking a look at this funny patch? I’ll hold your vol-au-vent while you do…”

And although needless to say no literal undressing occurred in the Grand Connaught Rooms, I am afraid I couldn’t resist exposing to Ian my game’s answer to the weird looking verruca. And alas, after a brief consultation on his metaphorical poker examination table – involving some distasteful probing into a shocking fold of JJ in LP in a tournament the night before – the harsh diagnosis came that I was (according apparently to the esteemed Dr Jason Somerville’s criteria) a nitbitch.

Not a rock. Not Mr ABC.  Not a conservative steady-as-she-goes careful player. Not even just a nit. But a nitbitch. I must confess I found the ring of it quite charming at first and in another world, it might have ended up the title of this whole blog….I’m a nitbitch…loud n proud! Or something equally sassy…

But then, in the end, who wants to be a nitbitch for the rest of their life? I somehow don’t think that when the eventual winner of the November 9 lifts up the much desired bracelet next month, he will say to the cameras, “God, I knew being a nitbitch was the best strategy….”

But allow me to at least say a word in the defence of nitbitches (nitbitchery?) before we completely condemn the condition as terminal and beyond hope. And although I won’t go into the full gory details of what I did to deserve such an accusation, suffice to say I was in a position where I knew that if I called the shove to my right – along with the subsequent shove that I expected would then follow from my left – I would face of course the possibility of my little fun tourney coming to an abrupt end.

But that’s poker, I hear the cry! You go for it when you have it. When the edge is there, however fearful, winners go for it. They take those risks and they seize the mathematical moment to thrust forth.

Yes, yes Professor Sklansky thank you for reminding me of that. But can I make the suggestion that sometimes, there are other concerns that may dominate? Yes, we of course want to play our best game and hopefully with that win through. But the joy of poker has always been the way in which it can be accessed, experienced and enjoyed in a whole multitude of ways and at so many different levels. And for me, one of the massive discoveries of being at a huge event like UKIPT/EPT was seeing what a social game Poker can be even at those serious stakes. The interactions and connections were a good reminder of the huge fun that we can have whenever we sit down together at the poker table.

So the context of that particular hand was that I was having so much fun at the table – not to mention copious drinks and food thanks to the wonderful hospitality of GPI – that I really did not feel ready to get up and go.

And at this point, I call as my main witness for the defence, Mr Lee Jones, he of Pokerstars PR fame. It just happened that a couple of hours before playing, I heard him commentating with Mssrs Hartigan & Stapelton and he said that there comes a time in a tournament when you go so deep that you just don’t want to get up from the table ‘because it’s so much fun!’ Just sitting there, chatting and laughing, you know you’ll feel sad to be away from that environment. And as with every decision moment in poker – as in life – context is all. The position we find ourselves in, both relative and absolute, will influence how we act.

So yes, such thoughts were in my head as I was playing and as yet another plate of canapes went by, another glass was filled, and laughter rang out…I folded my JJ. And yes, you guessed it, I would have won nice and big and busted two players. But, at least I stayed at the table longer…

Besides, what can I say, Harrington never wrote a section on the canape situation!

So has this helped me to feel better about being a nitbitch? Actually, not really. Especially when I tell you that I managed to reach the final table and then busted out at 4th place. So needless to say, the nagging thought is there….if I had just had those extra won stacks to back me up, who knows….?

I guess the moral of this sorry tale is that however much short term relief the path of the nitbitch may bring, it can only store up much regret for the future. All of those couldve-beens!

I accept my diagnosis. I must take the cure, however bitter a pill! But in the meantime, pass me that vol-au-vent will you….?