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Thursday 10th June 2004

CNPS numbers spotted 1 (799). I am worried. I am not going fast enough. I have about 52 days to spot 200 numbers. Is this going to be possible? How exciting. I bet you're on the edge of your seats!

Date 46 was aboard a luxury yacht at St Katherine's Dock (not on the high seas alas) at a launch party for an internet gambling site.
Part of the evening was a poker tournament with a top prize of a trip for two to Monte Carlo. There were about 36 people taking part, a mixture of novices and experienced players and although I've been playing a bit this year I didn't expect to do well, but hoped I might at least make it into the final (there were six heats and the best two players on each table made it through).
We had not managed to have any dinner and champagne was flowing fairly freely so both 46 and I were quite drunk as we took our seats for our first round match. The game was Texas Hold 'Em, which is what I usually play and with which you might be familiar if you watch Channel 4 Late Night Poker. Best of all we were not playing with real money so there was nothing to lose. I got a 4 and a 6 in the first game and the betting was immediately heavy, so I folded. Which was a shame as 3,5 and 7 came up on the flop which meant I would have had a straight and won the hand (as it turned out). The guy who had bet big won instead and then proceeded to do the same thing again with the next hand. I had a king so joined him this time and luckily another king came up on the flop. I had gone all in, but won the hand and things were looking good. A couple of people were knocked out almost immediately, but 46 was hanging in there. At one point, when it was just me and her and I had nothing I thought about betting big and bluffing her out, but decided that that would be ungallant on a first date.As it happened she had worse nothing than me anyway. Despite the guy who was dealing (and also playing)'s attempts to cheat and steal chips me and the big betting fella were the ones that made it through to the final. I had had quite lucky cards, but played them well, and was still fairly pleased to have made the final. I assumed that I would be bowled out of that fairly sharpish, as presumably all the best players would have made it through.
The final was divided into two tables of six which gradually moved together as people were knocked out. Again there was a guy betting big (all in in fact) based only on his first two cards. I was tempted to go all in and see if he was bluffing, but decided it would be embarrassing if I was the first to get knocked out (what with 46 looking on expectantly all this time), so I folded. The big better had great cards and won, knocking out the one bloke who'd dared to face him. The next hand he tried the same. This time I had a king and a jack, so I thought I'd stand up to him. I was all in so we flipped our cards over. He had an ace and a queen, which meant he had the edge. But my luck held and I managed to get a straight again (very lucky) and so was back in the game with double my original chips.
I was getting some great cards. On one hand I had the king and ace of hearts and the flop produced three hearts, which meant I was pretty much unassailable. I didn't win much for that, but took another player out of the game. Amazingly I found myself down to the last six. Suddenly I wondered if I might win this after all. I had the second highest amount of chips and seemed to be winning fairly consistently. I fluked another straight on the flop to knock out the third place person and then I was head to head with a guy called Stuart for the big prize. He had about twice as many chips as me, giving him a big advantage and I was drunk and fairly freaked out to have got this far.
Unfortunately it was at this point (having to put in 1000 or 2000 chips on each hand) that my cards went to shit and I was drawing a 3 and a 9 or a 2 and a 10 and he was betting big. I had to just give up on three hands in a row and was left with very little money. I then drew the 5 and 6 of clubs and knew I had to go all in in the hope of a flush or a straight. To be honest, I knew that a win here would only just keep me alive, but if I lost I was out. With four cards down on the table I required a club or a 4 to come up for me to win the hand. But alas, my luck deserted me and I was out to a deserved champion. Probably, given my love of gambling, it might have been a lucky break for me not to win a holiday to a casino focused town and I did get a bottle of champagne and the kudos of having come second and thus beating a lot of good players.
I had been a bit worried about leaving 46 to watch me play poker, conscious that this wasn't necessarily a great date, but I think she quite enjoyed it. I should really have got her to stand behind me, in a revealing dress, rubbing my shoulders. I think she was impressed that I had done so well, but she would have been a lot more impressed had I won and then taken her to Monte Carlo.
Love can flourish or die on the turn of a card.
Instead I took her to Brick Lane for some long overdue food. Well, you can't have everything, darling.

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