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Thursday 8th September 2005

My car is very dirty. It’s been sitting on the street all the time I have been in Edinburgh, under a tree and whilst the squirrels have decided to leave it alone for the moment, quite a few birds have mistaken by VW Golf Automatic for a lavatory and done their bird business all over it. Plus on Monday I heard the binmen applauding in the street and when I looked out they have clearly just dropped a massive bag of ash, as a white cloud had erupted from the floor and was coating all the cars around in its clammy residue.
It was time to clean my car. Now I am a busy man with online poker to play, so there is no way I can do it on my own, but as I drove down Hammersmith Grove today I saw a woman sitting under one of those big signs that direct you to a nearby but slightly hidden business, which said “Car Handwash from £2.99”. Maybe you think I should have got a hand job instead, but I wanted my car cleaned, not manual relief of my genitalia. So on my way back home I popped into this establishment to see if it was truly possible that men could wash a car for such a small amount of money and not want to masturbate me into the bargain.
Of course the £2.99 was for the most basic wash and I decided I would like my car dried as well as washed and so it cost me £5. But if I go back three more times I get another wash for free. What kind of a service is that.
A gang of men (mainly from Eastern Europe if my Henry Higgins ear for accent and dialect can be trusted) set to work. It was quite a marvel to behold and given that they would be getting less than a pound each for this work (they could earn more standing still by a gold bicycle) they set about it with some gusto. They used big power hose sprays mainly rather than their hands, but they did hold the hoses in their hands so it still counts. It was a slick and professional operation and extremely good value. I hadn’t had to get bird poo on my hands (and neither had they) and now my car was dust and faeces free for at least the next half an hour. In a world of men painted gold and inefficient BT operators and lazy thieving tradesmen it was great to see some men working hard and efficiently for their living. I recommend them thoroughly if you have a dirty car and live in the area. It’s about half way up Hammersmith Grove. There’s a woman with a big sign. You can’t miss it.
The following is more for me than for you, just making notes for my book:
My poker fortunes had turned around this week and I have been playing with patience and skill (and a little luck) and placed in three of the four tournaments I had played and won back about half the money I had lost. Tonight I had an opportunity to boost my earnings further as my friends at pokerstars.com had given me a free roll into tonight’s on-line WCOOP tournament with a top prize of over $250,000. You never know. Anything could happen. I planned to be patient and ride out my luck, but 10 minutes in I got a pair of Jacks. I raised a fair bit, had a caller, but sensed he had an lower pair and so I was winning. The flop came down 2, 4, 6. I had a pair much higher than anything on the board and could assume from his betting that it was unlikely he had anything that low. The next card was a 9. I still had the highest pair (probably) and was blinded to thinking of any other possibilities. When the last card was a 10 and the other fella went all in, I joined him unthinkingly. I didn’t even think he might have two pairs, blinkered as I was to having a great hand. So I joined him. The card turned over. He had a pair of 9s. For a minute, I thought “Yes, read him perfectly!” Then I remembered the 9 that had come on the turn. I was out after 10 minutes. And had played stupidly. Pokerstars were not going to be impressed by my amateurism. I have been hoping they might get me involved in some other tournaments too, but such stupidity isn’t going to do me much good. You could rebuy back in for $200 – which is all that I had won this week and a bit more, so I thought I should, given that 10 minutes is a bit pathetic and coming about 2050 out of 2100 is lame.
Again early on I had something like K 10 and played it because no-one raised pre-flop. The flop came down and had two 10s. I decided to slow play it, because I was pretty sure I could get some money out of this, especially as there was a jack over card on the table and someone might have that (or even hopefully two pairs!). Then an eight came down and I bet into it a little, and then a queen. This meant that there was a chance that someone could have a straight if they had a 9. What were the chances though? The only other player left in bet big. I figured he was bluffing or had maybe got two pairs. I had three of a kind. I couldn’t really let it go. He had 9 9. I was crippled from there on in, twice taken out by the same hand, this time rather unluckily I felt. I lasted another half an hour and then it was all over. Riches were far away from me. In fact I had lost about a hundred pounds of my own money. God darnit. I had come 1952nd – a disaster. I had hoped to play for at least a few hours. That’s poker though. I should have bet bigger earlier on both hands at that stage and I would probably have won them. I was quite pleased not to still be in it as I came down at 10am the next morning and the game was still going on. There were about seven people left in and all of them had won several thousand dollars, but it would have taken quite a marathon to get there and I had work to do. But it would have been good not to die so quickly. I was trying to play aggressively, but in situations like this, patience is best, though to be honest it would have been difficult to lay those hands down. Maybe next time.

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