I’m still due some luck then. Today it wasn’t a case of being crippled because I couldn’t win 50/50s, it was that I couldn’t win the hands where I dominated. I finished 19th from 100, lasting long enough to collect the goody bag they gave out to the final three tables, but not long enough to collect any cash. Still, I’m now the proud owner of a GBPT swimming bag which came preloaded with a t-shirt (size L, and not good enough to motivate me to lose that much weight), a pen, a chip, a keyring, a pin badge and a card protector which is actually rather nice. Oh, and the obligatory pack of cards, but the guy next to me spoke for everyone when he said "like I need another one of those".
I’ll probably post some pictures of the freebies when I get home, along with as much as I managed to photograph of the local places of interest. They’re not all that interesting at all – I was bored after not much more than an hour of driving round trying to find stuff. I’d seen a sculpture of a train made out of brick, which "pushed at the boundaries of brick technology" – boy was I impressed – and a transporter bridge, apparently the world’s longest but so much less useful than a road bridge that you could cross at any time without stopping, instead of at fifteen minute intervals during the day and not at all at night.
Yes, it’s grim up north. This far north anyway. This is up beyond Yorkshire, where you have a city with rich Roman and Viking history in York, the fastest growing city in the country in Leeds and a lot of picturesque moors, which have only been spoiled by the occasional serial killer. Up here in Cleveland, the world is stuck in a timewarp, and not in an endeering way. Parts of the towns I explored could very easily have been the set for any period drama based in the 1970s. It may well already have been used for that, I just can’t be bothered to check. Getting back just now I filled my car up using a petrol pump that had a mechanical seven-segment display, none of your newfangled liquid crystal that’s becoming so popular with the rise of the pocket calculator. Not quaint, just crap.
I also wondered if we were stuck in the 1970s after an indicent at the poker table. One player had raised pre-flop and got one caller. The board was queen high, the raiser bet and the caller called. The turn brought another queen, the raiser bet again and the caller moved all in. The raiser must have had kings or aces and eventually folded and the caller – a dark skinned fellow, seemingly of Indian origin but a Teesside local through and through – showed his king queen. Disgusted, the raiser shouted across the table, "Why don’t you go back where you came from?". For a brief moment, if felt like things might be about to get ugly. "Whadeeya mean, like?", he asked. "Back to that other table", came the reply. Oh right, he hadn’t long been moved here. False alarm then, probably.
I’m not writing a match report tonight, but I probably will. I have to be in Hanley tomorrow afternoon for an eye test, and so sleeping before the three hour drive (Autoroute said 2h15 but I don’t believe it) is a good idea. I have notes from all my key hands and this time there were a few interesting confrontations. However, for at least the last hour I was there, the tournament structure left a person with an average stack less than ten big blinds, so there was no poker left to be played. Short stacks had to move all-in with any old garbage and big stacks had to call them with not much better, and everything just went a bit random. In the midst of that, I couldn’t get lucky enough to capitalize on the strong position I’d got myself into during the first four hours.
The tour hits Nottingham next month, I might get to have another crack.