December 2007
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How to dominate with a Christmas jumper

It took me a while to realise, but last night at Binions I was playing $1/$2 NL with Sam O’Connor, apparently one of the first men to ever be seated in a Texas Hold’em game when it arrived in Las Vegas.

In fact I only realised when he started recounting a story about being on the set of Lucky You and being asked for an autograph by someone who didn’t know who he was.  Well really, why would they?  Although he was a poker advisor for the movie, his part on screen is credited only as "Old Man".  But he was in a movie with Drew Barrymore and that, apparently, is enough to make you a celebrity.

I was sure I’d heard the same story told the same way, it just took me a few minutes to remember where: an episode of the Gamblers’ Book Club podcast.  I posted a clip of that interview here.  A stroppy local woman ran her queens into aces and left the table moaning that "Sam is always bad luck for me", even though he wasn’t involved in that hand, and the penny dropped.

He wore a cracking Christmas jumper.  Although very popular with the ladies over here, you don’t see so many worn by men so I was pretty impressed.  Almost impressed enough to pretend I was a fan of Drew Barrymore myself and whip out the camera phone to take my picture with him.  But not quite, so I’ll just have to describe it: blueish with many large white snowflakes.  I’d wear it for sure.

Now that I know that O’Connor actually plays $1/$2 live games I have a little more respect for his book, which contains some of the tightest poker strategy advice you’ll ever read.  Fold all draws and most pairs btw, just try to flop the stone cold nuts.  Perhaps it’s suited to the ultra-tight game at Binions, which is usually comprised of at least half a table of rock-tight locals looking for just one big pot before they turn in for the night.  If it’s not a strategy for beating them (wouldn’t that be rude?) it’s going to be a guide to joining them, so I’ll attempt to read it again with this context in mind.