September 2008
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I suppose a rock’s out of the question

This could be the most paranoia-inducing vending machine ever.

"Please dont rock.  Your being watched".  The terrible grammar just makes it even scarier.

I’m not surprised they’ve had rockin’ issues in the past though, having found out the hard way just how much coffee you get for 50p.  It’s barely half a small cup.

In other interesting back-stories that I can only imagine, there’s this sign on the bed:

Bunk beds?  You don’t get them in those regular hotels, but I’m staying in France’s favourite unmanned hotel chain, Formule 1.  Except this one fails in the virtually human-free department because you actually have to check in at the Ibis next door with a real person, rather than just swiping a credit card and hoping all the right automatic stuff happens.

From my room, I have an excellent view of the skate park.

But you just can’t beat a self-cleaning toilet.  They’re pretty impressive, and how they manage to wash down the cubicle but leave the toilet paper dry is still a bit of a mystery.

Live updates: GCBPT Liverpool £200 Freezeout

BYO Chips

So the first tournament didn’t go too well.  The structure actually sucks pretty bad, which is a shame because the next one is exactly the same.  They skip right past 75/150 and 150/300 to get right up to a level where half the players are short stacked in under two hours.

By the time I busted, blinds had just ticked over to 400/800 with 100 ante and the average stack for the 80-something remaining players was about 10,000.  I had no cards and very few stealing opportunities (with several other players already pushing any two cards) so I ended up with little else I could do than move all-in with junk and hope that hands like TJ and 63 would fold.  They didn’t.

I haven’t recognised any poker celebs yet but I was briefly graced by the presence of the Betfred Women’s Poker Tour Champion 2007, Lynne Beaumont, at my table.  I know this because it said the title on her shirt, and I used Google just now to find her name.

Clearly an achievement to be proud of, this award had also netted her an absolutely unpatronising cash prize of one thousand pounds, as well as the chance to be a human billboard for the next year.  Taking full advantage of her free ride, Lynn arrived at the table two hours late and busted on her first hand.

Anyway, as seems to be necessary in all the best trip reports, I won my buy-in back on blackjack/roulette/The Cash (* delete as appropriate).

I had been scoping the blackjack game, and depending on how quickly you earn "Fortune Points" (Gala’s slot club, which also tracks table play) it could be a good gamble, but today it was The Cash.

In fact, this was my first ever foray into live cash games at an actual British casino that is really a casino.  It surprised me a little that the game had a "BYO Chips" policy and was therefore played mostly with folding money.  The dealer didn’t have a rack and the card room wouldn’t sell chips so you had to go and buy them from another table game.

Or you could wait for a sucker like me to change up his entire roll and buy them from him.  Which is awesome, because I love handling cash given to me by strangers in a casino.

I would like to think I was responsible for one mega-tilt hand after my two pair beat another two pair.  He clearly thought his A6 was way ahead when I just called with AJ on a JT6xA board.  With one more player still to act, I was going for the overcall rather than shoving for less than a full raise into a possible made straight.

Next hand he straddled on the button for £4. I think this is a Mississippi straddle, never seen it played that way before and not really sure how it affects the action, but it didn’t really matter here.  The big blind was having none of it and immediately re-straddled for £8 and the pissing contest began.  It went £16, then £32, then his remaining £46 all-in and called.

Finally they let cards get dealt.  Nobody had a £46 hand so we saw J6 race against 52, with a 5 on board to send Mr Tilt off to see if the cashier would let him exceed his ATM limit.