Poker | Caribbean Adventure 2| Dominic Wells | Poker NovelCardspiel

Caribbean Adventure (part 2)

> Read Part 1 here

I pass a fitful first night at the Atlantis Resort, waking every hour to shiver some more. The heating in my room is broken – or so I thought until I phoned and asked to be moved. In fact, there just isn’t any.“We don’t have heating in any of our rooms, sir,” says the receptionist, and somehow the raised eyebrow is detectable even over the phone. Asking to have a cow delivered to my room wearing silk lingerie might cause less surprise.

“This is the Bahamas.” It may be the Bahamas, but it’s still bloody cold. And that’s not just my fever talking. I’ve arrived, apparently, during the worst cold snap in years. Just great. No Bond girls in bikinis on the beach then. For the other attraction of this particular tournament is that this is in prime 007 territory. It was here, at the Cafe Martinique in what is now the Atlantis’s Marina Village, that Bond met Domino in Thunderball.

Just further down the beach is where Daniel Craig redefined Bond as a 21st century hunk in trunks, emerging glistening from the waves as Ursula Andress once did in Dr No. If saloon bars and aces up the sleeve define our earliest poker myths, James Bond created a new poker archetype: the suave gentleman gambler, ever-ready to relieve some rich piece of Eurotrash of his wealth with a quip and a smile. You always remember Sean Connery’s Bond in an ice-cream-white jacket, pushing stacks of chips around the baize like he’d push around his women.

Daniel Craig sealed the deal in Casino Royale, coolly taking down a pot worth over $100 million. It’s a scene that did wonders for the game’s popularity, though pros will bitch that even if four players did end up all-in with, respectively, a flush, a full house, a bigger fuller house, and a straight flush, they played the hand incredibly badly by professional standards to get there.

Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond books, was himself a keen player, though not, by his own admission, a very good one.“I drink and smoke and enjoy the game too much,” he said. “You shouldn’t do any of those things if you want to win.”

I’ve come to realise over the last few years that this is very much my problem. When I play for fun, I tend to lose. When I play to win, I don’t enjoy it. Somehow, I need to work out which kind of player I want to be. Instead, I’m currently drifting from one extreme to the other as my bank-roll ebbs and swells.

At least my course of action is clear in this tournament. I’ll play tight as the proverbial gnat’s chuff, like the Mount Rushmore of rocks. Ten grand is way too much to risk on having fun, even if this place is purpose-built for it.

The Atlantis Resort and Casino is a sprawling complex by the sea, with its own network of man-made rivers and lakes and waterslides, that takes a good 15 minutes to walk from end to end. It has Aztec carvings, and a huge shark tank. It’s precisely the sort of lair from which a super-villain might plot world domination. You half expect that, when the tournament gets under way, a trap door will open under the chair of anyone whose Aces get cracked by a flush, and tip them in as shark-bait.


> Read Part 3

Image ‘Istmo Caribe’ by Fernando Flores

> Photographer Website

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