Caribbean Adventure by Dominic Wells a poker tail in 15 partsCardspiel

Caribbean Adventure By Dominic Wells (Part 4 Of 15)

Caribbean Adventure By Dominic Wells (Part 4 Of 15)

> read part one here:

The excitement is infectious. Flu or no flu, I can hardly wait till tomorrow, when I’ll get the chance to play myself. At the top of the room, behind a velvet rope, is a treasure chest piled with coins, hundred-dollar bills and pearl necklaces. It’s fake, a prop, but still stands as a continual reminder of the fortunes to be won.

I railbird for a bit. On table 35, there’s Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, so called for the fossil he uses as a card protector. His trademark shades are plonked in the middle of his huge full moon of a face: they are totally opaque, with the slitted eyes of a dinosaur painted on. We see a showdown on the river: he’s missed his straight draw, and gets beaten by a humble pair of eights.

I switch to Negreanu, who fares no better against the internet whizzkids. He re-raises pre-flop, gets called. Flop comes Ace, 5, 5. Whizzkid checks, Negreanu bets, but only a quarter of the pot. So whizzkid calls. Both check it down to the river, presumably scared of the other’s potential Ace, or maybe a third 5. We never find out what Negreanu’s cards were: he mucks them when the kid shows trip Jacks, having caught the third Jack on the river.

And that’s the problem with watching live poker. The game took off on TV when, in 1999, Channel 4’s Late Night Poker had the bright idea of showing the viewer at home everyone’s hidden hole cards. When you can’t see them, it’s much harder to follow the game, or gain an insight into a pro’s winning style. After an hour or so I lose interest, and head off to prepare for my Boris Becker interview.

Because this is the reason I have wangled a trip out here: the former Wimbledon champ has been snapped up to represent PokerStars at the tables. He gets free entry to tournaments and top-level coaching; the online giant gets star power and publicity.

And that’s where I come in. I’ll be writing up the interview in The Sun, as well as blogging for Sun Online about my attempts to play in a tournament way above anything I could usually afford.

But there’s just one teeny tiny flaw to this perfect symbiosis. One that has been making me sweat nearly as much as the flu.

In order to secure the interview with the ex-tennis pro, I had to promise his PR minders that I wouldn’t ask any personal questions: nothing about how Boris had sex with a complete stranger in the stairwell of a trendy London restaurant on the very night his wife was in hospital with labour pains; nothing about the illegitimate daughter which that five minutes of passion produced; nothing about his recent marriage, or his new wife’s impending pregnancy. Just poker, poker, poker.

But, in order for the Sun to agree to take the piece, I’d had to promise the News Editor that I’d bring up all the personal stuff.

To make matters worse, I have just 20 minutes allotted to the interview out of Boris’s busy schedule. Twenty minutes! I’m used to an hour at the least.

But failure is not an option. My $10,000 poker tournament depends on it. And in a way, this should be a greater test of my poker skills than the actual game. Can I pull off this double-bluff? When Boris answers a question, can I re-raise him with a stronger one?

Part 5 coming soon