The Power of Positive Thinking
I don’t mind admitting that 2004 was a pretty dreadful year for me. I chased around the globe playing loads of big tournaments and spending a small fortune in expenses. I lost a huge amount of money.
After a particularly dreadful trip to Vegas in December, I was so depressed that when I got home, I was teetering on the brink of giving up poker.
I spent a lot of time thinking and evaluating my game over Christmas. After discussing everything with my girlfriend, I decided to give it one more shot in 2005.
Some things had to change. My bankroll and my sanity couldn’t cope with the battering they suffered last year. So, with help from some friends, I instituted a battle plan for the New Year.
Firstly, I decided to cut down on the number of big events I played. When I first gave up work to play poker, there was only one $10,000 event a year: the World Series of Poker. Now, with the boom in poker fuelled by the phenomenal success of the World Poker Tour, there is, seemingly, a 10 grand comp every other week! Now, I may think I’ve got a fair edge in every event I play, but for that edge to become apparent, I needed to play more events than I could afford. When you are playing on a tight budget, each bad beat hurts disproportionately more than it should. And when the way I played started to suffer (that is, trying to limp into the money instead of going for the gusto), I really knew enough was enough.
I will certainly play the WSOP this year; the value in that event is so huge, I would urge anyone who believes …
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is not generally considered a poker movie, but it does feature a brilliant poker confrontation in the very first scene. The film opens with a threehanded game of draw poker involving Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and an unnamed tough guy. At this stage in the movie, we know nothing about the eponymous heroes of the film, so scriptwriter William Goldman uses poker as a means of introducing their characters.
Redford is the big winner in a tense high-stakes game, but when he tries to drag in yet another sizeable pot, the tough guy loses his cool, calls Redford a “goddamn cheat,” and looks set to draw his gun in order to recover his losses. Indeed, there was something not quite right about the way Redford held the cards in his fist when he dealt.
Newman — talkative, witty, and likeable — is the intermediary in the argument, persuading Redford to just give the man his money back so that they can get back on the road. Hell, there’s plenty more where that came from. But Redford has been insulted and wants to keep his winnings. As tension mounts, Newman continues to act the diplomat, trying to persuade his friend to back down. Redford still won’t budge, so eventually Newman gives up with a seemingly throwaway line: “Can’t help you, Sundance.”
Cut to the tough guy. He’s gone pale. There is fear and panic all over his face. Just the mention of that name — “Sundance” — tells him that he’s just picked a fight with the wrong guy, a mistake likely to prove fatal. There is a dramatic pause, and then, speaking slowly, the tough guy says: “I didn’t know you were the Sundance Kid when I said you were cheating. …