Flushed Away

I played in a big charity poker event on Tuesday at Les Ambassadeurs just off Park Lane – it’s an annual event that I always play in. It was a good boost for my celebrity count.

Terry Wogan was the compere, and he put up an raffle prize for someone to appear as a guest on his new radio show. The event started at around 8 p.m. – we all bought £3k in chips for £500. I sat down next to Mick Fitzgerald – I’ve known Mick for a long time and it was good to have a familiar face at the table. He’s been unwell for a long time and has been unable to eat – I think he’s largely sorted now and he didn’t look too bad. I had a good session – when we broke for dinner my stack was up to around £27k. I felt pretty good at this point, but there was then an announcement that all players could buy another £10k of chips for £500 – I didn’t bother, but I went from being a massive chip leader at the table to just a nice stack.

Over dinner I chatted with Clare Balding and her partner Alice. Clare enquired about Winker and asked how I was getting on with my breeding operation. I told her I was fascinated by breeding and had spent a lot of time studying genetics, in particular the effects of in-breeding and the X and Y chromosomes. I explained that the Y chromosome has only 78 genes compared to 2000 for the X, and I was just going into the wider breeding implications of this when Clare looked at her watch and said she had to rush off. Fortunately Alice was still there to hear out the end of the story.

Back at the table they had a few celeb interviews and a quick auction – I had donated a leg in Marine Boy for the season, and it went for £5500. Play restarted and having had an active first session I decided to play very selectively – it didn’t turn out that way though.

After a few hands I picked up 8-5 offsuit as big blind – no-one raised so I got to see the flop. It came down J-6-4 of diamonds – again it was passed round, although I picked up on one player reaching for his chips and the pulling back. The turn was the C7 and I had my straight. I slow played it with a medium bet and was called three times. The Ace of spades then made up the table, which felt like big news – maybe I could pull a decent fish. I checked and it went round to the guy who had hesitated. He made a big bet – I went all in and he called. He had a flush – he had sat on it since the flop. I figured it was just one of those hands, but I had sensed earlier that he was sitting on something and I didn’t act on it. Maybe that’s one of the differences between me and a good player – we have the same senses but he acts on them and I don’t.

A few hands later the blinds went up and the short stacks started going all in. The guy on my left crashed out and was replaced by Teddy Sheringham. I picked up A-J and called – the flop came J-10-4. One of the short stacks went all in and I called. He had nothing – the turn and river came 7 and 5. He stood up and stretched out his hand and the dealer pushed the chips over to me – I pointed out to them that he had hit a flush. It was all downhill from there – I went all in on a pair of eights a few hands later and was called by a pair of tens. I finished 36th out of 84. I had a chat with Sheringham and some of the Betfair boys and left soon after – Jeremy Wray came second and also won the Terry Wogan raffle prize.

On Thursday I went to Newmarket to look at a few horses in the February sale – I didn’t find anything I liked. I popped in on PCH on the way out. Morana was well, and if I had to pick another it would be my unraced Pivotal 3yo – I had called her Valley Aunt but I am changing the name to Swivel. My first Japanese filly had arrived at Manor House – I called Tom for an update. She is forward but not as forward as some at the yard.

Late Thursday night Baldovina had her second foal, by Red Clubs. There were problems – she was badly knuckled over on both back legs. This will hopefully rectify itself but it might not – fingers crossed.