The Tale of the Two Safes
When I was at Foxwoods, rooms were at a premium, so I ended up sharing a room with top Irish tournament player Don Fagan, known as Anthony in his final-table heroics last year in Aruba. Shortly after we arrived in the room, we decided to make use of the safe provided. I placed my money and passport in the safe, as did Don, and then, as Don was the guest, I allowed him to pick our code. Don decided on 2020, which is a bit of a joke because he’s blind as a bat. He then decided that maybe we should take the money out and first have a practice go at locking and then reopening the safe, just in case. I mentally made a note to try to back Don to get to the second day of the big tournament whilst telling him, “Just go ahead and gamble, for god sakes.” He tried to, but eventually he cracked. Don took out all the contents of the safe and went through the practice routine, which worked like a dream. He then put our money back into the safe and repeated the operation. There’s a bit of a poker lesson in this, in that sometimes you can get from point A to point B without taking any risks at all. Others might have adopted a gung-ho attitude and taken a senseless risk to get to the exact same spot with no added upside.
By the way, 48 hours later, Don was being followed around the table games at the casino by an adoring audience who were hugely impressed with his total fearlessness while gambling at the tables. It’s amazing how a guy can go from making such a tight play at the safe to a loose play at the tables, with the help of about 10 pints of Foxwoods’ finest beer. There’s a moral in this, too, but I don’t want to get into it.
Safe story number two: The Merrion Club in Ireland has become known for its hospitality when the tournament circus is in town. A well-known Paris-based Irish professional poker player, who wishes to remain anonymous so we shall refer to him as Player C, had partaken of a few of the club’s finest refreshments before retiring to the Hilton. He had quite a bit of money in his possession, so he decided to place a major portion of it in the safe provided. He didn’t play as tight a game as Don Fagan, and managed to get the operation completed without a practice go, but he was long enough in the tooth to realize that his memory might be a little hazy the next day. So, he very cleverly wrote the safe’s code on a piece of paper. The next day, he attended the finals of the EPT tournament in the Royal Dublin Society, but took refuge in the Merrion Club when they shut the bar in the RDS. He was having such a good time there that he almost forgot that he had a flight to Paris at 9 in the morning, but at the last moment, he managed to go to his hotel, grab his suitcase, check out, and get a taxi to the airport. Whilst in the taxi, he remembered that not only had he left his money in a safe at the Hilton, he’d also left the four-digit code on a piece of paper on top of the safe. For a guy who went to Dublin with the intention of playing a tight game, this could be considered gambling. Anyway, no harm was done. He went back to his hotel and thankfully retrieved the money before having to test the honesty of the next guest in the room. I can’t think of a poker moral for this story, I just put it in for the hell of it.
Waitress to the Rescue
The first night that I stayed at Foxwoods, I was awakened at 5 in the morning by my roommate Don Fagan, who was preparing to get into action in the poker room. He said his mission was to play a bit of no-limit hold’em with guys who had been playing all night and had been losing. It seemed like quite a good plan to me, although I did point out to him that he’d look better prepared for the job if he didn’t shave. He agreed, but blamed jet lag for this slipup. Anyway, he woke me again about four hours later and proceeded in roars of laughter to tell me what had occurred downstairs.
Don had found a $5-$5 no-limit game in which the guys had been playing for hours on end, and it was mostly tired losers remaining. The guy on Don’s right kept falling asleep every now and again, but when he woke up, he was pretty game. Anyway, in one of his lucid moments, this guy made it $50 to see the flop. Don, who had $800 in front of him and a pair of fours, was pretty sure the guy had a big pair, but figured he could bust him if he flopped a 4. So, Don called, as did two other guys. The dealer turned over the flop, 9-4-2 rainbow, which Don absolutely loved. It was impossible to determine what the preflop raiser thought of the flop, because he’d fallen asleep. The first guy checked, and then whispered to the dealer that after he had acted, the rules did not allow her to wake up the sleeper. The sleeper had 30 seconds to wake up or the dealer should take away his cards. The Situs Poker Online Pkv Games dealer agreed that this was a correct interpretation of the rules.
This panicked Don completely. He wasn’t too concerned about the ethics involved in giving the sleeper a nudge to wake him up, but he correctly assumed that this might give away his hand to the others involved in the pot and perhaps even the sleeper. So, Plan B came into play. Don shouted, “Cocktails!” at the top of his voice, which was loud enough to wake up not only the sleeper, but anybody in the top 12 floors of the hotel. The artist formerly known as the sleeper absolutely loved the flop, as he held pocket queens. He sat bolt upright in his chair and bet $500. Don moved all in. The other two guys passed, but the sleeper was quite happy to call. Nothing changed, and Don won a very large pot. As he was raking it in, the cocktail waitress arrived and asked Don what he wanted. He gave her a $5 tip and told her to give him anything she liked.
Good tournament players like Don, while operating on a plan, are also alert enough at all stages to see where improvisation might be required, and act accordingly. In this case, the quick thinking was paid off by Don winning a big pot rather than a small pot.