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Late Night Poker

By Bernie 'Cincinnati' Bostik

Before you had all the razzmatazz that now follows the many Poker tournaments that bleed from our screens on a multitudes of channels on late night telly, you only had the original and still the best 'Late Night Poker' on channel four for all us night owls out there. These days I flick from one channel to the other on my late night surfs, not paying much attention when a poker tournament comes into view. But back in the day you could bet your bottom dollar if I bumped into a 'Late Night Poker' foray on channel four I was with it till the end.

This is were I got my education off the likes of Barney Boatman, Ross Boatman (their kid who used to be in London's Burning) and Joe 'The Elegance' Beevers , that collective went by the monicker of the Hendon Mob. Others were; Simon 'Aces' Trumper - with his ever changing hairstyles, 'Mad' Marty Wilson- with his laugh, Surinder Sunar- with his twitch, Korosh Nejad - the nasty Iranian and Jak Arama - who gave it his own brand of 'razzmatazz' with his collection of colourful wigs/ zany glasses/ weird hats. These chaps had played together for years in dark smoky rooms playing for bundles of cash around the poker circuit. They then got their chance to perform infront of the cameras. One niggle I did have with it, was the way they turned the volume down when they players were having some banter across the table. Jesse May the commentator did his best to tell you what would be going on between the players but you wanted to be in on the joke making its way across the table usually at Korosh's expense.

The use of hidden cameras showing peoples 'hole cards' was their invention, one which the Yanks have copied and run with - like only the Yanks can - in their big money earner the WSOP. Displayed on the screen these days is everything from how much a player has in his stack, to what % he has of wining a hand pre-flop, after the flop, on the turn and finally on the river. LNP would tantalise you with only revealing selected cards and in the later series (5 I think) - when Barney Boatman jumped on the commentary team - did it  play out like a drama at times. Barney would be telling you what people were holding just from their movements and bet sizes, he was immense and very rarely wrong. At times I would find myself shouting for joy on the merits of Dave 'The Devilfish' Ulliot (a pawn shop owner from Hull) as he went all in on a 3, 4 unsuited,  the blonde would just huff and puff then roll over and try to get some shut-eye.

I knew nothing about the game before and I learnt everything about the game from watching the programme. By watching the first series I got the general gist of the game by the 3rd and 4th I was hooked and I could tell you that if Liam 'The Gentleman' Flood was holding a 10,J unsuited & the flop was showing 2D,8C,9S,4H he was on an up & down straight draw and there was 8 'out cards giving him about a 17% chance of hitting an'out'card. While your busy working out them odds though, there is also other things to take on board and study; the pot odds, the bet odds, your own stack, the pot , your opponents reactions, the size of your opponents bets, the size of his stack, when did he bet? (Did he check - bet? or did he bet pre-flop?) then weigh it all and make a bet that justify' such odds. Of course there is loads of other things to take into account, but I'm a mere novice compared to some of the poker sharks out there.

While holiday-ing one time up in Perthshire I stumbled upon a Texas Hold'em set (cards, green table cloth, poker chips) in the most strangest of places, it was in one of those very quaint Scottish shops selling tweed jackets, cashmere jumpers and walking sticks. I introduced the set to a few friends one time, trying to get a game off the ground but this is were I learnt rule number one never ever play with friends for money. They were new to the game and sometimes the rules got diverted a few times by he who shouts loudest. "Did I fuck say I was folding" after seeing his appointments cards and realising his own cards were good enough to win and other such stunts. Even when they got the basic idea of the game you would still get some plant-pot who would go all-in every fucking bet!

I play on-line sometimes but I'm not a big fan. How can you play with people when you can't see them, you can't talk to them face to face and the only thing you know about them is that they go by the daft monickers of ??~LoNelyHearT~?? or diamond_geezer. I've been to a few casinos to have a game and I have enjoyed my single malt swigging time at the tables but what I dislike about casinos is after spending a few hours winning some money I'm still quite susceptible to throwing it all on red as I pass the roulette table on the way to cash in.

They done a Late Night Poker Masters a couple of years ago bringing back some of the old faces but it just wasn't the same. I get my TV poker fix these days from the one on Channel5 (The Poker Den: The Big Game II). This one has a slightly different format, this isn't your usual tournament poker that you see, this is a 24hr long no-limit cash game (edited down to a few 1 hour shows)  with the players using there own money. I love watching them go on tilt as they go and collect another 20 grand off "Mad' Marty the banker sat off at his desk where he keeps an eye on proceedings. Sometimes his refereeing skills are pushed to the edge as the shysters in the mob try every trick in the book (I know how difficult this can be when trying to 'referee' some of my own games). This is a more informal game and the volume of the players is left on high and its a real pleasure to catch the pure patter going on around the table.

Get on it Channel5 after midnightish on a Wednesday.

http://www.five.tv/poker/default.htm  (click on 'the show', then click on 'the tournament')



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