Wednesday, January 20, 2010


First off, let me say that I do not seek to speak for Lloyd or anyone else and that my opinions are those of a concerned poster only.

As all the Admins, and anyone who has read the Help Desk thread, will be aware the former moderator of American Football, Poker and Soccer LuckyLloyd has been demodded.

I have no intention of getting into the incident that lead to the beginning of the confrontation but I do have a few questions and I chose Feedback rather than Help Desk to post them because I have a feeling that others may wish to weigh in on this issue.

Issue 1: The Initial Response

So far as I understand it, and I am open to correction here, the chain of command within goes "Mod ---> CMod --->Admin". In the present case their was no intervention or interaction whatsoever, so far as I can see, between Lloyd and the CMods for Sports, namely Uberwolf and Sparks.

This gives rise to 3 questions:

Why was this?
Is it normal for an Admin to directly intervene in the moderation of any forum?
If the answer to the 2nd question is no then why was it done in this instance?

Issue 2: The PM Exchange

The first 3 PM's between Lloyd and Beruthiel (which can be seen on the Help Desk thread in Posts No. 4& 5 paint a rather unusual picture in my mind. Beruthiel's initial PM seems rather unusual. Instead of simply clarifying with Lloyd whether his post was appropriate or not, she simply went down the formal route and scolded him. Lloyd's modding record in Soccer, and indeed across his formerly moderated forums, is exemplary. One poster who has been here since 2006 saw fit to start a threadjust to thank him for the way he moderates it.

Given that, it seems unusual that such an immediately formal and certainly negative stance was taken to how he went about his moderation of soccer. Also, it would be well known to Beruthiel that, following earlier incidents, herself and Lloyd would not be on the best of terms. It would seem to be extremely poor management on the part of the Admins to place one of their number in such a position as to have to reprimand someone with whom she had previously had serious run-in's. If it was done solely within the powers of Beruthiel then it was simply a shocking lack of judgment on her part.

In Beruthiel's initial PM she reminds Lloyd that moderators are expected to post to a higher standard than the average poster. If this is the case then surely this responsibility confers upon the bearer a corresponding right; that is the right to be given a reasonable degree of respect and latitude when dealing with matters with which they have been entrusted and for the Admins to respect them enough to discuss any matters they feel are unsatisfactory with the Mod in question without the normal strictures of the disciplinary procedure for regular posters? The second of these 2 rights I would submit is necessary to reflect the complex differences in how different forums are run. It is not reasonable to ask an Admin to understand the needs of every forum and every user and the Mods are charged with this task.

Regardless, this issue poses 3 questions also:

1. Why was an immediate reprimand necessary?
2. Was the issue discussed among the Admins and, if not, why not?
3. If it was decided among the Admins, what was the rationale for it?

Issue 3: The Immediate DeModding

There is a danger here of re-hashing old ground and it is something I wish to avoid so, for the purposes of brevity, I shall be blunt. Certain former moderators, despite massive User dis-satisfaction, were consistently and, in many if not most cases, rightly defended by the Admins on this site in the manner in which they moderated their forums.

This reflected the general stance, which I appreciate is often maligned, that the Admins appreciate the fantastic work that Mods do for free and will defend them from attack, even in instances where that attack may be justified. This is not to say that the Admins are, or were, deaf to the complaints of Users, but it is reasonable to assume that they were also aware that the Moderators provide hundreds of thousands of free man-hours of work for this site that goes some large way to its success.

With that in mind I ask my final, and most vital, question:

Why is it that Lloyd was so rapidly and completely turned on by the Admins of

I have a mind to an answer but I hope beyond hope that it is not true. Lloyd has been truly a model Moderator, poster and contributor to this site. He has over 10k posts and I would wager he has more top quality posts on this site than any other poster.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Law Society Constitution: For those who asked for it

The following is the Constitution of the Law Society. I am still working on the section to remove officers. Once I get that finished I'll have hard copies for anyone who wants one. This is the version which was approved by the Committee and which we are currently working under. Submit any suggestions you like by comment either here or on my Bebo page and I'll get to them soon as I can.

Provisional Constitution for the Portobello Law Society

Revised Edition

NOTE: This is the final draft submitted to the 3 person Committee for review as of the 5/2/09.

Article 1:

This society shall be known as the “Law Society”


Article 2:

The society’s membership shall be open to all persons enrolled in academic legal courses in Portobello/DBS.


Article 3:

The society shall be administered by no more than 8 and no less than 5 elected officials who shall be collectively known as the Committee.


Election of Officers:


Article 4:

Election of officers shall take place by secret ballot each academic year.


Article 5:

Every member of the society shall have one vote and the returning officer shall be a person appointed by the outgoing Committee.


(i)                 The Returning Officer may not be a member of the Committee.

(ii)               The Returning Officer may not be a candidate for any position in the election.

(iii)             The Committee may, if it so wishes, appoint a member of the Law Faculty

to be the Returning Officer.

(iv)             If a suitable Returning Officer cannot be found then the outgoing President shall ex officio assume the roll of Returning Officer after the assent of a two-thirds majority of all the candidates standing for election.


Article 6:

Candidates for election must submit their name to the Committee in writing no less than 10 and no more than 3 college days before the election.


Article 7:

Candidates may nominate themselves but must be seconded by another member.


Article 8:

The Committee shall publish a list of the names put forward for candidacy within 2 days of the close of nominations.


Article 9:

The Committee must advertise the opening of nominations and the date of the election no less than 14 college days prior to the election being held.




Article 10:

The election process must adhere to the following:

(i)                 Should the Committee choose to allow a day long polling a meeting must be convened where each of the candidates may address the members.

(ii)               All candidates must be given the opportunity to address the members and must be given equal time to make their address.


Article 11:

In the event of a tie between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes the Student Services Officer of DBS shall, as a neutral arbiter, have the casting vote.


Article 12:

Should any officer, other than the President, resign their office during the term of a Committee a special election shall be held under the same terms as a general election no more than 21 days from the officer’s resignation.


Article 13:

No Officer may stand for any position in a special election.


Article 14:

Should the President resign the Vice-President shall assume that office on a permanent basis and an election shall be held to elect a new Vice-President.


Article 15:

No officer may be a Committee member for more than 2 years.


Article 16:

No officer may hold the same office twice. The Vice President shall not be bound by this Article where they have become President by virtue of Article 12.


Membership of the Committee:


Article 17:

The Committee must consist of the following officers:

(i)                 President

(ii)               Vice President

(iii)             Treasurer

(iv)             Secretary

(v)               Public Relations Officer


Article 18:

The President shall be ex officio chair of all Committee meetings, sub-committee meetings and Annual General Meetings unless otherwise provided for within this Constitution. In the event that the President is unable to attend a Committee meeting for any reason the Vice-President shall assume all the normal functions of the President in their absence.

Article 19:

The President may establish sub-committees to report to the Committee.

(i)                 The sub-committees shall have specific terms of reference which must be agreed upon by the Committee.

(ii)               The President shall be ex officio chair of any sub-committee established but shall be a non-voting member of that sub-committee.

(iii)             The President may delegate the chairmanship to any other member of the Law Society. The chair of a sub-committee may not vote on the deliberations of that committee.


Article 20:

The Vice-President shall assume the responsibilities of the President in their absence. In the event that any member of the Committee resigns the Vice-President shall assume their responsibilities until such time as a replacement has been elected.


Article 21:

The Treasurer shall be the Chief Financial Officer of the Law Society.

(i)                 The Treasurer shall produce a detailed state of accounts at the end of each

academic year and present them to the Committee.

(ii)               The Treasurer shall furnish the Committee with a brief report on the financial situation of the Law Society within 7 days of a request being made by any member of the Committee for the Treasurer to do so.

(iii)             Any member of the society shall, upon production of a petition signed by no less than 10 other members of the society, be furnished by the Treasurer with a brief report of the society’s financial situation.

(iv)             No funds may be withdrawn for any purpose without the consent of the majority of the Committee.


Article 22:

The Secretary shall be primarily responsible for compiling the minutes of each meeting.


(i)                 The Secretary shall commend these minutes to the Committee for their approval at the beginning of each Committee meeting.

(ii)               The Secretary shall compile the agenda for each meeting on recommendation of the President and Vice-President and shall, as far as practicalities allow, circulate the agenda to the Committee at least 1 day in advance of the Committee meeting.

(iii)             The Secretary shall provide the Committee with a record of all the activities of the Law Society for their term at the final meeting before the election of new officers.

(iv)             In the event that the President steps down the Secretary shall assume the position of Vice-President until such time as a replacement can be found. During this time the Secretary shall continue to perform their duties as outlined herein.



Article 23:

The Public Relations Officer shall be responsible for co-ordinating communications between the Committee and the members.


(i)                 The Public Relations Officer shall liaise with all of the Class Representatives representing the Law Society’s members at least once per month.

(ii)               The Public Relations Officer shall establish a sub-committee of the Committee to be referred to as the Ents Team.

(iii)             The Public Relations Officer shall be ex officio head of the Ents Team.

(iv)             Should the Public Relations Officer or any other officer nominate another member as head of the Ents Team then the Committee shall vote upon the matter.

(v)               The Ents Team may independently petition the Treasurer for funding.

(vi)             The Ents Team may not request funding from businesses without the express permission of the Committee.


Article 24:

Should any officer fail to perform their duties and responsibilities as outlined within this Constitution, or should a qualified majority of the Committee vote upon a motion laid before it that a named officer has failed in their duties other than those outlined herein, the following actions shall be taken in pursuance of their removal:

(a)        The Committee, whether the removal has been instigated for dereliction of Constitutional or other duties, shall take a vote to determine if a motion should be placed before the Society to remove the named officer.

(b)        Should such a motion be passed by qualified majority; at the first public meeting of the Society, after the Committees has voted, a notice shall be given that removal proceedings have begun against the named officer.

(c)        That notice shall be issued in the following terms:

            “The Committee wishes to inform all the members that (named officer) has been determined by the Committee to be in dereliction of his/her duties pursuant to Article (insert appropriate Article number).”

(d)               The Committee must follow this by informing the members that at the

next meeting a vote will be taken on a motion which shall read as follows:

“This Society hereby removes (named officer) from his position dereliction of his duties as follows [here a list of the incidents shall be put forth]”

(e)                An officer of the Committee, nominated by the other officers, shall put

forth the position of the Committee.

(f)                The named officer may nominate another member of the Society to speak

on their behalf or may choose to speak for themselves.

(g)               Both persons shall have an equal amount of time to put forth their points

being no more than 15 and no less than 5 minutes

(h)               A period of 10 minutes shall be allocated for any member of the society to

ask questions of the Committee or the named officer but no person may make a personal statement other than the nominated speakers.

(i)                 A vote shall be taken amongst all the members present as to whether the

motion shall be carried. A simple majority shall be required. No member of the Committee may vote in this.



Annual General Meetings:


Article 25:

The Law Society shall have two mandatory general meetings, one in each of the two academic semesters.


Article 26:

Both meetings shall be advertised for at least 10 days before the meeting takes place.


Article 27:

The Annual General Meeting is open to be attended by any and all members of the Law Society.


Article 28:

Officers shall each be required to submit a report to the members at the Annual General Meetings of the activities of their office over the term and may be questioned on their report by any member of the society.


Amendment of the Constitution:


Article 29:

No provision of this Constitution may be amended save by a simple majority of the members of the Law Society through a referendum.


Article 30:

The referendum shall be conducted by secret ballot.


Article 31:

Every member of the society shall have one vote and the returning officer shall be a person appointed by the Committee.


(i)         The Returning Officer may not be a member of the Committee.

(ii)               The Committee may, if it so wishes, appoint a member of the Law Faculty

to be the Returning Officer.


Article 32:

The Committee shall produce copies of the proposed amendment and make them available via the Class Representatives to all members of the society.




Article 33:

Notice of the referendum shall be posted no less than 10 days before the referendum is held.


Article 34:

A meeting to discuss the amendment with the members of the society shall be convened no more than 3 days prior to the referendum.


Article 35:

Amendments to the Constitution shall come into effect immediately upon the Returning Officer announcing the results.




Article 36:

Upon production of a petition signed by no less than 100 other members any member may compel the Committee to call an extraordinary general meeting to vote on a motion to disestablish the society.


Article 37:

A quorum of two-thirds of the total membership must be in attendance at the meeting in order for a vote to be called. If a quorum is present then a vote on the motion of disestablishment must be called by the Committee.


Article 38:

The motion to disestablish shall require a simple majority of the members present to be carried.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Christ I've been lazy

Well, the exams are over and here I am, back enjoying the beauty of doing nothing.

I haven't honestly been playing that much poker lately. I am kind of glad about that. The most interesting thing that has happened to me in poker terms lately has to be the incident at the Jackpot Cash League.

I edited this blog to satisfy Mellor. One other hand of embarrassing note occurred in the Omaha round.

I called a raise in MP with 10d-9c-8c-7d and 4 others called. Flop was 6d-9d-8h. It is checked to me and I pot it. Steven Chambers calls as does the SB. Turn is 10c. Checked to me again and I pot away. Steven and SB call again and I am sure one of them has a set and the other the NFD. River is the 8d and I am sick a little inside as both of them have obv hit their draws. The SB checks and I check and Steven checks and in disgust I lift my hand as the SB declares house and I see...A STRAIGHT FLUSH!!!!!! AHHHH!!!! Steven shows his nut flush and I feel like dying as I gave up on absolutely bucket loads of value. Bollocks.

The details of the even weirder hand make no real odds other than the endgame. He lead the river (which was a Jack) for 2,000. I had 2,500 remaining and the blinds were 200/400 and the pot over 10k so I said "if you have Queen-Jack here it's pretty gay" and threw in my 2,500. Steven then replies "Yeah, Queen Jack" and throws his hand face-up over the line without calling or throwing in the extra chip. A ruling was given that I had won the pot as he had folded. As the pot was pushed to me I asked Duke over and asked him would it be ok if I gave Steven the pot (thus eliminating me from the tournament) as I couldn't honestly conscience what amounted to an angle-shoot. As it happened I got knocked out and Steven went on to win the tournament (he chopped it in one of the worst deals possible for him but, to be fair, I don't think he has ever been in a situation like that before and he was surrounded by players short on chips and heavy on experience.)

On the football front Balbriggan F.C had a great end to the season winning 5 of our last 6 games. The player of the year awards are on for the club next week and it looks fairly certain Terry will be the winner. He was immense all season, clearing 8 certain goals off the line (1 with his hand though - thank God for blind refs) and he definitely deserves it.

I will make an effort to update this more often as the trials and tribulations of the summer wash over me. Glad to be back.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For a change: something a little more academic. Read on ye who dare...

A Justification of the Study of Women's History

Marc Bloch once asked “What is history?” a noble question and one which largely remains unanswered. In order to look at some form of justification for women’s history, first we must have some idea of what women’s history is and from that definition draw a clear justification for why historians should consider it an area worthy of scholarly research. Before that though we must remind ourselves clearly of what women’s history is not.

It is important to immediately distinguish between women’s history and a feminist interpretation of history. Certainly there are a lot of areas in which these two overlap but in more specific terms they are vastly different. Feminist history looks, in general, at the individual woman in history as a means to counter arguments that arise in feminist issues of the day[1], such as in a debate over women in the military a feminist might be so bold as to throw Joan of Arc into the conversation. This, however, is a biographical precedent-hunting approach to history, not a historical approach to women’s history. Similarly, while both disciplines share the need to examine the imbalance between the sexes, feminist history tends to focus on this element more than an historian would while examining women’s history. Finally, women’s history is not a biographical examination of a small number of prominent women like Elizabeth I or Joan of Arc. This practise, echoing the “Great Men” approach to history, should be shunned by the historian in favour of more modern approaches to history.

These modern approaches are how we shall define women’s history. Women’s History, in my view, deserves a far more complete approach than has been attempted in the past. Women should be placed not just as a group within society but also as a group with its own inherent class and social differences. The history of princesses and of prostitutes is somewhat different. Still the overall cultural views of women, which are alluded to in more conventional histories examining women as a small footnote to a larger issue, require re-examination by the modern historian. While official or public attitudes of men towards women are quite easy to obtain[2] the reality of the situation probably was somewhat different.[3] The historian wishing to examine women’s history should endeavour to uncover the actual social norms rather than the idealised ones. Also the economic and social impact of women should be examined, though we shall return to this in a moment as part of a justification, so that the overall picture of history (beyond a focus simply on women’s history) can be obtained. Overall women’s history is concerned with looking at the historical influence of both individual women and women as a whole in society while also looking at how society treated women. Integrating some feminist thought; women’s history also looks at how the role of women within society (be it western, Arabic etc.) has changed over the course of time.

So armed with an idea of what women’s history should be we must now consider its value as a field of historical research. When one first comes to ponder whether the history of women should be examined or not a certain fact leaps to the mind. Assuming that the history of women has been omitted completely by conventional historians[4] then the entirety of historical research up until today has only concerned itself with the activities of one half of the world’s population. By that reasoning alone it would be vital to examine the role women have played in history. However there are far more reasons than that to examine women’s place in history. Take a major historical event, for example the First World War, and look at a basic overview while omitting women. This is the historical approach taken most often when examining the war. However when we look at the role of women we get a fuller picture. The Archduke was inspecting the troops with his wife, a commoner, who was only allowed to accompany him while he was performing his military duties. The inspection that brought Ferdinand to Serbia was, in many respects, a treat for his wife[5]. Also the British economy was kept afloat during the war thanks in no small part to the sterling efforts of hundreds and thousands of women who took up the jobs that were vacated by the newly volunteered soldiers, all men of course. This contributed directly to women being given the franchise in Britain after the war and forms a vital chapter in Suffragette history. There are many other examples of how women deserve the attention of First World War historians but sufficed to say the omission of any of the above information detracts from author’s claims on a dust-cover of offering the “definitive” history of the First World War.

Women occupy a strange place in society. Though women can obviously be black or white, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim and can often occupy the position of the majority in general, they tend to be seen as some form of minority. Women have never occupied an equal position to men in the Common Era, be it in terms of pay, access to education, access to political institutions and jobs women have always been discriminated against. As an old Russian proverb goes:
“A hen is not a bird; a woman is not a person”
This convenient distinction, which appears in the thinking of numerous cultures[6] and echoes the distinction made between blacks and whites in America, allows men to speak of all people being equal without the fear of anyone pointing out that women are people too. The development of this type of thought can be traced all the way back to Genesis where Eve is blamed for the fall of man.[7] In modern western societies where sexual equality is considered to be a given it is quite arguable that while ‘society’[8] may strive to this end, many of the ideas and biases which were used to justify earlier attitudes towards women are still present. The only way that these attitudes can be combated is by a thorough sociological and historical examination into where these attitudes came from, their history and the reasoning behind them.

In order to understand the conflict in Northern Ireland you must understand its history. In order to understand the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, you must understand its history. In order to understand the position of women we must understand its history. Today one of the most pervasive battles waged on a day to day basis is the so-called “Battle of the Sexes”. In a culture still coming to terms with the huge shift in the roles of women it is vital to re-examine all of history in an effort to place women in a true historical context. The Annales school of history, so influential in the development of modern historiography, espouses an approach to history which does not just focus on the large scale historical events (French Revolution, World Wars, politics, etc.) but rather an approach which looks at history in a more complete way, taking in factors like geography (Marc Bloch’s own favourite), sociology and, recently in particular, economics. The logical extension of this is to examine the role of women in history and to see their input. Even linguistics offers us an insight into women’s part in history.[9] Studies in New York have shown that women are the vanguard of linguistic change, seeing language as a means of achieving upward social mobility while on the whole men tend to look to social cohesion by using “lower” or less well refined forms of a language[10]. When historians examine the decline of languages in former colonies such as the Irish language they can look at this research and conclude that it was probably the mothers who instigated this language shift in Ireland. Were they to omit the woman’s role in this particular instance then an incomplete version of history would be the result. History is written by the victors, as they say, and now that women are no longer the victims of a patriarchal society[11] it is high time that the history of humankind, and not mankind, be evaluated so that a more complete picture of history can be painted.


Joan Wallach Scott, Feminism and History, Oxford 1996
A.J.P Taylor, An Illustrated History of the First World War, Penguin 1999
· A History of Their Own, ed. Bonnie S. Anderson & Judith P. Zinsser, Penguin, 1988
Writing Women’s History, ed. Michelle Perrot, Blackwell, 1984
[1] Joan Wallach Scott, Feminism and History, Oxford 1996
[2] For example, comments by church officials etc.
[3] How come nobody believes JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald but everyone thinks that the dominated husband is a twentieth century invention? Also note that while in works by writers such as Shakespeare many female characters exercise massive influence over their husbands (Lady Macbeth) rarely, if ever, is this public knowledge within those works.
[4] I know this is blatantly untrue but it is a hypothetical
[5] A.J.P Taylor, An Illustrated History of the First World War, Penguin 1999
[6] A History of Their Own, ed. Bonnie S. Anderson & Judith P. Zinsser, Penguin, 1988
[7] I have always wondered why nobody pointed out that the serpent was male. She was tempted, but it was a he that did the tempting.
[8] I hate the term society as it seems to signify a cohesive group with shared moral values and goals. Society is actually made up of raving bigots and infuriating relativists and everything in between. The standards generally referred to as “social standards” are usually middle class holier-than-thou attitudes, but I digress.

[10] Labov, 1989
[11] At least a lot less than in previous times

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Jackpot €300 Game

I made a few poker New Year's Resolutions and one of them was to play in a few of the Jackpot's €300 games and probably take a crack at the SE €1000 game if I felt my game was in good shape as well as giving qualifying for the Irish Open a proper go.

Anyway, with that in mind I figured I absolutely had to play the €300 game in the Jackpot last night. The combination of the post-holidays money shortage and the IPC in Galway made for a €4,500 overlay. I came in with about 15 seconds left for new entries. Thank God I found a parking spot so quickly!

I was moved into seat 8 on table 1 of 2 tables. 16 runners in total. My table included Duke, Filipo, Big John, Marc McDonnell, Sarah and Sam Ali. While Ross was clearing his table out our table remained steadily resistant to big chip swings. Filipo and John started well, accumulating some nice stacks. I boxed clever in the early levels and kept myself at about the chip average until the last hand before the break where my K-10 held up all-in v K-J on a 10 high board.

After the break myself and Filipo had a few hands where I let him catch up with me and vice-versa when we were both sure we were trapping. I came off slightly the better from the exchange. Duke called a 4-bet pre-flop with 10-10 and cracked John's KK which John did well to calm down from. Overall our table remained fairly tight with almost nothing like a big hand to report.

Ross did make his chip lead on a sickening flop. Ross held Q-10s on the button, SB had 99 and CO had J-8. The flop was a miraculous J-9-8 and Ross manages to get the nuts all-in on the flop and it inevitably holds up for him against a set and 2 pair to give him a monster chip lead at that stage which inch by inch gets pegged back until the final table.

I draw seat 5 and am sandwiched between an excellent player on my right who's name I cannot remember and John in seat 6. About 10 hands in Troy, who came to the final table with 2,300 in chips, finally gets knocked out and deals start to be spoken of but there is no clear chip leader and with 8 left nobody wants to deal yet. Then the table goes to 7 after 2 hands that get a smile from most of the table. Sitting UTG+1 the player on my right raises to 1600 at the 300-600 blind level. I look down at AKo and re-raise to 4,500. The table folds back to him and he thinks about it for a minute and folds. Next hand he raises UTG to 1,600 and I look down at AKs. How I didn't laugh when I made it 4,5o0 is beyond me but happily Marc laughed on my behalf as did the others as the original raiser rolled his eyes back into his head. He pushed all-in for about 3000 more and I call. He says last time he had AQ, this time he has 66. Flop is K-9-2, turn is a K and river is a K to give me quads. Lovely. Now the clock is stopped momentarily as Filipo is worn down to agreeing to a deal whereby everyone gets €500 at least by taking 500 off 1st and 2nd. There is really no clear chip leader at this point and the deal benefits Filipo as he hits a nice run of cards and is paid off as the table relaxes into a far looser game than had been evident up until that point. I eventually go home after my A-J goes down in flames to Ross' AA on an Ace high board.

Still, I played pretty strong poker and was happy with my overall game. Not a bad start to the year after a lovely win in the €20 crap-shoot in the Jackpot on thursday and then a strong 5th in the €300 game. To be honest more and more I feel my tournament play is moving away from getting lucky and getting big hands v bigger hands for me towards a more steady and maintainable game. Obviously the AK twice in a row was pretty lucky but I only really made one mistake against Filipo early on and otherwise I was happy with my game.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Hand That Made Me 4%

"Raise" it all began with that word. Normally with pocket nines I like to limp but not today, a sense of destiny was compelling me to greater things. An undeniable force was driving me to become the jammy bastard who would be known as... 4Percent.

It was an unremarkable table, half a dozen drunks punctuated the more regular semi-sober players around the table. Sat to my immediate left a young pretender like myself discussed with me the benefits of raising pre-flop, that stuck with me. I am third after the big blind and I look down at the nine of hearts and the nine of spades. I raise. I have a good image at this table, tight and aggressive. I have just got my first bluff caught in a pretty cheap spot. The cut-off looks at his cards and immediately looks at me. He has a hand. He just calls my raise. Now it's just the two of us...

The flop is a lovely one for me; 6 of spades, 4 of hearts and 2 of clubs. I check, something's not right. The other guy checks behind. The turn is the 2 of spades. I bet out for the pot. He min-raises me. I decide I am good and shove it all-in. I was so so wrong. He snap calls with the King of hearts and the King of diamonds. The river comes.

It's a nine.

All hell breaks loose as a chorus of "bad beat" and "hard luck" are met with expletives worthy of any good pirate ship. The young pretender turns to me and asks "What were your odds on the turn?" I turn and smile at him and say, as a new nickname is born:

"Oh, about 4Percent..."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12 Days of Poker Christmas

OK, I actually wrote a full 12 days of christmas poker-spoof (A new club from Luke Ivory for the partridge) but it got SO unwieldy by around 10 Fish a leaping I decided against it. Instead I will give you a list, yes another bloody list, of the 10 things I have enjoyed the most over the last year in Dublin, Poker and the rest.

10. Hearing the National Anthem in Croke Park before Ireland v England rugby--- One of the most amazingly hair-standing-on-the-neck moments of the year. I defy anyone to try and argue about "pointless nationalism" or anything else. Nothing wrong with a bit of pride in your nation.

9.Dublin Winning their 3rd Leinster Title in a row and the Emergence of Bernard Brogan Jnr. --- As a lifelong Dub nut this was always gonna make my top 12. Bernard's goal against Laois was probably my happiest sporting moment ever, coming as it did so close after the previous Vaughan goal, it was transcendant in its ability to remove me from a corporeal form and simple ecstacy washed over me as the emotion in Hill16 carried me to a zenith of delerium. Perfect.

8. Having My Old Charity win the UCC Soc of the Year Award --- When in UCC I founded the Children's Aid Society. We began as a group to help subsidise creche fees for single mothers who couldn't get into the free college creche but, over the years since I have left, a number of excellent Auditors have continued to grow the society (we had the auspicious honour of hosting the very first 90's Disco in Ireland, it was a massive success) beyond its original scope and to create links with Ed Jordan's Belorussian Orphanages Project (BOP) and the Jack and Jill Foundation. I still give money to this group every year and I couldn't be more proud of them.

7. Seeing My First Group of Cubs Go Up To Scouts --- I have been a Cub Leader for the last 3 years and though every year a group of cubs go up to Scouts this is the first year that a group that I have been with from the day they came up from Beavers moved on to the Scouts. I know a lot of the guys give me stick for being a Cub leader but watching these kids grow up and helping them to do it and be better people is incredibly rewarding. This summer, on pack holiday, I arrived late and when I came into the mess hall the kids all cheered and ran up to me. I don't care who you are, that is about as validating as it comes.

6. Getting to see Paisley and McGuinness working together. --- When I was in Cork, in a place called Kilcully outside the northern side of the city, on a Scout camp about 10 years ago I was sitting with some friends when one of the camp wardens ran up to us and took Michael away quickly and in somewhat of a panic. His brother was killed and his mother seriously disfugured by a bomb blast that day. The bomb was in Omagh. To see that over, to live to see P O'Neill retire and peace come at last to a land riven by a hatred beyond understanding is truly the work of angels. If nothing else Blair and Ahern deserve our gratitude for that.

5.Going to Paris for the First time and Finding the Fields of Athenry--- Never been in Paris before. I went over for the Ireland v France rugby match in the World Cup and I was amazed. It is truly an astonishing city. Nobody needs to hear about the world famous tourist spots other than to say 2 things. Firstly; I saw the saddest man in the world on the Metro near George V. Genuinely had a face like a sad mime
:( honestly it was that bad a frown. Hilarious, though emotive. Secondly, French security guards are riotously funny, though the police are just riotous. While in the Louvre in my Ireland rugby jersey (day of the game and all) I wandered into the Mona Lisa room. I was met with an almost immediate chorus of "Allez les Bleus" from the numerous security guards. The police however all carry firearms and scared the shit out of me. Go figure.

4. Seeing Napoleon's Tomb: I just have three words for you: Wow, wow and double-wow. If you've never seen it, see it. If you have seen it, you already understand.

3. Going to the Stade de Paris--- To complete my Parisian trilogy of activities this year I am including seeing the Irish game at the Stade de Paris. Crap game but an amazing atmosphere and the French deserve to be proud of Les Marsellaise. What an anthem...

2.Jonathan Getting Engaged --- Congrats Jonathan, you and Ev are absolutely made for each other (I helped introduce them) Can't wait for the wedding.

1. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? To be honest, the thing I have enjoyed the most this year is getting to meet and become friends with every new person in my life this year. I can feel all you poker heads rolling your eyes but its true. The best things in life aren't the places you go or the things you achieve or material objects you have accumulated but the people that you share each of those things with. The singing in the Louvre wasn't great on its own, it was being able to laugh about it with the guys I met doing it and with the people I went with. Watching Dublin win a 3rd Leinster title was only truly sweet because of the group of friends I've watched every Dublin game with for the last 10 years and the crowd of similarly emotional Dubs who shared that moment with me. So, the best thing about this year is all the new people I can call friend, and all the old friends I got to share this year with. Thank you all.