At Dusk Till Dawn last weekend, we tried something new & held a Student Poker Tournament.  

168 players from educational establishments across the country, including Bournemouth, Newcastle, Manchester, Coventry, Birmingham & Leicester – plus some from Nottingham of course. A great success, both from an attendance perspective, & also the friendly atmosphere that the tournament generated – hopefully all will be back for our Student Weekender, 25th to 28th January. 

We ran a live stream for this event , (watch it here, & during the commentary we got talking about how people did not always say what they meant. The example up for discussion was when a friend stops you in the street & asks you where you are going on holiday this year. What they are actually saying is ‘ I’ve just booked a holiday, let me tell you about it’. 

That got me thinking about situations at Dusk Till Dawn, where people may be using a similar trick. 

For instance, at the poker table, I have heard a player in the middle of a hand, when facing a bet, say to their opponent ‘have you got Ace-King’, or ‘have you got pocket Tens’.  

There are two frequent scenarios in this situation 

  • The player asking the question actually has the hand that they are suggesting you have got. Usually happens when they are facing a bet or raise, make that little speech, & then they jam all in. 
  • The player has a hand, one better than they are hoping that you have. Often occurs when they are deciding whether to call a bet or not, & are desperately trying to put you on a hand they beat – ‘have you got tens?’, means they have got Jacks. 

Away from the poker table, I overheard a discussion where a lady was telling a male player about her holiday, & he said ‘did you go with your boyfriend?’. He may as well have said, ‘Have you got a boyfriend?’, as that was clearly his intention. Well his initial intention. I don’t believe his further plan was fully realised, when he got an immediate ‘Yes’. 

As any experienced player will tell you, one of the most important skills required in a poker environment, is to recognise when a bad beat story is incoming, & to try to take evasive action. 

Some are novice attempts, & easy to spot. If someone walks up to you and starts ‘You will never believe what just happened….’, you know exactly what is coming, and, yes, you do believe the pocket tens have beaten pocket Aces, all in pre flop! 

The more skilled exponent may begin with a sly, ‘how’s your tournament going’. Don’t be fooled, they are trying to lull you in, before given you the full rundown of how they lost 200 Big Blinds in three hands, to someone that doesn’t yet know the hand rankings. 

Some players have got wise, & side track you completely to begin – ‘I’ve been sat with someone who knows you’. Just as you settle in for a nice conversation about your college days, they let rip with the detailed account of how this mutual acquaintance made the most horrendous call, to knock them out of the tournament. 

It’s tough to escape though. I’ve resigned myself to a ‘if you can’t beat them…’ approach. At the slightest whiff of being faced with another standard hand being recounted to me as a one-in-a-million event, I whip out my phone, start scrolling away & announce ‘I’ve noted down every hand I’ve played in the tournament so far. Can I just get your opinion….’.  

Funnily enough, that’s as far as I’ve ever got.  


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