Wednesday, October 17, 2007


During the World Series of Poker Europe, I recall one surreal moment when a line of celebrated poker authors crossed my path as I sat perched at my laptop. Grouping together on the balcony, it was as if they'd momentarily found common ground and formed their own little book club for them to discuss how they made their name in the industry armed with nothing but a pen.

First up, was Des Wilson, who was striking fear into my heart by telling me that the first chapter of his 300 plus page book that I had just started reading was the best chapter - he, in my humble opinion, was thankfully wrong and the rest of my read wasn't the downhill slide that I'd been threatened with.

Behind him, was a hunched Al Alvarez, the much loved-author of 'The Biggest Game In Town', but showing his age at 78 as he hobbled before me. A great man, according to my flat mate and not easy-to-please colleague, Jen Mason.

Then, beyond them was... er, hold on, who the eck is he?

"This is Michael Craig," claims Des as he attempts to introduce me to the third man.

At this point, there is an awkward silence. Before me stands a foreboding figure with a menacing stare. He is middle-aged, plump and balding; in fact, he looks like every other poker player I've ever met, and perhaps that's the problem. I recognise the name, but not the face, and as I try desperately to work out why the words Michael and Craig are familiar, Des and Michael await my response with somewhat baited breath.

"Er... hi ya, how's it going?" is the best I can muster as I continue to rack my brains.

Suddenly, a light bulb glistens in the labyrinth of my convoluted mind. "Hey, didn't he write something?" I ask myself. "Wasn't it that book about the banker, and the er... something or other?"

"You wrote er..." I hesitate embarrassingly.

If memory serves me correct, Des added "The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King" segment of my incomplete question with a certain sense of suprise for my ignorance. Meanwhile, Michael's flabber is a little gasted and I can detect the words "How can you not know who I am?" dying to spurt from his lips.

In truth, as a journalist, I ought to know who our third man is, but I must confess to never touching his book. In fact, I'm not a big reader, and if I do delve into the world of poker literature, it tends to be within the realms of strategy as I look to improve my own game.

As it became clear that I wasn't particularly accustomed to the name Michael Craig and that I hadn't set eyes on his widely purchased creation, our limited 'Hi, how's it going?, "Fine, you?" dialogue soon ended and I tip-toed red-faced back to my computer.

What is most outrageous about this rather unfulfilling anecdote, however, is not that I didn't know who our dear Mr Craig was, but that he didn't have the foggiest who I was. Quite remarkable! I'm like bigger than the Queen these days.


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