Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Of mice and morphine

“You sound like a hater right now, dude”

After another immensely enjoyable Unibet players party, Lappin and I unexpectedly staggered out of the night club with a little too much alcohol in our system. We didn’t know it at the time but he also had a little too much calcium in his system. More on that later.

(This and all the other good photos in this blog courtesy of Tambet Kask and Lenka. All the crap ones are mine)

As we left our fellow poker ambassador Monica asked if we’d walk one of the influencers back to the hotel. As we walked, the lady in question tried to make polite conversation suggesting that some actual celebrities had been at the party. It’s always risky to bring up the nature of celebrity today with Lappin, and before she knew it he was trying to get her to question her life and values and casting doubt on the whole influencer profession. To her credit she stood her ground and defended her profession gamely, before pointing out that he sounded like a hater.

As she pointedly thanked me (I hadn’t said a word: I was far too drunk to get involved in debate) and not Lappin for walking her back, I glanced over and saw Lappin giggling uncontrollably. He’s not a man of simple pleasures, but he knows where to find them nevertheless.

Tractors and other Parisian traditions

I landed in Paris as my fellow ambassadors were stuck behind tractors on their way to the tag team event. I did join a few of them for content day the following morning, which consisted of walking around some of the sights. We went up on the Arc de Triomphe before retiring to a cafe for the traditional Parisian pleasures of pastries and watching Espen flirt with the waitress.

The highlight of the day for me came at a tour of the Paris Saint Germain football stadium, Parc des Princes. I’d been there once before, not for a football match, but a Bowie concert in the mid 90s. The tour is well worth doing: they bring you in the way the players enter the stadium, through the away dressing room and showers and out onto the pitch itself.

The welcome drinks that evening were also there.

And then poker

I left early to get a good night’s sleep before the main event. My first bullet was a pretty miserable affair as I busted just after the second break, but my second one was a lot more memorable. Not only did I find a bag, but also the most famous person in the room to my immediate left, with Monica to his left.

“So I had this spot in a satellite...”
“Just buy the book already you cheap bastard”

It’s fair to say Patrik wasn’t exactly taking it fully seriously, with some non GTO approved plays like raise calling a shove blind under the gun, raise calling another shove with 93o before eventually blinding out of the tournament in a novel way.

My day 2 was a swingy affair as I tried unsuccessfully to nurse a small stack into the money, coming up eight places short when my ace ten couldn’t hold versus ace nine. It doesn’t even qualify as a bad beat as I’d only looked at the ace so was lucky to be ahead preflop in the first place.

Night walks with an idiot abroad

I did some stints in the commentary box, and particularly enjoyed two scenic walks back to the hotel from the casino with Lappin, Iany, Davitsche, Adrian, and Henry.

Paris is impressive at night, and my biggest abiding impression is how little the city has changed since I lived there almost three decades ago (in comparison to Dublin which has changed almost beyond recognition).

On one of the night walks we were all marvelling at the Louvre pyramid, except Iany who was Pokemonning on his phone as ever. He did finally look up to squeal excitedly:
“Oooo that’s in The Da Vinci Code”.

An eventful Sunday for Lappin

The morning after the party, Lappin and I dragged ourselves out of bed with the tentative plan to go play the turbo side event. He was hoarse and very much the worse for wear after his early morning debating, but despite visibly struggling at the table managed to ship the event, much to the delight of his colleagues.

We decided to celebrate with another scenic walk back to the hotel, before our hunger got the better of us and we ended up in Five Guys. Things took an unexpected turn when Lappin suddenly started to feel really bad, and announced he was pretty sure he had a kidney stone and needed to head to an ER. Google Maps decided the nearest one was in Neuilly sur Seine, Iany called us an Uber, and as the only French speaker in the group I decided the only decent thing to do was to accompany him.

As David convulsed in pain, the driver unexpectedly stopped in the middle of nowhere in Neuilly sur Seine and said we had reached our destination.

The following conversation (translated from French) then went down
“Get out of the car”
“There’s no hospital here. We need the hospital”
“This is your destination according to Uber”
“My friend has a medical emergency. We need to be brought to the hospital”
“I can’t do that unless you change the destination on Uber”
“We didn’t book this. Our friend Ian did”
“I can ring Ian”
No answer
“Look can we just give you cash to take us to the nearest hospital? It really is an emergency”

He dropped us off at something called the American Hospital of Paris, which may or may not be an actual hospital, but certainly wasn’t open.

Google Maps told us we were only a kilometre from the actual hospital, so I guided the doubled up Lappin struggling gamely with his excruciation through the empty suburban streets. Probably for the best they were empty as we looked quite the sight, one doubled in pain from his kidney stone, the other shivering from lack of a coat.

He was admitted while I hung on in the waiting room awaiting developments. This wasn’t Lappin’s first rodeo or kidney stone which is how he was able to recognise the signs, and he was clear that what he needed was the finest painkillers known to humanity.

“Morphine. Give me morphine. I need morphine. Morphine now”
“On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad is the pain?”
“It’s one hundred. Now let’s just get morphine into me”

When it was clear he would have to stay the night I walked back to the hotel, leaving him with the most basic necessities to survival in 2019, a power bank and a cable. I came to temporarily question that decision when my phone died on the walk and I was forced to navigate from thirty year old memories of Paris.

We meet Remy

After checking out the following morning I walked back to visit the now high Lappin (in case you’re curious, there is absolutely no difference between high Lappin and normal Lappin. Literally none except slightly more cheerful). We repaired to a restaurant for French onion soup, where Lappin started seeing a mouse.

At first I thought it might be the morphine, but then I saw it too. We called the waiter over and he also saw the mouse, but took it a lot more in his stride than you might expect.

The following conversation has also been translated from French:
“That’s a mouse”
“Yes sir”
He shrugged as we looked at him expectantly.
“Would you like to move to another table?”
It was an unexpected question. We looked at each other, both struggling to see how that was a solution to the mouse situation, so....
Another shrug from the waiter
“Heh, that’s Paris”

After he left we started seeing more mice, at which point we decided to pay the bill and skip dessert, which we enjoyed instead in a nearby mouse free establishment.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Unibet Open Paris. There is a tremendous atmosphere and team camaraderie among the ambassadors and Unibet staff, who are all great fun to spend time with. It’s also heartening to see someone from the esports/influencers world, Monkeyism, make a real effort to interact with us all and pitch in on stuff like commentary. A big thank you to all the players who interacted with me at and away from the tables.

And what can I say about Lappin that hasn’t been said already? Sliving.

Goodbye to the 10’s

On the plane back I was lucky enough to be sat beside the cutest most charming little French girl ever (she spoke perfect English and French) and her mother. Well, until she announced in a loud voice as we were taking off
“I’m scared mommy. You know why? Because we could collide with another plane and be smashed into a thousand pieces. Or we could crash and be burned alive”

And freaked everyone out.

This was my last live poker trip of the decade, and given that I made it home without being smashed into a thousand pieces or burned alive I’m looking forward to a month at home on the online grind, working on various other poker projects, and working hard to prepare for another decade in poker.

Thanks to all my readers who followed the last decade, and have a great Christmas and happy new year.



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