What S.“

Around Town

Hit *


5 '1.“ . a :2. . t. I

t Cathay House Blend Chinese tea, mahjong and calligraphy are set beside Tat-chi dance, which is soundtracked by Chinese instruments and electronica from Edinburgh band, Found. Royal Museum, Edinburgh, Sat 78 Nov.

# French Market A dash of Gallic fare. as stallholders from Ia Republique decamp to Edimbourg for a long weekend, selling bread. cheese. chocolates, clothing and more. Castle Street, Edinburgh, Thu 23—Sun 26 Nov.

t Edinburgh Alliance Against Urban 4X48 Inaugural convocation of the capital’s branch of the national pressure group against gas- guzzlers. Meeting House, Edinburgh, Thu 16 Nov.

t Pauline & Phil Sanderson: EVERESTMAX In May 2006 Pauline Sanderson became the first person in the world to do the “longest climb on earth’ from the lowest point on the planet to the highest in one continuous journey. Hear the story. Tiso Outdoor Experience. Edinburgh, Wed 22 Nov.

# St Andrew’s Day Bumper series of events to celebrate Scotland’s patron saint. An exhibition, a rally, ceilidhs and free entry to Edinburgh Castle are the attractions. See preview, page 28. Various venues, Glasgow & Edinburgh, Sat 25 & Thu 30 Nov.

eroat 0 dream

James Bond step aside: Fellow gamblers can play high-stakes casino poker for

only £5, discovers Colan Mehaffety.

e're not so different. Daniel (‘raig and 1.

Perhaps I don't have his chiselled l‘eatures

and. frankly. I look terrible in tight-lilting trunks. But. just like the new Bond in the movie ('usiim Rnyu/c. I’ve been issued with instructions to inliltrate a poker game.

My contact and mentor for the mission is Minnesotan multi-millionaire professional player. (ireg Raymer. who scooped it cool 35m winning the 200-1 World Series ol Poker. and is visiting these shores to play in a liuropean Poker Tour event. Raymer tells the to expect a different game from the last-paced poker portrayed in lilms. ‘Poker is about patience.’ he counsels. 'You may have to wait 20 hands for your opportunity.’ He pointed me in the direction of gaming websites with tuition. forums and l’ree-to-play games to learn the basics withottt blowing a fortune.

The most commonly played type ol poker is Texas llold’em. a variant in which each player is initially dealt two cards. known as ‘hole cards'. liive community cards are then dealt lace up. of which the players use three. in conjunction with their hole cards. to make the best possible hand. As each card is dealt. players must decide whether to lold or continue betting in the hope of landing the communal pot.

Raymer advises me that it's vital to hold your nerve. ‘Just take that l‘ew extra seconds to assess your position.‘ he recommends. ‘l)on‘t get caught tip with the other players and act too quickly. because that‘s when you make mistakesf

Raymer‘s tuition. allied to a couple of evenings spent battling the likes ol’ ‘devilhand‘ and other beastly

players online. gave me sufficient conlidence to enter a tournament at the (iala Riverboat (‘asino in (ilasgow. While I doubt ()()7 would blow his nose with the £5 it costs to enter. the prize fund of tip to £l5()() regularly attracts a lull house. Poker tournaments have a knockout l‘ormat. each player starting with $1000 worth ol chips and the aim of building their stack and making it to the final table. As I paced the foyer beforehand. l was gripped with the tear that I would be exposed as a rank amateur among these seasoned players.

'l‘hankl‘ully. I wasn't the only rookie at the table. It quickly became apparent that the older hands are more aggressive in their play. attempting to steal pots with high bets. My lirst action came with a pair of aces and. as l upped the bets. the players around me folded. leaving me with a single opponent. With our cards exposed. I initially embarrassingly didn‘t realise l‘d won. and only just suppressed a whoop of delight when the penny dropped. l'd won Sl.2()(l. albeit in pieces of plastic.

As the evening progressed and tension mounted. my luck started to wane. ()verly cautious play with good hands. and l‘oolhardy blul'l's. soon eroded my stack. Down to $400. I moved all in with ace high and. the turn of a card later. my tournament was over. Reduced to the status ol’ double-oh-oh. I made a vow: just like Bond. I would be back.

Poker tournaments run nightly at Gala casinos - visit www.9alacasino.com for details. The Gala Riverboat Casino also arranges poker schools for groups - call 0141 226 6000 to book.

it; so No; Rtltio THE LIST 27