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Life in the Poker Lane

More about life around poker, with some poker thrown in.
By: bgalon
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/May/2013

Driving Fast Cars

By: bgalon @ 06:40 (EDT) / 402 / Comment ( 0 )

Steve owns a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. I know to start the barbeque when he is two miles away. I can hear him coming.

First time he parked in my little close, the neighbours come out with cameras and notepads, just in case they can get the autograph of someone famous. Till this date there are people in my street with a framed signature of Steve. They don’t know who he is, but he must be a celebrity.

For me the whole thing looked unpractical. You can’t fit a kid’s pram in that car, and you can just about get a deck of cards into the glove comportment. What the point of owing a 200,000£ car capable of 205 miles an hour if all you going to do is crawl at a snail pace on the A4 trying to get onto the Hammersmith flyover? I will never make it to supernova VIP level because all they offer on Pokerstars is a gasoline “camel-like” drinking Porsche Cayman S rather then a slick looking Vauxhall Zafira.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I took a week’s vacation on the Amalfi coast. We landed in Naples airport where Avis handed me a pastel-green Fiat Qubo. That car was actually shaped like a cube. It was like driving a die with a driver’s cockpit at the front, but it was also practical! - Loads of space for luggage, handbags and other bits and bobs. I like practical… The thing is, I did not drive a manual car for about five years, and I completely forgot you suppose to use both feet. I was trying to drive the car pressing the clutch, breaks and gas all with my right foot. I stalled 17 times before we left the rental company car park, my spouse was clenching to her sit looking very pale. By the time I got to the highway, even the Italian drivers were keeping their distance.

Trust me – getting respect from Italian drivers requires something special. On that particular day – I redefined "special".


When Jack heard this story (read more about Jack in my first blog) – he got very excited – “wow! This can be the new extreme sport! One-leg driving!”
- “I think it’s kind of silly” I said.
- “Really? Did you ever try extreme ironing?”

I stared at him and then looked it up on my tablet. You might want to Google it too – “extreme ironing”

- “No” I confessed – “I never tried extreme ironing – did you?”
- “Of course. Bit pointless really, everything gets wrinkled on the way back.”

They say you need to drive the Amalfi Coast Drive in a hot red convertible with a gorgeous blonde by your side (or Brad Pitt – depends on the driver gender and sexual orientation). I was driving it one legged in a pastel green Fiat Qubo. My wife is a gorgeous blonde. At least I got one part of it right.


I don’t think Jack is a particularly good example to how one should live his or hers live, but there is something carefree about him which is very enduring. Still, if you look carefully you will also find a restless aspect to his being. Jack always looks for the next challenge, for something different and new. He can’t seem to just stop and enjoy where he is, and in a way, I can understand him. I remember trying to make it to silver VIP level playing only 1.5$ fifty/50’s. About 500 games in, I lost my lust for life. It was boring. How can grinders out there play the same game day in / day out over and over again and still find the discipline and will to play at the top of their game? For me variety wins. I enjoy playing a new game for the first time, new field size and new speeds. I remember the joy of playing my first game of Omaha – I was rubbish – but god it was fun! Same goes for the first turbo and the first MTT. Could it be that one day I will run out of games? Could it be that one day, I’ll wake up in the morning and just won’t feel like firing up any of the poker sites I like? It scares me.

And just to support my point - Jack was telling me about what a great idea “one-leg driving” is. We were sitting on the back porch having juicy steaks that just come off the smouldering barbeque.
- “It opens whole new set of disciplines man! me and a few friends were trying it on really fast cars”
- “New disciplines?”
- “Ye! For example – ‘How many roundabouts before stalling?’ Races are completely different, and to top is all – ‘0 to 60 at minimum time using one leg’. It’s a whole new world man”

It then occurred to me that Jack did not own a fast car. He just knew everyone who had one. “Jack” I asked “wouldn’t you just prefer to buy yourself a nice fast car rather then finding new silly ideas to sell to your friends just so your can drive their cars?”

Jack stared at Steve who was standing in the middle of the lawn eating a sausage baguette. Steve was wearing a light Hackett cashmere jumper, Armani trousers and Berluti loafers. He had his Ferrari parked in front and he was talking to a gorgeous blonde. Jack did not stare at the gorgeous blonde. It was my wife. He knew better then that. He then leaned forward and whispered so Steve could not hear him:

“It’s pointless really. Spending all that money over a car that can do 205 miles an hour and then driving it at snail pace on the Hammersmith flyover. Much rather keep the money for something new and different. It might be exciting to drive a fast car for the first time, but after you done it a hundreds of times: Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati and Jaguar – driving a fast car is… well… just driving.”

And what could I possibly say to that?

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