If you’re anything like me you aren’t dedicated or smart enough to get rich in a conventional, legal way, like inventing an app that tells people if they should grow sideburns. Nor do you possess the ruthlessness and amorality required to get rich from a big time criminal career. You won’t make a fortune trafficking drugs across the border via geese flock. At best you’ll be in an entry-level position, trying to stuff drug bags into a goose and getting pecked, hard, for your trouble. Take it from me, there’s only one reliable way for someone like you to get rich and that’s illegal, underground poker.
When I say poker I’m not talking about Texas Hold ‘Em, a game played by dimwitted public school boys named Oscar who used to sit next to me at work and complain to Dave that was writing articles about underground poker instead of doing my actual job. No. I’m talking about a form of the game so frowned on by respectable members of society that it was outlawed by the government even before they’d made it illegal to trample nine MP's to death with a horse, which is what an outraged poker baron did right after they signed the anti-poker law. The type of poker I’m talking about is called One-Card Stud.
It is extraordinarily easy to win money playing One-Card Stud. It’s so easy a camel could do it, if that camel had opposable thumbs and a rudimentary understanding of probability. And if it could talk. There’s a lot of talking involved. Forget it, a camel couldn’t win. But you can.
You might think the best place to play this highly illegal form of poker is in an underground casino run by a slick Mafia boss with a name like Luciano Gambarelli. You’d be right, but Luciano Gambarelli told me that if I wrote an article about him I’d wind up with “even less thumbs than a camel”. He meant “even fewer” but I didn’t correct him as, well, the thumb thing, innit.
So where can you play this game that I can write about and still keep my thumbs? There’s only one place. It’s a bar run by outlaw bikers. The bar is called The Pickle & Unicycle. Don’t tell them this is a stupid name for a bar. The last person who told them that suffered what you might call an 'unexplained disappearance'. You might call it that except it’s easily explained, he was murdered by some outlaw bikers.
Now here’s what you do to get in on this hot poker action. You go to The Pickle & Unicycle and you tell the barman the secret code. The code is “I’d like a delicious roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings”. If you went to the wrong bar by mistake you’ll be served a delicious chicken dinner. If you’re at the right bar you’ll be ushered into a poker room out the back but still wish you’d got to eat that chicken. I should’ve told you to eat before going to the bar, sorry.
In the dimly-lit back room you’ll see other players. There’s two types of people who play One-Card Stud. The first is grizzled Iraq war types called “Cobra”. The second type is people who look suspiciously like you, who are there because they too read an article about getting rich playing illegal poker.
When all the players are seated the dealer will produce a single card. The card bears mysterious symbols and the number twelve. What could it mean? Twelve is a number with heavy numerological significance. The ancient Romans used it to signify the twelfth day of the month. Modern calendar manufacturers use it for a similar purpose.
It’s almost time for the game to start. The dealer will tell you there’s a 5000 pound cash buy-in. Sorry, this is another thing I forgot to mention earlier. The other players, who read better articles about illegal poker than this one, all produce the cash. You don’t have the money so you leave, just as broke as when you went in. Later you learn that every other player in that game is now fantastically rich. So you pull together the 5000 quid and return to the bar. Except it isn’t a bar any more, it’s a shop that sells those giant pants you see in the 'before' shots in diet ads. The only sign of the store’s biker history is the muffled screaming coming from the back room.
You’re dejected. Your shot at riches is gone. You curse me and my terrible article. You start to plot your revenge against me. But it’s too late. That screaming from the back room? That was me. It seems that outlaw bikers don’t like articles being written about their illegal poker games either. Tough break for both of us, but no one ever said it would be extraordinarily easy to get rich playing underground poker. No one except me, and as you’ve learned I’m almost as bad at giving advice as I am at not getting tortured to death in a pants store run by outlaw bikers.
Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X