For some people table talk is an integral part of the game, the thing that makes live play all the more enjoyable; a social experience worth more just the buy-in. For others though it’s a living nightmare, a private shame that can expose your weaknesses, leaving you stuck in a world of your own, hood up, headphone and sunglasses on. Maybe this way they’ll leave you alone.
All this comes naturally for players like Dario Minieri and Daniel Negreanu who each provide a kind of live audio commentary to events, like all this was playing out on a box set somewhere.
I heard the word “nuts” coming from Minieri’s table and when I got there he was raking in a pot. The truth is though that every hand he plays is the nuts in his eyes, eyes usually half closed above a broad grin and dimples. So this was nothing unusual. But Minieri wanted some kind of post-mortem to make sense of it all and he looked a player in a hood, headphones and sunglasses, with a large stuffed toy version of Patrick Star of Sponge Bob fame tucked in behind his chips, for his answers.
“Seriously, were you value betting or were you bluffing?” he asked. Rigu, (I’d asked for his name but he’d pointed to it embroidered on his hoodie) replied in the best way he could but Minieri waved his hands not believing him, still smiling of course. Minieri operates in both the philosophical “fact,” sense, as well as the more mathematic “truth,” sphere which helps avoid any wrong answers.
At the table alongside is Daniel Negreanu. His conversations can at times delve so deep it would be like trying to understand the key note speech at a proctology conference. Words like “sick,” and “five-three off,” and “variance,” and “sick,” are used with machine gun regularity in what seems like an interchangeable order while other players do their best to keep up.
That leaves the rest of us. Hood up, headphones on, keep yourself to yourself.