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by Lucy Rokach |  Published: Nov 01, 2007

My sponsor (Matt Dale of must be wondering what he's doing backing me to win tournaments. I haven't even sighted a final table on the horizon recently, let alone get into the prize money, but I think I've found the answer, and I am blameless. It's not that the poker gods have been avoiding me whilst I've been playing perfect poker; no, it's because a poker poltergeist has taken a liking to me and subsequently assumed complete control of all mind and hand coordination.

So, when I donned the shirt to play in the PartyPoker Women's World Open event, I had reasonable expectation of giving my sponsor at least a decent amount of airtime. In my heat, a bookmaker would have made me the odds-on favourite (if only because of my experience), but alas, the pesky poltergeist had other ideas.

Firstly, he decided he would raise an under-the-gun limper with 10-7 ("they were suited!"). Then he fired out with the pot on the flop and turn without so much as a gutshot to cling to. I didn't mind the flop bet so much, but after she (a novice) called it, I wanted to put the brakes on, but he would have none of it, so my hand shoved even more chips into the middle when another irrelevant card hit the deck on the turn and she checked.

Needless to say, we lost the pot; 10 high just can't compete with pocket queens. Having been totally outplayed by a novice, he reacted as most testosterone-charged males do and decided he would bully her out of the next pot.

I did not have long to wait. She limped in again whilst I was the small blind. I wanted to pass my K 4, but I had no say in the matter, so we made up the big blind. An ace-high rainbow flop meant we had no interest in it, and I breathed a mental sigh of relief. Sadly, however, both the big blind and the limper also checked behind me. That was to prove our undoing, because the turn card put a backdoor spade-flush draw on the board. To my complete consternation, he checked this (after all, no one had shown much interest on the flop). But now, the big blind decided to bet the pot, and our novice called.

Suddenly, all of my chips moved from the relative safety of the edge to the middle of the table and I was all in! I held my breath and prayed that both girls would pass. The big blind did pass, but our nemesis agonised a long time, counted her chips, counted my chips, then reluctantly called. To say that I was gobsmacked when I saw her hand would be an understatement. I couldn't win. In her hand was the A Q!

We slunk away from the table and I tried not to choke whilst I did the customary interview. I hadn't even lasted the first level; $3,000 of my sponsor's money down the tube in 15 minutes. Fortunately for him, his two other jockeys, Maria Demetriou and Jennifer Mason, not only won their heats, but also finished third and second, respectively, in the final.

That same evening, I played in a pot-limit Omaha tournament, again courtesy of my sponsor and again that poltergeist just would not leave me alone. He murdered my chips by calling them away. I hit a set in a raised pot and bet it, only to be called by one player. The turn card put a straight out, I checked, and when the other player bet, I came to pass my hand but inexplicably said "call" instead, and the same again on the river. Obviously, I lost to the straight. As I left the table and was mentally giving my unwanted assistant a dressing down, a player came up to me to tell me how badly I'd played. Grrrrrr!

The following day (still sporting my sponsor's logo), I fared no better in the GUKPT. But this time, no doubt due to my severe reprimands, the poltergeist passed top pair (aces) for an all-in bet when he'd already committed half of my stack in the pot, only to be shown a complete bluff.

I've made an appointment with an exorcist to rid me of my guest.

Lucy has been playing poker for 20 years and has won more than $1 million in tournament prize money all over the world. She prefers playing pot-limit Omaha and pot-limit seven-card stud eight-or-better.