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The Power of Negative Thinking

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Nov 03, '14


At first we called him Des. But within a few weeks he’d become Doomsday. Des due to his rather pessimistic oulook on life in general and poker in particular. He was the kind of guy whose last thought at night was that he was no better than an even money shot to wake up alive in the morning. There was a widely held belief that the reason his head was slightly tilted backwards was because he was often looking up to ensure that if a grand piano was falling his way he’d be in with a chance of taking evasive action. He was the only guy I ever played with who was terrified he’d win a big pot because then he’d have enough chips in front of him to lose a huge pot (he considered leaving a game before it broke up to be highly unlucky). He liked nothing better than to put all his chips in on the turn whilst saying “I know the club is coming, but what can I do?” Amazingly, he was rarely disappointed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was travelling by metro with a French friend of mine to the poker club in Place Clichy in Paris. He started to get a bit antsy as we approached Miromesnil station, where we were due to change trains. He explained that the last time he’d been there he bumped into his ex girlfriend, which apparently was a less than happy reunion. I reminded him 30 trains per hour passed through the station so the chance of another messy confrontation was highly unlikely, but he was convinced it was a straight coin flip. As we stood on the platform, I delved a little deeper into the mathematics of the situation .Suddenly he dived in behind a pillar saying “That’s her! She’s xxxxing mad!” I calmed him down and told him I’d tell him when she got onto the train and we could get into a different carriage at the last moment. The plan worked great. Nearly. She got on the train. He made a run for a different carriage and made it with a millisecond to spare. I got left on the platform. While I was standing there I began to question whether it is possible, by thinking negatively, to alter the odds against something happening without actually interfering. I shrugged off that ridiculous thought immediately. Then again, I remembered I haven’t seen Doomsday Des for years. Maybe he was right about the grand piano too.

The recent IPO in Dublin lived up to its billing as a tournament for nutjobs and party animals. It was great! In a recession beating move that many countries would be advised to study the Northern Ireland lot brought several times their own body weight in liquor across the border. They didn’t bring any home. There was a sign in the hotel requesting that patrons refrain from consuming food and beverage on the premises that hadn’t been purchased there. Big Philip laughed when he saw it remarking that there were more pizza boxes in the bar than you’d find in Domino’s on a Saturday night!

Padraig is currently involved with Jesse May in hosting Irish Pub Poker Tours for medium-sized corporate groups. For info you can contact him on Twitter @padraigpoker.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


7 years ago

Love it! Its no secret that I have been following The Secret by rhonda Byrne for years. I don't do negative thinking ever!


7 years ago

Or she's psycho and stalks him there because she knows he's at that station often.

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