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Extraordinary Poker Writing

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Dec 02, '12


Gareth Chantler is back in South America, and he’s chronicled the start of his journey, in Cartagena, Colombia, for the PokerStars blog. I can’t recommend it highly enough, it’s literally the best poker narrative I’ve read in years. In a few hundred words, the author tells you a lot about himself and the experience of playing poker in a Colombian casino:

“This game was too big for my bankroll. But it was too good to pass up. The board was jack, ten, eight, all diamonds. And all the money was in the middle.

My middle-aged opponent was exactly who you would picture at a 5-10 game in Colombia. Designer sunglasses, expensive watch, supermodel companion, and macho delivery – he wanted people to know he was secure in himself. I knew from the way he played cards that he wasn’t.

“Muerto,” he declared to the table, referring to my hopes of winning the hand, thankfully not my hopes of leaving the casino. His leggy senorita was immersed in her phone at the empty table beside ours. She wore red, carefully arranged tatters.

My chances were quite slim. I had the king of diamonds with a jack, top pair good kicker and the second nut flush draw. My opponent had me pipped in a very bad way, holding ace jack with the ace of diamonds. My chances of drawing out were not zero as he would have you believe, but 12%.”

If you’re not familiar with Gareth, you can learn a lot more about him and why he left his native Canada to live in Peru on one of the most popular episodes of the Thinking Poker Podcast. But before you listen to that, go read his article. You won’t regret it.


Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer, and teacher. He is also an avid hiker and traveler and a passionate advocate for urban public education. You can find dozens of his poker strategy articles at and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at

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