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Christoph Haller

Created on: 8. July 2007
Last update on: 19. August 2013
Entry from 8. July 2007    

News from Odessa

Really new things from Odessa. A mother who looks after her son, at the card table at least. A salad of exceptional quality and nearly peacefully unified players that compete against the rest of the internet world. Along with the usual discourse about the house rules in Odessa. – As always, funny and worth reading. Poker is conquering the planet and Christoph Haller reports for PokerOlymp from the “wild east.”

It’s been awhile since my last letter from Odessa. I’ve already written about my VIP reception. Now comes something much better! – On PokerOlymp I learned that Phil Hellmuth was accepted into the Poker Hall of Fame. He deserves it, but he's not the first and won’t be the last either. Here in Odessa I received a much more exclusive honor! They named a mixed salad after me! Really! I always had a special request, “peppers – cut thinly please, iceberg lettuce, olives, and so on.” And on the new casino menu here there’s now the “Christoph Salad.” Admittedly in Ukrainian and in Cyrillic writing, but my linguistic abilities have come far enough by now to be able to read my name.

So let’s get to some more joyful things. Let’s get to the big game here in Odessa. Finally, I got into my form and am more or less familiar with the house rules. For example, keeping in step with the Ukrainian attitude towards life, cards revealed by mistake are valid, of course. What in the west is looked on as a bad habit, that is, for example, mixing what was revealed too early into the turn, then burning cards and the whole deal. What for? A real man wagers even when he knows that he can’t buy anything anymore. Maybe even twice as much? Because in the end, there’s enough money in the city.

Speaking of “open cards.” Every now and then it happens that we have a mother and son together at a table in the high party. Of course it’s not a problem for anyone and if it were a problem, no one would dare say anything about it. In any case, Lussa G. and her son Micha were heads-up at the turn. Everyone at the table noticed, except for one person. In any case, Mama Lussa had a nut flush and revealed her cards. At the river nothing good came. Nuts stay nuts and what does the losing son do? He plays for the whole pot, $ 4000 anyways. The entire casino laughed and made jokes about it for days.

But we don’t just play against each other. We also play collectively in near-peaceful harmony against the rest of the world. Above the table is a large screen and we enter a $ 5000 sit ‘n go, for example. Unbelievable action! Everyone joins in somehow. So here's how it normally goes: I take 33%, someone else takes 25%, a third person joins in with 10% and then the last one screams “I’ll take the remaining 40%.” The chaos is bound to happen, but first of all we play. I’ve had the honorable task of being captain twice. So theoretically, the last one to decide with the duty of letting people advise me. No later than when the turn comes, two people scream “pass” and two “raise.” But players also shout in that don’t have any percent – or to say it in Ukrainian, that probably don’t have any percent. Since that is only resolved for sure at the end. My record is also good with that. I was captain twice, won once and one time second place.

I also liked the following floorman decision. It’s a player’s turn; he’s not the youngest, but clearly in good form. Up until him, $ 1000 had been played. He takes three $ 1000 chips and casually, with a big arch of the arm, places a small raise. Somehow he must have seen something wrong in the turn or there was another reason for his sudden change of heart. In any case, similar to a beach volleyball defense player, he makes a full dive over the table. He caught one chip, sent another outside the velvet territory with a spirited throw and the last, innocent $ 1000 chip was then just a “call.”

No one in Odessa is one of the usual suspects. Supposedly people are sweating voluntarily somewhere in the Nevada desert at 47 degrees (115°F). The Baltic internet legend, “OBG02” is here on location and gambles everywhere there’s an open seat. Even “live” they call him “O.B.G.” now, too. Maybe soon he can even have the name entered in his passport? Quite possible with some monetary support. – So that’s it for the time being. Actually I wanted to report more about the phenomenon of Ukrainian women, but now I’ve chatted away a bit. So just for PokerOlymp I’m going to intensify my research and next time there will be an elaborate follow-up. Until then, have fun.

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