Cindy Blake, 54, an American writer born in Boston and living in London. I grew up playing poker with my brothers, joined a weekly poker game when I was working for Doubleday Bookstore in NYC in my early twenties; my fellow players were six booksellers - all men. For a while I stopped playing, then met Tony Holden who brought me back to the tables. When he spent his year playing poker for Big Deal, I became The Moll and accompanied him to tournaments all over the world.
My novels include one based on poker - It's My Party. The heroine, Isabel, is a secret card shark and spends her weekend nights at casinos in London. I had fun writing it, partly because it's one of the few books I know of in which a woman poker player features.
In 2001 I took part in the first televised Celebrity Poker Tournament on the Challenge Channel. I made it to the final table and came third, watching with pleasure as sports stars like Stephen Hendry and Tony Cascarino bit the dust before me.
A journalist as well as novelist, I've written columns for The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph as well as writing articles for The Daily Mail, The Express and the FT.
08 Feb 2008 -
It’s not going so hot. In the last two tournaments I’ve played in I’ve had my aces in the hole busted / cracked / spat upon / knifed / shot / strangled at birth. The elation of seeing them was nothing to the pain of watching them crash and burn – once on the flop [...]
17 Aug 2007 -
My Fantasy Poker Game
On holiday in Turkey , with no WiFi or Internet connection and not a casino in sight, I wiled away some mental time in the sun by concocting my Fantasy Poker Game. Allowing myself both living and dead players, and limiting the table to seven, I surprised myself by my instinctive first choice: Richard Nixon. [...]
04 Jul 2007 -
Addicted or Reckless?
The son of a friend of mine was in trouble a couple of years ago – he’d done too much internet gambling and lost way beyond his means playing poker and blackjack online. When his mother told me about it, my first thought was: blackjack? Of course the sucker lost. My second was: I hope [...]
30 May 2007 -
Showing Your Hand
It’s down to the two of you. You bet, he raises, you think. You fold. He rakes in the chips, smiles, and turns over a lousy, losing hand. He’s gloating, showing you what a bluff he pulled off. You’re kicking yourself. I’ve thought about the psychological ramifications of this move a lot. The Bluffer, by [...]
21 May 2007 -
Shut the commentator up!
With the advent of televised poker came a new breed: the poker commentator – and what a strange species that is. He (and the Commentators are, for the most part, men), and his inevitable Co Commentator sit and pronounce on the goings-on at the table in hushed tones. Sometimes they are appropriately awed: ‘A truly [...]
12 May 2007 -
Deal or No Deal?
You may never have watched Deal or No Deal, a television show where contestants try to win money by choosing the right boxes. I hope you haven’t. But if you have, you’ll know the contestants try to win either by bringing little ‘good luck’ charms with them, or by using some sort of superstitious system. [...]
26 Apr 2007 -
That loud-mouthed table bully
You know the type. That loud-mouthed table bully who decides he’s going to have some fun and pick on you tonight. Whenever I run into one of those, I immediately think “Richie” because that’s the name of my nemesis. Too many years ago I was playing in a Thursday night game in Manhattan. The rest [...]