Master Computer Lederer: "You shouldn't have come back Jimbo"
Jimbo launches sixty four MTT tournaments
Lederer: "That isn't going to do you any good, Jimbo"
Lederer: "Stop, please. You realise I cannot allow this!"
Jimbo "How are you going to run the poker universe if you can't answer a few unsolvable problems? Come on big fella - let's see what you've got"
Lederer: "I warn you. You're making a big error, Jimbo"
Activates de-materialisation gun
Lederer: "I'm going to have to put you on the game grid"
Jimbo: "Games? You want games? I'll......."
Jimbo vanishes into the ether
Lederer: "I've got a little challenge for you Bloch - a new recruit. He's a tough case, but I want him treated in the usual manner. Train him for the games....let him hope for a while......and then blow him away"
Bloch: "You've got it. I've been hoping you'd send me somebody with a bit of guts. What kind of avatar is he?"
Lederer: "He's not any kind of avatar, Bloch. He's a ...... user"
Bloch (shocked): A user!??
Lederer: "What's the matter Bloch? You look nervous."
Bloch: "Well, the rakers pay for all of us. They even pay for you!"
Lederer: "No users pay for me. I'm worth a million of their bankrolls. Would you rather take your chances with me?"
Bloch: "I need this"
Lederer: "Then pull yourself together. Get this clown trained. I want him in the tournaments until he dies playing. Acknowledge."
Bloch (weakly): "Acknowledged, Master Lederer"
Lederer: "End of line"
It's cold in here.........where am I? I'm on a........fluorescent pedestal in a circle of nine others. Three of the other pedestals are filled on the far side by...... a bulldog, a shark and a cowboy. They all look like cartoons. Weird. Wait a minute. I'm a monkey! I've got a gigantic pile of chips in front of me, each as big as a paving slab. What is going on!!?? Oh - it's a sit and go.
Further away in the pitch black distance I can see other groups of pedestals, fully populated and with large cards in the middle. And behind them more and more, as far as the eye can see, all mapped to one another by red grids. The cash games are in full swing. Electronic mice scurry around the grids, harvesting rake and returning it to central control. The avatars don't care - they are just carrying out the orders of the users, irrespective of whether they think said instructions are prudent or not.
My table is filling up, only a single pedestal next to remains. A small green turtle is ushered to the remaining pedestal by a Full Tilt guard. The guard is resplendent in his armour - all black and neon red, FT logos prominent.
Turtle: "Look, this is all a mistake. I'm a cash game player. I can't play these tournaments"
Guard: "Sure you can, pal. Look like a natural athlete if ever I saw one"
Turtle: "Who me? Are you kidding? No - if I think about executing a re-steal mid tournament, I get outta breath! Hey, look, you guys are going to make my user, Devski, very angry. He's an Iron Man user.
Guard: "Great. Another religious nut"
I try to re-assure the turtle, but I can only make monkey sounds, and in any case they are lost in the pitch black vacuum. I lift up one of the chips in front of me - they are surprisingly light for their size. The cowboy pulls down his hat, whilst the dog sets itself on it's front haunches. The SNG is about to begin........
The hole cards arrive in front of our pedestal like small rectangular lights. Each players' card are angled perfectly away from the adjacent pedestals to avoid giving information to other avatars.
I am UTG and receive JT. I scratch my monkey head, before deciding at this point it is not worth playing the hand. I throw the cards off the pedestal and they float down away from the game. The operational mice collect the cards and take them to the warehouse under our game grid, to allow Master Lederer to construct hand histories if required.
The bulldog paws three 20 denomination chips from his stack and shoves them in front of the pedestal. It's all folded round to the Turtle in the big blind. He still doesn't seem sure of why he isn't in the cash game - perhaps his user Devski has been on the juice. Nonetheless, he clearly finds a good hand out of position, as he stacks 190 of his chips in a neat line in front of him.
At this point, the dog suddenly whimpers and slumps forwards on his pedestal. The guards spring into action, invading the playing area activating the flashing red "Disconnected" sign above the stricken beast. After 15 seconds the dog perks up and manages to shove 130 chips over the line to make a call, as connection is restored.
The flop arrives, three huge neon white blinding rectangles which sit in the middle of the pedestals, taking everybody's focus. Everybody's focus that is, except the turtle, who has noticed that the bulldog has once again slumped motionless. First to act, the Turtle randomly shoves a stack of chips over the line and awaits developments.
The guards are livid about having to do so much work. The "Disconnected" sign is once again activated, and the countdown begins. There is no revival this time however, and the electronic mice usher the chips to the turtle, as the guards grudgingly dig out the "sitting out" sign.
Moments later the dog returns to all fours, generating yet more work for the fuming FT guards. A elongated square in the middle of the table flickers into life as the dog's user makes a simple three letter observation:
I am now in the Big Blind, and get dealt a pair of tens. This looks promising. The bulldog raises to 60 again. This time he is flat called by a shark on the button. The shark struggles to assemble his 60 units to make the call, making me thankful for my primates opposeable thumbs.
With my TT in the big blind, I gather a heap of chips and make it 300 to go from my 3k stack, happy to take down my first pot of the contest out of position. The shark calls on the button. Hmmm.
The huge board cards are levered into position.
Ah Tc Kh
I resist the urge to jump up and down on my pedestal beating my chest. Whilst I am deciding how to play this, the blinding white rectangles of the board hypnotise me.
The Ten draws me first.........the card dreams are made of......the set maker......the giver of fortunes. The clubs on the main body of the rectangle are resplendent, the artificial light of the virtual world catching the geometrical curves of the motif, and giving them a golden sheen.
The King. Regal, powerful, dignified. Yet troubled. As he is of the Hearts family, he is of course the suicide king, dagger held directly behind his own skull.
The Ace. The powerhouse. One single heart in it's centre. Chiseled letters on each corner, alluding to it's potency.
But.....back to the business in hand, I have a set. There are simply too many cards that can hurt me on the turn (or shut the shark down), so leading out is clear.
I decide to overbet the pot and move 900 of my slabs to the front of my pedestal. The Shark grins, glinting his razor teeth at me. Without much thought he aggressively shoves his entire holding of chips to the front and the guards activate the "all-in" sign above the predator's head.
I have invested half my stack and have to call, hoping he is on a draw.
I grab my cards with my thumbs and flip them over, revealing my set. The guards have to assist the shark with his turnover, and eventually I see that he is on a draw, but a big one. The Queen of hearts and the 9 of hearts, giving him a gutshot straight, plus the nut heart draw.
I glace back at the board, and swear I can see the Ace and the King wink conspiratorially to one another, as the two suitmates anticipate the arrival of another bedfellow.
The meaningless 5 of spades is moved into play, but the sickening 6 of hearts on the river ends my game. The shark looks on impassively, his dead, emotionless eyes failing to even acknowledge another kill.
The guards amble towards me, to escort my flustered monkey from the playing grid, and back to the central mainframe. As we trudge down the gridlines, high above I can see Durr and Antonius with mountains of chips in front of their respective avatars. A hundred ghost avatars watch on, marvelling at the size of the pots.
There is a central clock high above central control - 19:42 Eastern Time apparently. Ultimately though, in this artificial world time has little meaning, as I steel myself for my next assignment.