Monday, 13 September 2010

In the 5th match of the series, Bigot's boys breezed into town several days ahead of the scheduled date. Here was a heaven sent opportunity for them to demonstrate their amazing card skills in the poker and black jack rooms of the world's biggest gambling dens. Nothing or nobody was going to stand in their way. Millions of dollars just simply given over to this formidable band of card sharps.
One casino owner had both the wisdom and foresight to offer $500,000 and a lavish banquet meal if they stayed away from the gambling rooms. Five minutes of haggling resulted in a revised offer of $750,000 plus crates of expensive champagne thrown in with the meal. However at another casino a rather foolish bouncer made a fatal mistake of trying to deny them entry into the VIP suite and the high stakes poker room. Police found his body 24 hours later with a curious blank piece of paper in his pocket marked in a very unusual way. In fact several bodies turned up over the next few days, each one found with a small marked piece of paper, tucked away in their pockets.
As for the match itself, the USA selectors opted to put in a far younger, more fearless team of talented players.....but to no avail. It was like putting lambs to the slaughter. Indeed, straight after the match many of the USA team were immediately taken to nearby psychiatric centre that specialised in post traumatic stress disorders. Many were reported to be babbling away incoherently. but time and time again one name above all could be gleaned from the nonsense that spewed from their mouths........Larry Pugh. Here was the man who Bigot singled out as his star player.
Never in the long history of international matches, has any player managed to get away with so many match winning sacrifices, as Larry did that over that incredible weekend. Whenever he and his partner had flat worthless hands, he just simply kept bidding the opponents' games and slams.....but without ever receiving a double. On one hand that stunned the viewing public to the core, the opponents were just about to bid a rigid 7NT when Larry beat them to it. When this was left in undoubled, the plus 65o score to the USA team was scant reward for missing out on their vulnerable grand. What on earth was possessed the Americans not to double has become the nation's million dollar question. On another board Larry " Black Spot " Pugh was in 4S, destined to go off with the missing AQ sitting over dummy's king. When spades were played, Larry led up to the King and noticed his LHO showing out. At this point he offered his RHO a small piece of paper. Seconds later when the King was called for in dummy, his RHO made the strange play of throwing his queen underneath it. Contract made. Larry, of course, politely turned to his opponent and calmly whispered " Very sensible play ".
In the post match interviews one brave reporter showed real bottle when he asked Larry " How did you manage on so many occasions to avoid getting doubled ? ". His answer was sweet and simple. " In rare instances, my partner and I had a safe suit of our own to fall back on, which persuaded the Yanks to just take what was on offer. But in all other instances they took the safe option. I ask you.... would any sane player stick in a double and put his neck on the block in the process ? Have you not heard of a sucker double ? " Well, there was no answer to that. Clearly, Larry was a grand master in the subtle art of intimidation. His table presence had to be seen to be believed. Even his team mates go out of their way not to upset him for fear of that little piece of paper. Bigot, of course, had a real soft spot for the man with the black spot.

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