DECONSTRUCTED: Property’s poker face

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away,” are the sagacious lyrics from the snowy-domed and wonderfully-whiskered Texan crooner Kenny Rogers’ 1978 hit ‘The Gambler’. But these wise words from the country music hall of famer couldn’t help PERE’s resident card shark at Palmer Capital’s first charity poker tournament.

The London-based private equity real estate investment manager and City law firm Osborne Clarke co-hosted the event in support of property industry charity LandAid. The charity mobilizes and allocates the property industry’s resources – money, time, expertize and space – to support projects working with disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. It does so by partnering with local charities through the donation of grants, joint funding and free property advice.

The Clermont Club, an exclusive Mayfair private members club, was the opulent venue for the event. Built in 1745, and with gaming connections beginning in the early 19th Century, past members of the club include aristocrats, statesmen, celebrities, and movie stars. It was a fitting spot for real estate’s high rollers.

Around 70 property professionals from well-known organizations including CBRE, Forsters and Deloitte among others took to the tables with a total prize pot of £1,750 and, more importantly, industry bragging rights up for grabs.

Angle Property’s James Good was the tournament victor and left with a huge grin etched across his formerly serious poker face. Running Good close was Vitruvian Partners’ Charles Hardwick and Ares Management’s Mark Hatcher who secured second and third spots, respectively.

As alluded to earlier, PERE’s cool hand fared less well and was knocked out in an earlier round, although he still claims it was all down to bad luck. Apparently he had to “shove” because he had a poor “M-ratio” and was holding “the nuts” and his opponent only had a 4 percent chance of making a “backdoor straight”.

He assures us that PERE’s money was “invested” diligently throughout and that losing with Ace-Queen suited to King-ten with a Queen-five-four “flop” was the right time to go “all in”. A Jack on the “turn” and then a nine “on the river” said otherwise. It all sounds like sore loser speak to us.

However, despite being played in a competitive manner there was a distinct lack of sour grapes during the evening, one imagines in large part due to Palmer’s hospitality. Champagne flowed all evening and those unlucky enough to find themselves standing on the sidelines all stayed to cheer on the remaining players to the end.

In all, just under £10,000 was raised on the night including the poker champions who very kindly donated their prize money to LandAid, the night’s worthy winner. Perhaps Palmer will make this a regular feature of the UK property industry’s diary. PERE has already started practicing in anticipation.