A fairy tale about a lucky tie, poker math and… a lost passport

The life of Loko is not limited to bright victories over the grandees of Russian basketball. We decided to tell you how the team got from Kazan to Krasnodar just as vividly.

Admittedly, the author of these lines was not among the optimists who expected two powerful victories from traveling along the St. Petersburg – Kazan route. Yes, well, let’s put our hand on the tie – it is unlikely that such optimists were present among those reading this text. After all, at the first stage, Loko did not win a single victory in matches with teams from the «Top-6».

However, the sports sector of Lokomotiv-Kuban worked great and the team began the second stage significantly transformed for the better. Yes, you can slightly criticize the breeders and management for the acquisition of Joshi Gray, who failed to prove himself on the court. And you can, on the contrary, praise for your determination and willingness to admit your own mistakes – as well as the ability to quickly eliminate them. As a result, Gray’s former competitors in the number one position, Alexander Shcherbenev and Vladislav Yemchenko, are now demonstrating the best basketball of the season. Jaylen Barford gained a second wind, scoring 22 points against Zenit and UNICS. Other winter newcomers, DeVon Akun–Purcell and Chris Horton, are reliable and useful on both sides of the site.

Of course, it would be naive to look for the reasons for recent victories solely in parting with Gray. The entire Loko headquarters did a great job. And, of course, it is impossible not to mention the meeting that was held by the club’s president Andrey Vedishchev before the match with Zenit. I won’t take out the details from the club hut – but the main thing is that the psychological state of the players after this meeting made these victories possible.

…In a report about the match with UNICS, I wrote that the team’s team manager Roman Pashutin jokingly asked the team for a birthday not only to win, but also to save him from problems for at least one day regarding the uniforms, sneakers and his own heads forgotten by the players in the hotel. The team performed the first part of the task brilliantly. But there was a problem with the second one – one of the players immediately went with a trump ace and lost his passport instead of shorts or T-shirts! Fortunately, it happened somewhere in Sochi, when the morning plane from Kazan safely delivered the team to the subtropics. Pashutin could not recover from this battleship salvo for the rest of the day. And, using any glimpses of mobile communication on the train, he revealed the details of the movement of the ward, who was getting to Krasnodar in a hastily organized car.

Fortunately, this incident does not threaten any special problems. To restore the sickle and hammered is a simple and short–lived matter. Moreover, there is always a passport in the cache, with which you can fly and drive on the territory of the Russian Federation.

The Kazan– Sochi flight was carried out not by the usual Aeroflot, but – symbolically – by Victory. However, this is the symbolism that I had to go to out of desperation – there was no time for flights from other airlines to suit the coaching staff. The lion’s share of the time, the Loko players still fly with Aeroflot – and they do it correctly (not on the rights of advertising)! Only at the last moment, due to the fault of the employees of the “Victorian” airline, Konstantin Shubin, the chief of the Loco medical staff, was able to fly out of Kazan – they simply forgot to charge him for additional baggage. On the other hand, “Victory” is far from the worst option. When I remember how much I have been owed for almost a year for allegedly return tickets of Ural Airlines, my heart pours alternately with blood and tears…

In Sochi, the team went to have lunch at the Radisson Blue Hotel. They did not pull Pashutin by the ears to match his height, if not with Andrei Martyuk, then at least with Vladislav Yemchenko, but they handed him a cake with a candle.

The weather in Sochi was windy – but still “+6” next to the sea is not “-12” in Kazan and without the sea. Therefore, almost all the players, coaches and staff took advantage of the two-hour opportunity to scare the seagulls on the shore and enrich the permitted and conditionally prohibited social networks with Aivazov motives.

After that, the team tried out a new type of transport for themselves this season – an ordinary train. Before that, we went in the “swallow”, buying a whole car – but still, it is much more comfortable for the players than trying to sit on two chairs in the train. As a result, the experiment was recognized as more than successful – the Americans, for whom such a close acquaintance with the activities of the title sponsor of the team was the first, did not hide their excellent mood.

Well, the Russian players decided not to waste time and actively developed a very important skill of lightning-fast decision-making. Or rather, they played poker. I must say, the overall level of the team in terms of the skills of this intellectual game has grown noticeably in recent months – and, I think, in the summer, some of its representatives can quite be tried in the top league, that is, in Krasnaya Polyana.

Here, for example, is such a distribution of those that were played somewhere in the area of the Hot Key. The one of the readers who will give the clearest and correct answer in the comments under the repost of this article in the social networks “Loco” will receive two tickets to the super match with “Pari NN” on February 7.

Blinds are 25-50, four players, all have working stacks of about 2000, player C (according to the team, the strongest at the table) has about 5000. Player C opens the bidding with a bet of 250, everything is discarded, player A from the big blind with a jack-ten hearts hand delivers 200. Flop – king and seven of hearts, three of diamonds. Player A checks, player C bets 500. Player A calls. The turn is the four of diamonds. Player A checks, player C bets 700. Player A – call. River jack of diamonds. Player A puts an all-inn – that is, his remaining 550. Question: Is player A acting correctly (the answer needs to be argued)?

Shortly before midnight, the train rolled into the bustle of the Krasnodar railway station. The players were met by a bus with the formidable Ivan Paunich on board and a legendary driver, part of the club’s history – Yura. Another 30 minutes through the night city – and the team finally docked at the “Basket Hall”. The players scattered to their cars, and your talkative author received the strictest task from head coach Alexander Sekulich and general manager Ivan Novchich for all the remaining days before the match with Pari NN to eat, sleep and dance bachata in a fashionable and, most importantly, a Tartan tie.

That’s the end of the fairy tale. And who has already bought tickets for Pari NN and CSKA – well done!

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