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Poker in a war zone

Darryl Snoddy might be the reigning king of the understatement.

"Life out here is a lot different from back in the UK," he told us recently.

Think on that for a moment as you consider the fact that Snoddy is currently serving in Afghanistan. His job? He goes out with six other men each working day and clears the roads and paths of explosives. He's on the lookout for the infamous IED, an improvised explosive device. In short, at any moment, he could get blown up, and it's his job to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else.

Any of us in our less-stressful jobs might go out for a pint to blow off steam at the end of a hard week. We might see a movie. We might even play a little poker. But for Snoddy and his fellow soliders, it wasn't so easy. Apart from a coffee shop and pizza joint around Camp Bastion, there are not many reminders of the comforts of home.

"Most of the time not working is spent either watching films on laptops, or the complete opposite, spending time in the gym," he said.

It was the best he could do under the circumstances, but it still didn't fit the bill. Among the things he missed the most was playing cards.

"We had a few games but with rubbish cards and resources, it just wasnt the same," Snoddy said.

And so Snoddy did what any resourceful military man might do. He went to the source: PokerStars.

Snoddy got on Twitter and caught the attention of PokerStars' staff.

"We're always seeing tweets about people wanting chip sets, but we noticed the tweet from Darryl in November obviously for different reasons," said Adam Field, PokerStars' social media chief. "We appreciated that with Christmas fast approaching, it would be a nice treat for the troops serving in Afghanistan to enjoy a proper game of poker while away from their families over the holiday period."

This is what happened next.

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That's the game Snoddy put together in his barracks with PokerStars' help.

"The stuff that has been sent has been a massive help. I've handed out the t-shirts to a few of the lads. The chips and cards just make it a better game for us all enjoy," Snoddy said. "We try to play once every few nights. It just give us all a little down time to relax and have a good game of cards."

Now Snoddy has just a couple more months on tour before he and his fellow bomb hunters can rotate out to a safer place.

Here's to continued run-good for all of them.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

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