Irish Open, Daniel's Pint and a Punting Lesson From Phil
by Padraig Parkinson | Published: Apr 15, '12
If you thought the Irish were exaggerating about how skint we are, 20 minutes in the Burlington before the start of the Irish Open would have put you right. The satellite area had all the excitement you’d associate with a dentists waiting room while the bar, normally a happy spot on these occasions, was empty except for some coffee drinkers who wouldn’t know a good cup of coffee if you spilt one on them.
Outside, the talk was all about the previous evening’s super satellite. The first 35 players won a €3,500 seat while 36th prize was 2100. Apparently, with 36 runners remaining the top 35 guys each paid the 36th guy 20 euro to go away. He did. Previous champion Ivan Donaghy, who got a seat, ruefully remarked that he wished he’d volunteered to take the cash and gone home with it in his ass pocket. Optimism was never Ivan’s strong suit though on this occasion he was proved right!
I stopped off in the lobby to listen to the excellent gospel singers who were doing their stuff. They showed their poker knowledge by bashing out “River Deep Mountain High” which seemed quite appropriate. On entering the cardroom, I was surprised to see that over 500 players had shown up.
A good effort in the circumstances.
Bad news is everyone was playing for their lives, though the craic was still good even if some of the visiting online pros were too consumed with their own brilliance to really get it. The coverage online included live interviews and comments from the tables. One of the roving reporters, Tom Kitt, asked me about the Americans. I told him that I was surprised to see Erik Lindgren around as he had done a famous interview after losing to Scotty a few years ago in which he said he couldn’t even beat a drunk guy. Why then was he over here trying to beat 500 of them? I have to admit Tom fed me the punchline in advance. I loved it.
All good things come to an end and seven hours later I was again in the lobby. Luckily, the gospel singers were gone so I didn’t get the opportunity to tell them what they could do with their fucking River Deep Mountain High. Thank God for that.
I must have taken a wrong turn cause I finished up in the bar. I was in good company and eventually ended up having a beer with Daniel Negreanu. A couple of nights previously I’d talked Dan Harrington into visiting the 888 sponsored Voodoo Card Club to meet the local players and that had gone down a bomb with the punters. Who knows who they thought he was.
I suggested to Daniel that we pop down there the following afternoon. Pro and good lad that he is, he instantly agreed. How was I supposed to know the club wasn’t open on Saturday afternoons? It got sorted anyway. We brought Neil Channing along in case anybody wanted someone to listen to. The Voodoo was packed and the two boys were a credit to themselves and the game as they were a class act.
After about an hour, I suggested to Daniel that we go to Nealon’s pub around the corner for a pint. On the way, he noticed we’d lost Channing. I had to explain that the reason Mars had not yet challenged Earth to a talking contest was because they knew that as long as Neil was alive they’d have no fucking chance so there was nothing to worry about really.
A few pints and a few stories later, we went back to the Burlington. Daniel left a full pint behind him which Eamonn Connolly took possession of and headed for the Voodoo. At the door he was told that he should know better than to bring in pints but in a moment of unexpected genius, he said it was Daniel’s pint and he was going to auction it off for charity. This worked well though there was no auction. He lost the run of himself and drank it. Oh well.
The next day was US Masters final day. There was a big turnout to watch it on the telly in the bar. Mr Hellmuth joined us and gave us a very useful sports betting lesson. Marty Smyth did bookie and Phil had a couple of bets with him so he could have a sweat. Now we have all heard all the (true) stories about guys having a winning bet with a bookie on the race track only to find the bookie has legged it to the car park when the horses were at the 2 furlong pole. Phil did the reverse of this trick. He disappeared with 6 holes remaining, one of his guys won and he never showed up to collect. How this guy has won eight bracelets, I will never know.
I hung around the next afternoon to spend a very enjoyable hour or so having the craic with two grand lads, Adam and Mike, doing what passed for an interview on the 2+2 pokercast. There was a great buzz in the bar where a loud crowd was watching the final table. Then, Andy Black got coolered and the place emptied. I’ve seen Andy empty bars before but not quite like that!
That was it for me too and I headed home. When I got there, I read an interview Eoghan O’Dea had done where he said getting knocked out of an EPT was no big deal as there was another one just around the corner but the _Irish Open _only comes around once a year. Merde.