Poker Heroes, Theo's Dad, And Phil Hellmuth
by Padraig Parkinson | Published: Sep 24, '12
Over the last ten years I’ve played poker, drank beer and had a lot of laughs with Theo Jorgensen. A great player who stands out like a beacon in a world largely populated by bots, he constantly knocks the dour Scandies myth out of the ballpark. At work or at play, his sense of humour just cracks me up. I recently found out where he gets it from.
Theo was due to play the final table at the WPT Paris last week. Before the start of play, I was hanging out with Jesse May and Mike Sexton who told me about Theo’s Dad. Apparently he’s Theo’s biggest fan and fancies himself as a bit of a player himself. Don’t we all?
Every time Theo makes a final, his Dad flies in at the last minute to catch a bit of a buzz. On one occasion, Theo has a big chip lead going into a final and his father has told his colleagues that he will not be making it to work on Monday if Theo wins. If you’re superstitious, that’s not good news!
Anyway, things didn’t go too good for Theo. He went from chip leader to tiny stack. There’s a break and Theo sees his dad approaching. He’s expecting an arm around the shoulder and a “you can still win” pep talk. Instead, his Dad points at his watch and says “If I leave now I can catch the last flight and go to work tomorrow.”
The first event of WSOP Europe in Cannes was a pretty dour event. I met a few very nice people I’d never played with before, and also a lot of people I wouldn’t like to sit beside on a transatlantic flight without undergoing extensive parachute training beforehand.
Enter Phil Hellmuth.
Whether you like him (I do) or hate him (lots do) you can’t ignore the guy and you’ve got to admit he’s good for the game in a way Slim was years ago. Anyway, Phil doesn’t show until after the dinner break. He waited till we were all seated before making his grand entrance which was a bit of a damp squib because his table was right inside the door. He compensated by making noise for four hours. At one stage, he had his jacket draped over his shoulders and one of the guys told him he looked like Caesar. He was delighted even when I told him that being compared to a salad wasn’t exactly a compliment.
On Day 2, I was seated a couple of tables away from Phil which is close enough to catch the full show. If Phil was an opera singer nobody would buy tickets to the show because you could hear him for free outside. He had me entertained for hours with the usual “I can’t believe you tried to give me all your chips”, “I thought all the guys who played like you were broke years ago”, “Keep playing A-J like that against me and I’ll have all your chips”, etc. etc. Rinse and repeat. It was great!
Eventually Roberto Romanello bluffed him and showed it. Phil wasn’t a happy bunny and went a bit nuts. Roberto doesn’t take any shit so he countered with “I respect you Phil but you have to admit you played that particular hand very badly”. Apparently, Phil didn’t think he had to admit anything of the sort so instead decided to call Roberto a moron. Half an hour later, they were still at it when I got knocked out. I’d have loved to hang about to catch the end of it but I was busy looking for a cat to kick.
If 888’s Matan doesn’t win this event for the nice guys, I hope Roberto does. He’s good for the game!