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Paddy's Corner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Sep 01, 2005


Top European Achievements at the WSOP So Far
It's two weeks into the World Series of Poker and there have been some absolutely wonderful performances by Europeans. Normally, the best performances get announced last, but not in this column. The best performance so far, and probably the best performance of this entire event, is awarded to Padraig Parkinson for his heroic achievement in persuading Andy Black not to play the Omaha eight-or-better tournament. Andy has a degree in law from Trinity College, Dublin, and is one of Ireland's best no-limit hold'em tournament players, but don't let that fool you. When that World Series frenzy grabs him, he's as big a fool as the rest of us. Twenty-four hours seems an awful long time in Las Vegas, and a negative expectation of something like 75 percent didn't seem insurmountable to our hero when faced with the alternative of waiting for a better spot.

The second-best achievement is won jointly by Barny Boatman and Pascal Perrault for ignoring the realities of the situation and entering the same event. While both of these guys are quite capable of doing Europe proud in a hold'em event, I considered their chances in a technical event similar to Mr. Black's, and they demonstrated how good a judge I am by both making the money. Good luck to them. Last but not least, let us not forget Jeff Duvall, not alone for almost winning the Omaha eight-or-better event, but also for convincing every American journalist present that he is Irish.

Lost in Translation
It's very advisable these days to carry a tape recorder around in Las Vegas, just to make sure you've got a record of every conversation you've had in the course of a day. That's what the World Series of Poker has become since the suits and the bloggers have taken over. Now, I like poker blogs. I read The Camel, Miros, and Bad Beat Channing religiously, and at least one of their efforts is definitely the work of a completely deranged mind; they're hysterical. But being a suspicious type of character and thus feeling that treachery is never too far from an Englishman's heart, I wondered what was in it for the blogger. I mean, who'd dispense so much pleasure and expect nothing in return? Well, nobody, as I've recently discovered.

The following event occurred in the Rio, site of the World Series of Poker. I bumped into Neil "Bad Beat" Channing and the conversation went as follows.

"Hello, Padraig."

"Hello, Neil."

Channing then scanned the room to make sure people were aware we were in conversation. "You must be delighted to hear that United have signed Vandersaar."

"Yes, indeed, I am. It's high time we got a decent goalkeeper."

"Well, I'll bid you good day, then."

Within 24 hours, Neil was reporting our conversation in his blog, but things had changed slightly. Gone was the good news of Manchester United's goalkeeper problem being solved, and it was replaced by an assault on the ever-popular Marcel Luske, and Americans in general. I don't know whether Marcel knocked Channing out of a tournament, or maybe Neil just likes music, but the conversation now became:

Padraig: "Doesn't Marcel look like a complete idiot with his sunglasses upside-down?"

Neil: "Oh, I don't think so. I'm very fond of him myself. I think they look great."

Padraig: "The current batch of Americans must be particularly dumb to equate a man not knowing which way to put his sunglasses on with an abundance of personality."

Neil: "I don't agree with you there, Padraig. I think the Americans are a very bright and astute race, and I'm very happy to have been allowed into their country."

There's no such thing as a free lunch. There's no such thing as a free blog or a free laugh, and I suppose Vandersaar isn't really coming to old Trafford, either.

The Devil Moves into the '90s

Las Vegas was stunned recently when the Devilfish, Dave Ulliott, broke all American all-comers records when he paid Julian Gardner $4,000 for his laptop computer. Many thought the Devilfish had gone over the edge, and there are even those who thought he was over the edge before this. But then it dawned on me. The fish has probably pulled off the greatest coup of the millennium so far. First of all, Julian Gardner's computer has far better winning form than any horse the Devilfish has ever backed, as half the population of Lingkoping will testify. For that alone it's probably worth a fortune. Julian Gardner's got a World Series record people would kill for. If John Lennon's piano went for over a million and one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars fetched two hundred thousand, how much is Julian's computer worth? The Devilfish may never have to win again.

Padraig Parkinson is well-known on the European poker scene, both for his poker prowess and sense of humour. He was but one bluff away from winning the 1999 WSOP, but unfortunately got called. Padraig co-authored the manual The Secrets of Online Power Poker, available at