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Paddy's Corner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Aug 01, 2005


What Do You Think You Have?
In 2000, a Frenchman, called GDG, traveled to Las Vegas for his first World Series of Poker. GDG was a guy with many talents, but with a question mark over his application. I waited with great interest to see how he performed against the world's best, because I felt that, with a good following wind, he might give the Americans a run for their money. It would certainly be entertaining. GDG gave one of the no-limit hold'em tournaments a good lash as a warm-up for the big one.

I'm not sure whether he made the money or not, but he was still around at the business end, and though things then went a little wrong, it gave him great confidence for the big one.

In the main event, everything started very well. GDG was playing at the same table as one of the greats, Dan Harrington, and he was relishing the competition. GDG played a huge pot against Harrington, in which GDG held 7-6, with a flop of 5-4-3. The nuts didn't change and GDG managed to get all of his money in on the river, and was called by Action Dan. GDG turned over his 7-6, only to find, to his horror, that he actually held 8-7. Well, these things happen. I've done it myself. Drunk, sober, tilted, untilted, every now and again we all misread our hand. I felt genuinely sorry for GDG that the day he did this happened to be the biggest day of his poker life.

A couple of days later, I woke up in Binion's with a serious "I got knocked out of the World Series two days ago" hangover. I didn't know who was still in the tournament, and I certainly didn't care. I wandered through Binion's in search of water, which I found in the gift shop, and then strolled into the poker room just in time to see one of the most talked about hands in the history of poker. I don't know who finished sixth, fifth, fourth, or third, but when I got into the poker room, only Chris Ferguson and T.J. Cloutier were left in the main event. Ferguson had raised with A-9 and T.J. had moved all in with A-Q. After some thought, Ferguson called him and hit a 9 on the river to win the world championship.

Several hours later, I had taken refuge in the bar at Bellagio and was drinking with GDG. GDG had had plenty of champagne and, being French, had completely forgotten about his 8-7 and now wished to discuss Ferguson's play. He talked me through the hand, even though I'd told him twice that I'd already seen it. Finally, GDG opened his arms and asked, "How can he call this bet with A-9?" It seemed like GDG expected a reply, and the only one I could think of was, "Maybe he thought he had A-K."

World Series Predictions

Prediction No. 1: This year's world champion won't be as good for poker as last year's was. Greg Raymer is a class act. He's been a marvelous ambassador for poker who's dealt patiently and eloquently with journalists and fans every time I've seen him in both Europe and America. Raymer is a humble guy who loves and respects the game. Looking at the TV shows of last year's WSOP, I cringe to think about what might have happened, had the tournament been won by one of those guys who displayed a complete disregard for sportsmanship, and a complete disrespect for their opponents. As long as that kind of boorish behavior is tolerated, and indeed encouraged, by some of the TV people, it is only a matter of time before the person who wins the world championship is someone who drags the game back 10 years.

Prediction No. 2: Somebody's going to get knocked out, literally, during this year's event. Just because tournament directors and TV people haven't clamped down on unsportsmanlike behavior, it doesn't mean the players can't clamp down on it themselves. If someone has beaten you in a pot and is dancing around in your face like he's just performed a heroic feat, feel free to take the following steps: If the guy is bigger than you, take one step back, pick up your chair, and hit him over the head. Continue to do so until he goes down. If the guy is smaller than you, do exactly the same, but be quicker, because that might be his plan, as well.

Prediction No. 3: Some guy is going to crack at a major tournament in the next three years and shoot an unsporting opponent. In my opinion, no jury in the world will convict him.

Padraig Parkinson is well-known on the European poker scene, both for his poker prowess and his 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