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Paddy's Corner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Aug 01, 2006


Strange, strange things happen in the mind of a poker player, particularly an Irish one. Sometimes, you don't have to be Irish to understand, but it helps!

Some players put a lot of thought into choosing their online username; some don't. This is the story of one who falls into both categories, a rare breed. Our hero, Rory Liffey, was in such a hurry to play on his chosen site that he gave his imagination a day off (I wish he did this more often) and signed up under the username Liffey. I suppose some of his opponents would assume Liffey referred to the river on which Dublin is built, and whose waters give Irish-made Guinness its unique flavor (although if you've ever smelt the Liffey on a hot summer's day, you'd never drink again), but it's more likely they'd think, "Oh, it's my lucky day, it must be Rory Liffey!" Rory discovered that playing as Liffey wasn't a great cover story, but he's a man who learns from his mistakes (although being Irish, it takes him a hell of a long time). So, when he signed up for two other sites, which were skins of the original site, his imagination went into overdrive and he chose the names Biffo (this is an acronym for Big Ignorant blank From Offlay, his home county) and Jiffo (which isn't an acronym for anything, but Rory claims Jiffo is Biffo's cousin).

Rory went through a phase of playing one-table sit-and-gos for weeks on end as Liffey. I was watching him play one day from afar (why, I have no idea) when I saw a strange sight: Liffey won a pot and an online observer remarked "Well-played, Liffey." The alleged observer was none other than our friend, Biffo! Rory had discovered that although he obviously couldn't play against himself, he could talk to himself by logging in on the different skins leading to the site, and applaud and comment on his own play. It was sort of a cheap "rent a fan" scheme.

I never told Rory that I spotted this going on, and was rewarded for my silence by having the privilege of witnessing one of the strangest and funniest scenarios in the entire history of online poker! I tuned in one day to observe the Liffey show. Liffey was in good shape in a sit-and-go, and stuck one of his opponents in on the turn in a pretty big pot. His opponent disconnected, was ruled all in, and won the pot on the river as a result, because it's unlikely he would have called Liffey's bet with the garbage he had. Now the chat started in earnest: Liffey insinuated that his opponent's disconnection had been a little fortuitous. His opponent got the needle and argued that he didn't do things like that and resented the insinuation. Now, the pot got bigger … Biffo joined the fray at full speed. Biffo didn't bother with insinuating; he came straight out and called the guy a cheat. He was swiftly joined in the chat by Jiffo, who, not surprisingly, was of the same opinion. The debate got heated. Although outnumbered and facing a ferocious onslaught, Liffey's opponent stood his ground and manfully protested his innocence; so much so, that Liffey (I discovered later) had a rethink and remembered he'd played with the guy lots of times and this problem had never occurred before, and stated that he fully accepted that the disconnection was an accident. End of story – nearly. Although Liffey was happy enough, Biffo and Jiffo weren't convinced, and continued to call the guy a cheat. I swear to God this is true. The sit-and-go continued with Liffey and his opponent teaming up against Biffo and Jiffo in an increasingly heated argument that ended only when Liffey knocked the guy out and won the money. I'd give anything to watch the rematch!

Full houses for the homeless

I've had the good fortune to be present at all of Irish poker's great nights, and the recent Simon Poker Day (a charity tournament for the homeless) is right up there with the best of them. The event was added on to the Boyles Sports/Poker Events major weekend in the City West Hotel. All of the Irish poker community got involved. As well as the generous support from the weekend sponsors, enthusiastic donations and assistance were given by Paddy Power, Victor Chandler, Sporting Odds, the Merrion Club, and a host of others. The poker media also provided tremendous support, which will be of great assistance in our efforts to reach our target of eventually raising a million for the homeless.

Heart and Irish poker are often mentioned in the same sentence, and if anybody ever doubted it, he should have been there. But we got raised on our home soil by the old enemy: the Brits! The Irish and the English confuse a lot of people by hanging tight together on the road, and our poker friends from across the water turned up in huge numbers to support the event. The list of honorary members of the Irish team continues to grow.

Padraig's thoughts on this year's WSOP can be found twice weekly at: