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Mad Marty's Wild Card

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Jul 06, 2005


Great Company Makes for a Quality Time

Two days before the $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship, I was seated in the luxury of Bellagio, talking to a player who was explaining to me how he had been invited to an exclusive party at a notoriously difficult-to-get-into nightclub in Las Vegas. As more and more players arrived, he felt less exclusive, but as he still felt obliged to enjoy himself, he dutifully spent $1,000 at the bar. I explained that while he was sipping $300-a-bottle champagne and not able to find a decent conversation even if he could've heard what was being said, I had made my way across the road to the Barbary Coast, where you could get two-for-the-price-of-one drink vouchers. I realized they had a karaoke on, and after my fifth voucher, I had talked myself into the fact that I was Neil Diamond and got up to sing Sweet Caroline and Cracklin' Rose.

Bellagio is a different grade to anything that I had been accustomed to, but after three good days in the cash games, I was feeling a little more comfortable. Padraig Parkinson gave me some good advice, to leave the poker alone the day before I played in the main event and go into it on a high and feeling good about my game. That was good advice, although Padraig didn't follow it up with what to do with my time – as he played on Monday and I started on Tuesday … ask him! I found myself at the pool with Ram Vaswani, Simon Trumper, and their respective better halves Jackie and Mathilde. We arranged to go out, and after Ram had treated us to a meal, I generously paid for us all to go 10-pin bowling. Ram, once a snooker player, showed us some trick shots, and Simon saw a different side to Mathilde as she hurled the ball with such a force that you could pit her in any arm-wrestling competition.

After being knocked out of the tournament on Wednesday, I moved downtown to the Plaza, where I could walk across the road to the Golden Gate for the graveyard-shift steak and eggs, with plenty of toast to dip into my eggs.

Somehow, I have the reputation along the lines of the little boy who cried wolf. When I was in Amsterdam two years ago, I was telling the cardroom about the parrots across the road in Vondel Park and everyone thought I had taken the phrase "When in Rome" to the extreme. The next day, I saw Ram and Carlo Citrone and persuaded them to come to the park to see the parrots. After an hour, they gave up and were swearing never to fall for another one of my tales again when Ram's wife, Jackie, spotted a parrot flying into a tree. Sometimes the most unbelievable stories are true, even bad beats, so you will believe me when I tell you that during my stay in Vegas, I stood in a snowstorm having a snowball fight in shorts and a T-shirt. John "Schofe" Sheffield and his wife, Fiona, had taken us for a day out in the mountains, and at an elevation of 8,000 feet, we reached our destination, The Lodge, which is set among $1 million cabins, pine trees, and snow, which had begun to fall as we parked up. After a few minutes of childishness, the fresh air hit our eyes and lungs and they demanded the more familiar surroundings of a smoky bar. We rounded off the day by meeting my old friend poker player Aidan Bennet at an English bar, where we had fish and chips with Newcastle Brown Ale. Who says the English don't embrace new cultures?

Good luck, and don't forget, there ain't no party without Mad Marty!

"Mad Marty" Wilson is a professional poker player from Wolverhampton. He is a poker consultant for Matchroom Sports and is sponsored by Noble Poker. Marty tutors players through his website,