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Paddy's Corner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Jul 01, 2007

For the love of the game
I was a world-class soccer player as a teenager. A little unluckily, the world-class bit applied only to my enthusiasm. Due to a serious lack of communication between my brain and my limbs (which was later to extend to my mouth), I was somewhere between pretty bad and terrible, depending on what kind of form I was in. It didn't really matter. I loved it. The beauty of soccer is that whether you are playing at the Nou Camp or on a pitch with a slope, it's the same great game.

That this also applies to poker was brought home to me by two phone calls I got in rapid succession. The first was to tell me that there will be a player-friendly World Series of Poker Europe tournament in London in September. I'll be delighted if I'm playing in it, as that would mean I haven't gone skint in Vegas. The second was from a friend of mine who was about to go down to his local pub in Wexford to have a few pints and play its €20 hold'em tournament, which has an interesting structure. Rebuys are allowed until the pub is officially closed and the doors locked. From this point, the tournament becomes a freezeout, though the drinking remains a rebuy event. I'm going to give this one a spin for sure!

There's nothing like a bit of a needle to keep the game interesting. It's hard to pick between the following three:

Phil Hellmuth: On hearing that he was only the third favourite behind The Devil Fish and Roland De Wolfe in the betting on the recent PartyPoker/MatchroomSports Premier League, he said, "Roland De Wolfe? Who's Roland De Wolfe? The last time I saw that guy, he was interviewing me!"

Mike Matusow:
At Bellagio in the recent World Poker Tour Championship event, Mike was sitting behind a mound of chips back-to-back with Chau Giang, who was short-stacked and made the mistake of asking Matusow what was good for a sick stomach. Mike replied, "I don't know what's good for a bad stomach, but if I had only 30,000 in chips, my stomach probably wouldn't be too good, either!"

John Duthie: John was being interviewed for a Scandinavian site at a recent European Poker Tour event, during which he was asked who in his opinion is the best tournament player in the world. He instantly replied: "The player Andy Black thinks he is." Ouch!

Role reversal
Poker in Dublin wasn't always played in the luxury of today. The Jackpot Club used to be such a dump that you had to like it. It was situated in an alleyway beside an old abattoir, though it did have the considerable advantage of being within a short stagger of Ryan's Pub. On the negative side, it was the only club in which I had to borrow an umbrella in order to compete in one particular tournament without getting drowned. I was sitting beside a co-owner of the club at the time who was getting only a little bit wet due to a favourable draw. Inasmuch as he'd been a plumber in a previous life, I did mention to him that the conditions were a tad uncomfortable, but he put my mind at rest by telling me that we would be one of the first tables to be broken. We weren't - but that's all part of the game.

I recently was reminded of an incident that occurred there some time ago. We were playing a cash game at a table that didn't require any umbrellas at all. I was seated opposite to a player who was without a doubt the most unpopular player in Ireland at the time (he later went on to become one of the most unpopular players in the history of the Victoria Club in London, so he did redeem himself somewhat). The club had a very sophisticated air-conditioning system, consisting of one portable fan that was at that time on a ledge between our poker table and a blackjack table, right above the head of Mr. Popular. Obviously, inasmuch as the poker players were paying only four quid an hour and the blackjack players were doing their absolute cobblers on a regular basis, the cold air was blowing toward the blackjack table, which was considered only fair by one and all. Then, one of the most amazing things happened: The fan fell and landed on Mr. Popular's head. Before I had a chance to laugh, one of the players piped up, "This must be the first time in the history of poker that the fan has hit the s---!"