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Taxi for Wilson

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Jul 01, 2007

One of the great things about writing this column is that I get to put across my side of the story. For the past couple of months, I have been seen driving around the country in a black cab. The story to offer an explanation for this ended up being that I had won it in a poker game, and along with taking all of the guy's money, I also took his livelihood. In some ways, I wish it were true, but as friends have pointed out, I've not been winning much lately.

The truth is that it was actually a gift for my 50th birthday, which was not something I was keen to admit.

This isn't just a toy, but a useful way of travelling across London quickly, if a little expensively sometimes. Whilst travelling from Mill Studios to London Studios recently, I paid another cab so that I could follow him.

London Studios was the venue for the second Ladbrokes European Ladies Championship. It's a televised event, but is played in a multitable structure with one televised feature table. I don't wish to start the whole ladies-only debate, except to say, why wouldn't you want to play when the winner was awarded a seat in the Poker Million? Forty-eight players made up of online qualifiers, journalists, the better halves of two Poker Million winners, and a strong field of professionals participated. Liz Lieu, Lucy Rokach, Veronika Larson, and Katharine Hartree were among them, and Jen Mason proved that not only does she know what she is writing about, but she also has a strong game, finishing a creditable fourth. After working her way to the chip lead, she lost two races, but has to be pleased with her play.

When heads up, Jackie Meecham fought her way back from a 3-1 chip disadvantage to take the money and the seat in the Poker Million.

While travelling home, I first took Jesse May and his lovely wife, Mickey, to stay at a friend's home. Another reason to own a cab was that it was transporting four suitcases, three laptops, a Dane, an American, and two Englishmen. There has to be a story there.

After staying for lunch, I asked Sam, the host, if I could fill up my flask for the drive home.

"Sure, but I only have cognac," he replied.

After a few minutes of confusion, and clearing up the whole American/English hilarity of the different meaning of words, flask and thermos, I left. With a flask of tea, I did wonder whether Sam was merely being a polite host or thought I needed a flask of whiskey for my three-hour drive home.

With a relatively free month ahead, I can begin preparations for the World Series of Poker. Once again, I will be hosting the Ladbrokes players lounge, which will be twice as big as last year, and a full range of entertainment will be on offer for the players and their guests. As requested, the gold bracelet event will be amongst new games and quizzes, and the prizes will be along the lines of cruise tickets. I'm not sure how to explain the concept of an It's a Knockout competition, but I have been assured that anything is possible in Vegas.
Mad Marty Wilson is a professional gambler and poker consultant for Matchroom Sport.