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Paddy's Corner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Dec 31, 2008

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An Imperfect Science

We've all been there. It's time to make a move. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a bunch of customers about whom we know somewhere between very little and nothing. But before we pile in, there are a few clues as to whom we should select as our victim. Nationality, age, sex, choice of clothing, body language, and bits and pieces of chat may sometimes be misleading. But in a crisis, it may be all you've got, so you've just got to go with it for better or for worse.

The pickpocketing business and tournament poker have a lot in common. If you read the situation correctly, great things can happen. If you don't, you've taken a big risk for little or no reward with a big downside. Anytime you're feeling down because you're getting your decisions wrong, think about the poor pickpockets and muggers who've made life-changing mistakes on the streets of Barcelona over the years.

A few years ago, Paul Parker and his sidekick Lawrence were getting a good touch at one of the festivals in the fantastic Gran Casino Barcelona. When they emerged from the casino late one night, they came to the attention of a couple of local muggers. Faced with a choice, Lawrence was the chosen victim and his attackers vanished into the night with the £1,500 he had in his pocket. They were probably delighted, but would have been sick if they'd known that Paul was carrying about 25 grand!

Recently, Jesse May phoned me from Barcelona and told me he'd been robbed in the street and his wallet had been taken by his attackers. I burst out laughing because I figured if they got any more than €20 in cash from Jesse, they could consider themselves quite lucky, as Jesse is a great believer in credit cards. It turned out I was wrong, as Jesse had the princely sum of €70 in his wallet, so I presume he was carrying someone else's bankroll as well.

Freddy DeebSeconds before he had his pockets dipped, Jesse had been talking to Freddy Deeb. In fact, so professional was the operation that Freddy assumed the guys who had surrounded Jesse were friends of his. When he found out that Jesse had in fact been robbed, Freddy was the happiest guy in Spain, and was offering to give Jesse as much money as he needed. Freddy would feel naked if he went for a coffee with less than 10 grand in his pocket, and on this occasion had taken the precaution of having 50 thousand on him just in case a favourable gambling situation arose. It did, but just not for him!

Lest They Forget

Steve Davis may be a six-time snooker world champion, but he spends so much of his time playing poker in Ireland that he's just treated as one of the boys. He was in Dublin recently to play an exhibition match with our own Ken Doherty and found time to pop into the Fitz for a game. He had a great story. Ken has his own practice room in the Radisson Hotel, and had of course invited Steve to use his table when it suited him. So Steve went to the hotel and presented himself at the front desk. He politely informed the guy that he was there to play on Ken's table. The guy at the desk had no idea who he was, and told him that Mr. Doherty did indeed have a table in the hotel, but it wasn't open to members of the public.

But in the true spirit of Irish hospitality, he very kindly told Steve that if he could find someone to cover for him, he'd take him down and give him a look at the table. Steve said later that this is when he should have told him who he used to be, but he was enjoying the craic far too much to spoil it!

Padraig Parkinson is well-known on the European poker scene, both for his poker prowess and sense of humour. He was one bluff away from winning the 1999 World Series of Poker, but unfortunately got called. Padraig Parkinson plays at and is sponsored by BoylePoker.com.