Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Is Change a Good Thing?

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Mar 02, 2009


Irish Poker ChampionshipSome people will tell you change is a good thing and change is always for the better. But there were no changes in the poker world at the end of 2008, as Marty Smyth proved that class comes to the top, when he devoured five other people in the Ladbrokes Poker Million final. At one stage he dropped to as low as fifteen thousand with the blinds at five and ten thousand, and a total of 1.6 million chips in play. Some people say the fragrance from a puma's sweat in the mating season is the most alluring odour you can ever smell. No poker player will ever get close to that smell, and no poker player can ever get close to Marty Smyth. At the moment he is unbelievable. He is firing on all six cylinders.

Ireland destroyed the Poker Million with Irish players coming first, second, third, and fourth. So what do I want to do at the start of a new year? I want to jump on a plane and go and play in Dublin. The tournament was the Leprechaun European Poker Open, which was staged at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Dublin airport. This was held for the first time with 138 runners, and was organised by the well-known Derek "The Clamper" and his co-worker Bru. What a fantastic job they did for their first attempt. The venue was brilliant, the tournament was well run, and it took three days to complete. Then I find myself on a bus traveling from Dublin to Galway. This ride took four-and-a-half hours, stopping 32 times to load and unload people. For the last two years I have gone to Galway to celebrate New Year's Eve, and it's getting bigger and bigger. This year more than 35 of us sat down for the evening meal, including great poker names like Padraig Parkinson, Kenna James, Marty Smyth, and the legendary Mike Sexton. And who popped up an hour late but the one and only Surindar Sunar.

How dumb am I to think that I can go to Ireland and win money with some of the greatest players that have ever been created, and funnily enough they were all turning up for the Irish Poker Championship at the Radisson hotel in Galway. I played like an absolute lion; I was in and out of every pot while trying to copy the spirit of the Irish by never showing a sign of weakness. But it doesn't work for "Mad" Marty who will only ever contribute his money to the great players of Ireland. I ran my queens into A-10 and invariably he hit two aces, and just to rub it in the river came a 10.

But the highlight of my entire trip to Ireland was the fact that I'm involved with the Poker for the Homeless charity tournament which has been going for three years and has raised almost €140,000 for the homeless people in Ireland. It was my pleasure to do the opening speech just to be a part of this great event.

Tournament organiser boss Fintan Gavin kindly donated €28,000 from his own pocket after an error had been uncovered in the main event chip total. Fintan stood up and said it was the organisers' fault and he would shoulder all responsibility. This, in my opinion, is the greatest gesture ever shown at a poker tournament. For the first time where a mistake has been made, the organiser has come forward and said this is our mistake we will pay, and put his hand in his own pocket and gave it back to the poker player. If only there were more Fintan Gavin's in the poker world, it would be a better place for everyone.

The only bad news I had was on my arrival back home. For seven weeks I had a fridge freezer standing in my veranda with a sign saying, "free to a good home". The fridge freezer was perfectly good and all I wanted to do was give it to someone who might need it. So on the day I left to go to Ireland I turned round the sign and put, "For Sale £75". If I couldn't give it away then maybe I could sell it. But on arriving at Dublin airport there was a message on my phone left by my son saying, "Dad, someone has broken into the veranda and stolen the freezer". How strange is this world we live in? By the way, they caused £135 worth of damage to the lock.

Mad Marty Wilson is a professional gambler and poker consultant for Matchroom Sport.