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


The Pupil Taught the Tutor

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Oct 01, 2009


by “Mad Marty” Wilson

I dedicate this story to Peter Vassilou, and after you witness the turbo heat for the upcoming Full Tilt Poker Million on Sky Sports, I think you will understand why.
In 1963, I was a six-year-old infant child who attended Elston Hall Junior School in Wolverhampton. We had the hardest school teacher that had ever walked the floorboards, a Mr. William Humphries. He was tough and when we went into registration on a Monday morning he would ask which pupils were having school dinners, because they had to pay. Mr. Humphries would call the names out and he’d write them in his book. Then he would ask who was bringing a packed lunch, and he’d write the names in his book. And finally he used to twist up his face and, with a growling voice, would say, “Who is having free benefit dinners?” I would put my hand up. It was hard for me in those days. I was only six and my mother was 19. My grandmother was only 35 and there was no money in the Wilson household. So I had to have free school dinners. But Mr. Humphries would say, “Wilson! You’re gonna earn your free dinners.” 
Luxor Las Vegas
We had a school of more than 1,000 pupils. Mr. Humphries used to make me carry all the milk crates across the playground and stack them up outside the storeroom. This was while the other children were in assembly. He used to sit and spy on me through the storeroom window, smoking his Embassy cigarettes. One November morning, the whole playground was iced over and Mr. Humphries had slipped inside the storeroom. He dropped his cigarette in the waste paper bin and knocked himself unconscious. The storeroom was smoldering with smoke as I reassembled the milk crates to make a stepping ladder in order to climb through the skylight window. I dropped down to extinguish the fire and drag Mr. Humphries outside, where I revived him. Nobody in that school ever knew what had happened except for me and Mr. Humphries.

Three things happened that year at Elston Hall Junior School. I never had to put my hand up for free school dinners again. I never had to carry the bottles of milk across the playground and Mr.  Humphries never smoked another cigarette. I received a Raleigh push bike that year for Christmas. Not from my mother or my grandmother, but off Mr. William Humphries, the hardest school teacher that had ever walked the floorboards of Elston Hall Junior School.
You see sometimes the pupil can teach the tutor, and that’s why I dedicate this story to Peter Vassilou. He had never played in a live tournament before he sat down at the Poker Million, but he grew from strength to strength every time the cards came out of the shuffling machine. When you see this Full Tilt Poker Million show, you will realise why I recall this story.
I don’t know if you know this, but one of the first occasions I came to Vegas was in 1992. I used to work for a glazing firm called Breakwell Glass, and they got the contract to do all the glazing at the Luxor Casino. We were there nearly two years working on the Luxor, putting the glass in every day. And because it was an incredible job and because I had worked so hard, the boss said to me, “Martin, you can put the last piece of glass in the Luxor Casino.” It was right at the top — a triangular piece of glass. Now I’d worked for two years with a guy called Robert Turner, and he was footing the ladder at the bottom. I went right to the top — 796 feet long this ladder was — with this heavy piece of glass. I managed to get it right to the top of the ladder, I had my asbestos gloves on and I got right to the top. I just pushed the top bit into the clip and then I tried to get the bottom bit in, and the piece of glass slipped. My friend Robert was holding the ladder firmly and he never moved. This piece of glass fell 796 feet and it went straight like a guillotine, missing Robert Turner’s head by three inches.

It hit him on the shoulder but still killed him. It was a terrible, terrible day. Spade Suit

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