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My New Best Friend

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Apr 01, 2010


In 2005, Joe Hachem won the World Series of Poker. But in 2010 my new best friend is a man named Joe Heyburn. They sound the same, don’t they? Joe Heyburn, you can Google him by the way, is famous for being on the TV show You Are What You Eat for losing so many pounds in so many weeks. But Joe runs the Fox Hotel in my hometown of Bridgnorth. When he bought the hotel, it was suggested to Joe that he light up the pub with a million candles to celebrate the opening night, but Joe told me that he had already blown that much. Joe Heyburn is probably the funniest man on the planet and he uttered the funniest thing that I’ve heard so far this year.

It was after a particular session of high-octane rocket fuel, or as they call it round here special cider, with an average of 12 percent proof. Four pints will blow your socks off. Now Joe has got the best chef in the whole of Bridgnorth working for him at the Fox Hotel. “I know that’s true,” Joe says, “Because the chef himself told me.” So it was on that particular night after drinking special cider that Joe returned from the Hen and Chicks, which is in the high town of Bridgnorth, and the chef asked Joe if he would like something to eat. Joe replied, “Yes, I could eat an antelope. But not one of those endangered species!”
Jackson and Zimbler
The chef cooked Joe a thin crust Mexican pizza. After twenty minutes and three large Jack Daniels and cokes later, the pizza arrived. The chef had actually lined up his own reputation as being the best chef in Bridgnorth, for what was placed in front of Joe was truly a pizza amongst pizzas, the greatest thin crust Mexican pizza Joe had ever seen in his life. Armed with a wooden plate and a pizza cutter, the chef asked Joe if he should cut it into six or into twelve pieces. The reply Joe gave will live with me for the rest of my life. He said, “Chef, cut the pizza into six. I could not possibly eat twelve slices!”

On a serious note, I would like to mention what happened to me a few Saturdays ago. I went to Star City Casino in Birmingham to do a poker seminar with Paul Jackson and Paul Zimbler, two of the best known British poker players. And I’ve got to be completely fair and say it was so well run. The two Paul’s did a fantastic job in analysing 10 hands played by some of the best poker players in the world.

One of the hands I’d like to highlight is a hand that involved both Daniel Negreanu and Susie Isaacs that they reconstructed and analysed so that everybody learned something. Over 50 people attended from as far away as Belfast, and there was a free buffet and a tournament with bounties on professionals’ heads that was all added prize money from Circus Poker. There were 115 runners for the tournament and I went out fifteenth with 9-2 against pocket queens. I can never get the 9-2 to stand up. The seminar was a complete success and hopefully I will see some of you at the next one which looks like it will be held at the Circus Casino in Stoke. Spade Suit

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