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Paddy’s Corner - Hobson’s Choice

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Jan 01, 2011


The International Poker Open owed a lot of its record-breaking success over the last few years to the huge support of continental Europeans, especially the French who turned up mobhanded every time. The actions of many governments in the free world (lol!) put a stop to a lot of foreign players being able to register online but despite this setback the promise of the big time experience at working mans prices (not to mention the inevitable craic to be had) ensured a huge turnout.
The man who travelled the furthest to try his luck was my friend Scof from Las Vegas who’d heard that there was fun to be had, especially in the bar. He is undoubtedly the best bar storyteller I’ve ever met and as he has lived in Vegas since 1964 is never stuck for quality material.
The pick of his stories over the weekend was one about a dealer who was plying his trade dealing a ring game in Binion’s in the old days. After a particular pot one of the players had a few words to say to him. The dealer didn’t reply but carried on with the next hand and dealt the guy out. The guy went nuts, which is quite understandable as, in all probability, he’d lost the previous pot. The cardless player screamed for a floorman and when he arrived he asked the dealer what had happened.
The dealer calmly replied that he wasnt quite sure what the player had said but that it was definitely either “Deal me out please” or else he’d called him a motherfucker, and helpfully suggested that the floor man should ask the player which it was.
From Bad to Worse
There’s a popular lad who has been playing on the Dublin circuit for about twenty years but has been officially running bad since 2004. Nevertheless he’s an incurable optimist and is at his best in a crisis so he turned up full of hope at the recent Irish Winter Festival in the Burlington hotel but unfortunately went completely broke in the super satellite for the main event and headed for the bar.
He didn’t have any money but there’s an ancient tradition in Irish poker that if a chap is financially challenged his friends will make sure he’s not stuck for a few drinks. Or quite often a lot of drinks. On this occasion the mathematically impossible happened and there was no one there he knew. He remembered that he had a chip in his pocket that he’d been given by the sponsors as part of a promotion they were running. One side of the chip said “Paddy pays” and the other “Cough up”.
The idea was that when you ordered a pint you gave the chip to the barman and he tossed it to determine whether you had to pay or not. Some of the finest minds in Irish poker dedicated a lot of their weekend trying to turn this into a better proposition than a 50/50 shot with some degree of success I’m told. On this occasion the barman tossed the coin and not too surprisingly it landed on “Cough up”.
The player explained that in his current financial position this was not an option but the barman just took the pint back and our hero headed for the lonely walk home.
A couple of days later he was in the bar again, this time with a few friends. I was at the other end of the bar talking to one of the tournament organisers, Jenny Cruess Callaghan, and told this man’s tale of woe. She immediately decided that he deserved a couple of pints on the sponsor’s account but when I brought her down to introduce her to him he was gone!
A Winner’s Mentality
Most of the staff in the bar in the Burlington are excellent and enjoy a laugh with their customers as well, but a few don’t possess the barpersons’ knack of knowing who is next in line to be served or else they dont give a damn, so on occasions it was possible to be left standing at the bar for 15 minutes getting the invisible treatment.
One such victim was Michael Frisbee who was thirsty and getting a little fed up. He found a solution to his problem. He phoned the front desk which was about 30 yards from where he was suffering and when asked how they could help him he replied that he was growing old standing at the bar waiting to be served and would be grateful if they could send someone over to take his order. It’s hard to keep a good man down. ♠

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. For more on the history of Late Night Poker check out