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Tales From Two Cities

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Jan 01, 2014


The circus came to Paris last month. The WSOP Europe was first up. It was either a Ryanair production and was staged miles away from anywhere, or just a 20 minute train journey from the centre of Europe’s most beautiful city, depending on how stupid you are. Call me sick if you like, but I love tournaments where a whole bunch of guys are pissed off. Especially when it’s about nothing.

The fact that the fields in bracelet events are smaller than in Vegas means you’re liable to know a bunch of guys at each table you’re at, so the craic is going to be good. I spent a day being entertained by Negreanu, who’s always up for a laugh, and Mr Greenstein. Barry’s caustic wit cracks me up which makes him one of funniest guys around or means I’m sicker than I thought. Or both. But the comic genius award went to some guy who looked up at the screen where the 2KNLH final was being streamed and helped us out by telling us that Mr Seidel (who was trying to win bracelet number 7 or 9, or something like that) was one of the best of the old school players and had adapted well to the modern game. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Next up was the 5K PLO in the Aviation Club. I got drawn at a table with The Devilfish. The Fish got into it early and spent the first two hours trying to wind up Dan Heimeiller. He got absolutely nowhere with that so he moved on to the tried and trusted Irish jokes. He claimed that the last time he’d been on an Irish airline the pilot was blind. If he’d said drunk after blind he might have got my attention, but he got quite a good hearing from the rest of his audience. He said that when the pilot emerged from the cockpit in mid flight, accompanied by his guide dog, one of the female passengers was a little distressed but the stewardess assured her that he was an excellent pilot and there was no need to be concerned. She became very concerned indeed when the pilot lifted up the dog and swung it around in circles over his head but again the stewardess told her everything was fine. He was just having a look around. FFS

After that, came the Big One, the 888 sponsored Superstack in JPs Village Green club in my home town, Dublin, where some of Ireland’s finest had an appointment to be taught a lesson by online qualifiers and the locals. The first person I saw there was Waterford legend Nicky Power. I was surprised he was there at all as I had tweeted him a couple of weeks beforehand pointing out that Waterford and Vegas were the only two towns in the world where you could get sex for chips. Maybe it worked. The craic was excellent. Thanks to JP, his excellent and friendly staff, 888, Sean, the Superstack people and everyone who participated in the experiment that proved that no matter how many chips you give the Irish, it’s rarely enough to keep them occupied until the dinner break. On day 1.

The pub was as much fun as one might expect. The closest thing I heard to a bad beat was one about a well known Irish pro who, years ago, had decided to hitchhike from the Irish midlands to Dublin. Excellent bankroll management. He got as far as Portlaois in good time and was looking forward to a few pints in Dublin. Four hours later, it was dark, pissing rain and our hero had watched hundreds of cars of cars speed by without even slowing down to take a look at him. Eventually, a car emerged through the gates of a large building nearby and the driver kindly pulled in and took our man to Dublin. When the driver mentioned in conversation that he was a prison officer by trade the penny dropped. Rory (sorry the Irish pro) realised he’d been hitchhiking outside Ireland’s top security prison. And we wonder why the Fish keeps telling Irish jokes. ♠

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