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Underwear Poker and Bobby Hoff's Poker Face

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Feb 01, 2014


Most people credit the internet with starting the play poker in your underwear fashion, a movement which has taken on a popularity the likes of which the world hasn’t witnessed since Beatlemania. That’s not how it happened at all. As far as I know, the craze was started in Dublin’s Merrion Club in 1992 by a lady called Pat. She loved poker tournaments and the craic at the kalooki games that followed. So, she was a pretty regular customer, which was fine by me, because she used to make me laugh. She wasn’t in the habit of taking prisoners. One night, she arrived a little late, ran straight to the desk to register and only then took off her coat whereupon she realized she’d forgotten a couple of fashion accessories. Like a skirt for example. No problem. She just put her coat back on and got on with the game. When she got too hot, she took her coat off for a while. Nobody passed any remarks. By the way, her family was in the headstone business. And she had a son called Damien. And her car registration finished with the number 666. No, we weren’t being superstitious. Just careful.

In 1996, I was walking through Binion’s when I saw half the Irish team (about two and a half guys) sweating a holdem game. When I asked what was going on, they told me they had a new hero, a guy called Bobby Hoff. I hung around for an hour or two (anything beats working). They were right. This guy was playing a game that wasn’t invented until 2007. But what impressed me most was his poker face. It was fantastic. Several years later, at the same venue, I spotted Mr Hoff hanging about chatting to Melissa Hayden (he was probably doing more listening than talking.) I joined them as I had a large bottle of aspirin which Mel had asked me to bring from Europe. She looked at the bottle and said all the instructions and stuff were in French and asked if I knew what it all meant. I can barely figure out what it’s all about when its in English but, not wanting to appear too dumb, I told her it meant that these tablets were to be taken only as a suppository. She gave me a very strange look. I was bearing up fairly well until Bobby spoiled the moment by starting to laugh. Oh well. I guess even the greats are entitled to drop the poker face once in a lifetime. ♠

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