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If You Build It, Will They Come?

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Jan 24, '08

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Not so long ago, if you wanted to meet and appreciate great characters, the poker room was a good place to look for them. These days, with the exception of Ireland, if you venture into most poker rooms, you'll find that if you take away the stiffs hiding in suits and the pieces of wood hiding in hoodies, there's not too much left. Luckily, if you don't mind going to the pub, you're still in with a chance of having a laugh. I don't mind too much having to go to the pub, now and again.

I was in a pub in Dublin not too long ago, and came across a great one. He was sitting a couple of stools down from me at the bar studying about three newspapers, one of which was the Racing Post. About every fifteen minutes, he'd jump up in his seat and run out the door with a green mini-biro clutched in his paw.

Even I was able to work out that there was a reasonable chance he was having the occasional flutter on the ponies. Things didn't look to be going too well from where I was sitting because he changed from pints of Guinness to whiskey (not recommended before 9 p.m., and still worthy of a cautious approach even then) and was eating his pen, when he took a break from mumbling to himself.

Towards the end of the afternoon, he dashed out like a man possessed. I was beginning to fear for his sanity. I needn't have bothered as ten minutes later he arrived back with a silly grin on his face and casually began to count out a little wad of fifties and twenties, making sure even the least attentive of his audience was aware that he was now a man of considerable means.

He now noticed me for the first time and immediately engaged me in conversation. He told me he was a professional horse punter. I told him I was a helicopter pilot. Well, he started it. As he lovingly caressed yet another whiskey, he told me Paddy Power (the corporation, not their affable mouthpiece who goes by the same name) took its name from two of Ireland's finest whiskeys. I wished he was right but I knew he was wrong; I gave him a walk anyway. Interesting theories don't have to be based on facts.

Several months later, I heard that Paddy Power Poker were guaranteeing a €3 million prize fund for this year's Irish Open. My first thought was that they must have lost their minds completely. My second thought was that maybe my drinking companion had indeed been right and that they had sampled bucketfuls of both whiskeys before coming up with this idea.

A Touch of Class
Simon Poker Day Two, our charity tournament for the homeless, was a big success. By the time the dust settles we will have raised almost €60,000.

Special thanks to Charles Harbourne and the Jackpot club and to John Duthie and the European Poker Tour for staging the event for us. Thanks also to PokerStars, Paddy Power Poker, Green Joker Poker, and those who wish to remain anonymous or couldn't attend for their generous donations. Party Poker kindly gave us a seat in the Party Poker Irish Poker Championship event in Galway and the EPT for giving us a seat in their grand final in Monte Carlo (we still have the Monte Carlo seat so if any company or individual would like to do something nice and buy the seat from us at face value, they can contact me. It's probably a lucky seat!). The Fortune Rooms and Poker Ireland have our gratitude for their hard work in raising funds too.

In an age when the so-called brand name poker players are busy impressing themselves with talk of deals, agents, private jets, and all that crap it was great to see how genuine superstars from other sports conduct themselves. Ken Doherty, Steve Davis, and Tony Cascarino, men whose time is much in demand, showed us how to behave when you've got nothing left to prove.

Dozens of our English friends led by "Mad" Marty Wilson – whether they liked it or not – helped to make it one hell of a day out. Chris, who travelled from England especially for the event got knocked out in the first hand. Apparently, he'd arrived from the pub, sat down, ordered a pint of Bulmers, was told the bar wasn't yet open and promptly dumped off his chips so he could go back to the pub. Nine hours later, he was telling anybody who'd listen that this was the best day out he'd had in years. And they tell Irish jokes!

The tournament director Dave O'Neill surprised us all with a great bit of common sense. The Manchester United v Arsenal match was still in play when the tournament kicked off so a few dozen players were still in the pub. Dave phoned me as I watched the game to ask how many of our customers were still there so that he could spread the drunks out over all the tables rather than risking the inevitable havoc that would undoubtedly have ensued if they were all allowed to play against each other. Some people have no respect for the chaos theory.

Padraig is currently involved with Jesse May in hosting Irish Pub Poker Tours for medium-sized corporate groups. For info you can contact him on Twitter @padraigpoker.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 
 
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