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Miracles Never Cease

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Feb 12, '13


Our 888 Irish Tour got off to a great start. We lost 5th gear in the car before we’d travelled 50 miles from Dublin, which wasn’t great considering we were due to play in Killarney as our first stop. No surprises there then.

We had to settle for top speed of 50 mph for the rest of the trip. On the plus side the craic was good and time we had though it did piss off a couple of hundred other motorists. We got to talking about gamblers we’d met and the best liars we’d come across over the years. There were quite a few contenders for the outright title in this category, but one particular chap was in a class of his own.

He asked me to lend him £500 one day so he could return home for his mother’s funeral. This was an excellent play as, even if I didn’t really believe him, there was some chance he might be telling the truth. So what could I do only give it to him? To my surprise, he showed up again a few weeks later and paid me. I felt a little bad about having doubted him and decided to be less cynical in my dealings with my fellow man in the future. This resolution lasted about six months, when the same guy asked me for £500 so that he could go home to visit his mother who was very ill indeed!

When we finally got to Killarney, we met the local lads who were very busy watching the football in the pub and were introduced to a local legend who goes by the name of The Farmer. There mightn’t be as many characters in the game as there were but this guy was great and there were a few around who weren’t far behind him.

Next stop was Clonakilty. We’d been told to expect a typical West Cork welcome which concerned me somewhat, especially when we passed the spot where local lad Michael Collins was ambushed and shot dead. If this was typical, I’d rather have passed on the welcome bit.

Jesse May fell in love with Irish poker years ago and insisted on flying in for one night of the tour. This says a lot both about Irish poker and even more about Jessie’s sanity.

We decided not to mention the Collins thing as Jessie can be a bit nervous at the best of times. We needn’t have worried on that count as Jessie ignored all past experience and hit the hot whiskeys and pints of Murphys with a bang. This worked wonders for his poker game and soon he was playing the 3-2 suited like he’d been born here and nearly won the tournament before turning his attention to the cash game. We’d been told that the local cops were pretty strict about pub closing times. Apparently, 5 a.m. is the absolute limit.

Next stop was Dungarvan where we met up with Paul Lucey. As usual, he had a joke. It was about two Irish guys who went off to London to work. Things went fine and they didn’t go home to their wives for eighteen months. Then, one of them got a letter from his wife telling him she’d just had a baby boy. He was delighted and went off to the pub to celebrate. He bought drinks for everyone until his pal couldn’t watch him make a fool of himself any more and broke the news to him that the baby couldn’t possibly be his.

“Of course it is”, he said. “Sure. Isn’t there 3 years between me and my brother?”

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.

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