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Lederer, Behnen, Hamilton and an Irish Drunk

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Jun 06, '13


My Vegas trip started with a bang. I flew into Dublin a couple of days before I was due to travel to the US and was collected by my cousin. Everything was fine for twenty minutes until there was a loud bang and the car lost all power at speed on the motorway. We managed to get to the side of the road just before the car went up in flames. Soon, there were three fire trucks and a bunch of cops on the case. I was standing beside a fire fighter when there a loud explosion. “****”, I said. “It could be worse”, he replied. “It could be raining.”

Soon, our vehicle was a burnt out shell. On the plus side, the cops offered to take us to the next town. I usually avoid travelling in the back of squad cars unless of course they have a warrant, but I also don’t like walking. As my cousin got into their car, one of them asked if he’d remembered to lock his car. Everyone’s a comedian these days.

I usually visit Binions on my first day in town for old times sake, but I decided to give it a miss this time as I’ve figured out I rarely win a bracelet after visiting that joint. Nolan Dallas articles on the last days of Binions did bring back a couple of memories that seem funnier in the light of stuff that’s happened since.
Nick Behnen was not considered suitable material for running a casino by the Nevada Gaming Commission, but apparently he considered they must have made a mistake because he was around a lot of the time doing whatever he does. One of the things he did do was have a conversation with Howard Lederer, which resulted in Howard decamping to the Bellagio for the rest of the series. A lot of players had a bit of sympathy for Howard (though I did think he might have talked himself into exile), though after the Full Tilt fiasco Nick could probably be elected to the Gaming Commission in a landslide.

Late on in that trip, I was playing at a table beside a chunky PLO game. There was an Irish guy in that game called Chris who was drunk as a monkey. I’d been with him a couple of times when he was full of brandy and he invariably went into his party piece which was naming the ten Irish republican prisoners who’d died on hunger strike in Long Kesh prison. I don’t know if he could perform this feat sober, but drunk he never got as far as the sixth guy without inventing at least one Irish martyr. I was wondering if he’d get into this one before he lost his money and, more importantly, if I could get a bet on when a huge pot developed. Chris was leading the charge and threw a small fortune into the pot on the river. After a few minutes, Russ Hamilton passed whereupon Chris announced that it was an excellent fold as he had four fours. Then, he turned his hand which was pretty ugly to say the least, grabbed all the money and two brandys and announced he had to be in the airport in half an hour. I don’t know if they let him board the plane but if they did I feel sorry for the poor **** who had to sit beside him. It was great timing from Chris because in later years Mr Hamilton became famous for his hand reading skills and was never successfully bluffed. That’s the luck of the Irish for you!

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
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