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Give Peace A Chance

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Nov 12, '19


I recently played an event in the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin, which was attended by a large number of Northern Irish players. Some of them would have been there anyway. Others were there because Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where poker is illegal, so they have to travel to the South to play the game that is in their blood. It is madness. Poker is one of the few activities which completely crosses boundaries imposed by religion, politics and those who don’t want to see more cross community unity and understanding.

In my role as partypoker ambassador, and as myself, I have travelled to Northern Ireland several times to play slightly illegal poker. I have played with both Unionists and Nationalists. And the police. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been treated with kindness and respect and have had fantastic craic playing with people who love the game and the banter. What better way to concentrate on similarities rather than differences? Are the politicians mad? Or afraid to recognize the obvious?

There was only one dodgy moment in my travels. I was visiting Belfast with my friend Eamonn and playing poker with a pretty mixed bunch. I was having great fun until I heard raised voices at the table behind me. Eamonn, a Celtic fanatic, was getting into it with a large Rangers fan. Oh God. The Rangers lad stood up and reached into his pocket. I concentrated on trying to figure out how long it would take me to escape through the window. The guy pulled out a match program from the last Ibrox meeting between Rangers and Celtic and handed it to Eamonn. I later learned they knew each other quite well from playing poker together and had agreed to exchange match programs! 

I learnt two valuable lessons. Firstly, don’t underestimate the power of poker to bring people together and secondly, don’t bring Eamonn again. Anywhere.

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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