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Bad News. Good News.

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Feb 11, '22


About a week before the end of WSOP 2021, Carol Mikharov clocked out after her shift in The Rio card room. She wasn’t feeling well, went to hospital and, sadly, never came home. She joined the list of Americans we loved, including her sidekick John “Scof” Sheffield and Mike Sexton, who died of cancer during the covid pandemic. My friends are usually awkward like that!

When I first came to town with Scott Gray for the 1995 WSOP, Carol and Scof ran the poker day shift in Binion’s. Watching the show was an education. Scof did the one-liners. Stuff like: one day a dealer had stopped dealing and complained that the player in the four seat had called him an asshole. Scof told him that these guys had been playing for two days and were getting pretty tired, so it was probably just a lucky guess!

Carol did the work, speeding around the room, barking instructions at staff who were obviously smarter than me, as I never could figure out what was happening. It was a combination of humor and efficiency that was part of what set the WSOP apart, before it was hijacked by the suits and accountants who know the value of everything (except a bracelet). In 2000, when my then girlfriend Véronique was coming to join me in Binion’s, Carol overheard me telling Scof when she was due to arrive. She said nothing but went off and arranged a limo (on Binion’s) to take me to the airport to collect her. Typical of the lady and enough to give the suits seizures.

When the day shift ended, Carol and Scof and that mob would do the swing shift at the bar. Sometimes, some of the graveyard too! They were often joined by Surinder Sunar, Mad Marty and Katherine and Mick McLoskey, and often amazed us by showing up for work in the morning. It was like witnessing a miracle a couple of times a week. The Scof bit was no big deal because he didn’t do much anyway, but Carol would stride around the room, giving the impression she’d had a pleasant ten hours in the nest. It was indeed impressive.

When the circus moved to The Rio, Carol initially stayed on in Binion’s. We used to spend the first few weeks of the series in The Golden Nugget, usually with Marty and Katherine and Jesse and Micky May. Scof dropped by every day and we’d go say hi to Carol, frequently leaving some of our number behind to play her tournament. The girls had a much better record there, which further proved our theory that it’s better to be lucky than good.

When we heard the sad news that Carol had left us, the sadness was mixed with laughter when we remembered some of the hilarious times we had with her, as she and Scof made the poker world a better place.

I recently teamed up with the upmarket Sporting Emporium casino in the centre of Dublin. The plan is to create a fun, friendly atmosphere where people can enjoy poker at its best. Scott Gray says that should be easy. We’ve been shown how to do it by the best! Come and see for yourself, especially if you’re in Dublin on the last Thursday of the month and play our flagship tournament.

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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