Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Genius At Work

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Dec 04, '23


It’s been a dreadful year for Irish music. First, we lost Aslan’s charismatic front man Christy Dignam, a proud son of Finglas. The night Christy died, I left the poker game in the Sporting Emporium and walked towards Grafton Street. I thought the crowd in the street were shouting, but it seemed they were singing Crazy World! Praise indeed. Christy’s death wasn’t a surprise as he’d been battling a serious illness, but the death of Sinead O’Connor came out of the blue. Sinead was a true Irish hero. Her fantastic voice brought her worldwide attention and she courageously used it to tell us what we didn’t want to hear. Thankfully, by the time we lost her, we’d come to accept that she’d been right all along. A proper role model.

Just when we thought there was no more they could do to us, they took Shane MacGowan, arguably the greatest treasure we had left. Lyricist, poet, singer, genius, he had it all. There is a poker angle to this story, albeit tenuous. I was playing poker in one of Larry’s gigs on Dublin’s Northside. I was supposed to be anyway, but I was at the bar. A guy I didn’t know sat beside me and decided to tell me a story. It was worth listening to. He told me he’d worked in a Private Members Club in London several years ago. The clientele was of the famous Irish persuasion. Shane was there. Funny that. He was locked. He either voluntarily or at the request of the house stepped outside. He took a few beermats with him. He stopped a girl in the street and asked if he could borrow a pen. She asked if an eyeliner would do. He took it and started to write on the beermats. A few minutes later, he was done. The result? A Rainy Night In Soho, my favourite song. Ar dheis Dhe go raibh a anam.


Last week, the far-right agitators and Dubliners who like burning Garda cars, buses and trains, not to mention wrecking and looting businesses who were desperately hoping for a good Christmas after lockdown and quiet time in town, conspired to ruin everyone’s night. That’s not the beautiful, funny city I grew up in. I was playing a tournament in the Sporting Emporium as things escalated outside in the streets. The club decided, in the interests of safety of members and staff, to close immediately and get people home safe. So, we cancelled the tournament at 10:15 PM and gave everyone their buy-in back. We didn’t start the riot, but the management decided in a generous gesture to add 500 euro to the prizepool of 120 euro tourney on Thursday 7th December. Obviously, if it’s sold out, players who played in cancelled tourney get priority.

In true Dublin fashion, everyone accepted the club’s gesture. A guy who said he’d been chip leader approached me. He said it was first time he’d ever been chip leader. I told him he could tell everyone he’d taken the chip lead and never lost it! He laughed, clapped me on the back and kept going. Irish poker is still my favourite!


For all needing fun but challenging tournament poker right after Christmas, the SPORTING EMPORIUM END OF MONTH 300 on 28th December may fit the bill as ever. Will for me anyway.
I’ve spent many New Years in Galway, for fun and poker with friends like Mike Sexton, Jesse May, Kev O’Connell, Mad Marty, Kenna James in the glory years of Irish poker. Good to see Irish Poker Tour and online partner Paddy Power there again in very early January. Happy holidays !

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
Newsletterbanner Twitterbanner Fbbanner