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Poker for the Homeless

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: May 17, '10

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Heart and Irish poker are often mentioned in the same sentence. There’s a school of thought that a lot of the Irish have too much heart for their own good. A few years ago, Mike Sexton did a very funny interview at the Irish Open. He’d been listening to two guys in the toilet, telling each other how they’d got knocked out. One guy dumped off his chips with a 10-6 offsuit, the other guy had something slightly worse.

So there was no talk of maybe hanging about for something a little bit better to get busy with and both lads seemed to think that they’d played fine and were a little bit unlucky. After they’d finished congratulating each other, they headed off to the bar for a few pints together, confident that there would be better days ahead.

The Irish showed a different type of heart a few weeks ago when they turned up in record numbers to play in the Poker for the Homeless event in the Jackpot Club, sponsored by Paddy Power Poker. As usual, it was played in a competitive but very friendly spirit and a little over €20,000 was raised over the weekend, thanks to some great generosity in tough times, especially from the likes of The Fortune Rooms (in Bangor and Cookstown) and the Loft Club in Naas. Special thanks also to the Jackpot staff whose good humour over a long weekend made a good event great.

The Pot and the Kettle

As usual, the charity event was supported by celebrities such as former Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth, former world champion boxer Jim Rock, snooker legend Ken Doherty, and former Irish rugby captain Reggie Corrigan.

Irish sports should be very proud of its heroes because these lads are both great craic and very generous with their time. Ken, Reggie, and I did a photo shoot for the Irish media to promote the event. The photographer must have taken 50 pictures of the three of us together, and one picture with just Ken and Reggie, which was of course the one that made the newspapers, and shows that not all editors are stupid.

Over lunch, we were talking to Ken about some of the snooker greats. Of course, Alex Higgins got a mention, and when his name came up, Ken immediately told us his favourite Alex story. Alex was in Dublin a few years ago and Ken invited him to the Radisson hotel to see Ken’s practice room. The walls of this room are covered in pictures of Ken’s sports heroes. Ken pointed out Alex’s picture to him, which happened to be just below a picture of the great George Best. Unbelievably, Alex looked at George’s picture, shook his head sadly and said, “What a waste!”

You couldn’t make this shit up.

History Repeats Itself

About twenty years ago, the security guy working the door in the Jackpot Club wouldn’t let me in because in his opinion I was too drunk to play. I was a little surprised at the time, especially as I’d only been drinking Coca Cola and can usually handle it quite well.

Nothing would convince him that this was indeed the case and I was told to come back the next day. Reggie Corrigan now knows how I feel.

He not alone promoted and played the Poker for the Homeless charity event but brought along a few of his mates as well. All of Reggie’s friends seem to be called either Bubba or Bubbles, which is either very handy or very complicated. So this was very good news for Ryan’s pub as the lads all seemed to think that beer is a performance enhancing drug when it comes to playing poker.

As far as I could see, they spent more time in Ryan’s than in the Jackpot as they put this theory to the test. When Reggie got knocked out, he headed down the street to make sure Ryan’s was still there and on his return got stopped by a large Eastern European security guy who looked like he might be armed and told him that he was barred.

No matter how many of us told the guy that this was a case of mistaken identity and that this lad was actually quite important, he stuck to his guns. I think I’ll get a job in casino security when I grow up. It seems to be a great laugh.

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 CardPlayer.com.
 
 
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