Friday 19 October 2012

Blogs from the Past

Tales from Europe - 2005
Here's a little competition for you, and there is an Irish connection to at least one of the tales.

WHO were the poker players who got arrested on the way home from a poker tournament in Russia? Apparently there are certain rules and regulations relating to bringing currency in and out of Russia. As I understand it, you are supposed to declare to Customs on entering the country the amount of money you are carrying and you are only allowed to take a small amount of winnings out of the country in cash.
Now a couple of the guys had done all right in the game and were carrying a large wad of US Dollars. After they had checked their bags in at the airport, they were challenged by a number of Russian officials about the cash. They were given a choice. Either spend a couple of days in jail before going on trial, and maybe face a prison sentence, or pay a “fine” on the spot and carry on home. The fine demanded was $10,000 per head but the guys managed to negotiate a discount before they paid up and went on their way. True story, so if you are going to play poker in Russia, you have been warned.

WHO were the two two poker players who set off on their journey to play in the Amsterdam Classics and found that they were a day late for their flight? Luckily there were some spare seats on the flight so, after paying another airfare, they were on their way. However, their troubles were not over. When they arrived at the hotel they had booked they had already been charged for the previous night and the room had been re-let. No other rooms were available so they had to search for another hotel which could accommodate them. Needless to say, neither of the two figured in any of the poker tournament results. At least the intrepid travellers managed to catch the right flight home.

WHO was the poker player who got locked in the shower for two hours in his hotel room in Amsterdam? The guy went to take a shower and closed the cubicle door which had a small latch or catch. When he had finished his shower, he could not get the shower door open. After about two hours of shouting and trying to force the door, both in vain, the latch finally opened after, apparently having dried out. The very cold and hoarse player had some choice words with the hotel management but we at Poker Europa are not privy to the outcome of his demands for compensation.
If you can name all the players involved, you could win a small prize. However, only entries submitted to Poker Europa on the back of a 20 £ / € / $ note will be considered.

By Mick McCloskey

The following story happened in the U.K. but it could have been anywhere.
Mr. Nosey, hereafter referred to as Mr. N, turned up at the poker room to play in a big poker tournament. Having registered, he found his table and sat down. As the tournament got underway, the table filled up apart, from the one seat to the immediate right of Mr. N. As the tournament progressed, Mr. N found nothing but unplayable hands. His own cards that is. However, living up to his name, after mucking his own cards, he would have a peek at the cards in the empty seat before mucking them. After almost every pot, Mr. N would announce that the missing player would have won the hand with big pocket pairs, AK suited, AQ suited, whatever it took. The missing player would have been on a major rush if only he had turned up to play his cards. This went on for about half an hour or so until the missing player eventually turned up. He looks around the table, looks at his seat card, looks around the table again, taps Mr. N on the shoulder and announces “Excuse me, I think you are sitting in my seat.” DOH!!!! The moral to the story is to always check you are in the right seat and, just in case you are not, never look at a missing player’s hole cards.

Mile High Club
By Mick McCloskey

A Dublin couple, identified only as Eamonn and Willow, have developed their own version of the mile high club-the mile high poker club. On a flight from Dublin to Malta for their honeymoon, the newly weds passed the time with a game of Texas Hold ‘em, as you do. The fact that they had left their own deck of cards in the hold luggage, and that the flight crew could not supply a deck, did not deter them in the least. The pair were not going to be beaten by such a small technicality. With the aid of a couple of pens and pieces of paper, the couple set about inventing their own version of the game. It works something like this. One person writes down their two hole cards while the other writes down the flop, turn and river. Whoever hits the most hands wins. What they used for chips or what the eventual prize for the winner turned out to be, only the happy couple know.

Skinny dipping and mistaken idenity at WSOP 2005
By Mick McCloskey

WSOP 2005

This column could be subtitled “The Irish in Las Vegas” as there were plenty of great performances and stories to come out of the WSOP this year. Pride of place goes, of course, to Andy Black who took home $1.75 million for 5th place in the main event. Andy also picked up an early $25K for 10th spot in Event No.6, the £2,500 NLH freezeout and a further $8,490 in the $5,000 NLH event. A man on form, or what!
Another great performance came from Conor Tate, originally from Lurgan in N.Ireland, who placed 12th in the main event for a payday of $600,000. Conor qualified online and this seems to be the first time he has cashed in any ranking tournament anywhere. What a great way to start.
Eamon Grimes, from Donaghmore in Co. Tyrone, will long remember his trip to the WSOP. Another internet qualifier, Eamon cashed for $24,365 in the big one. Having only ever played live at his local pub, Eamon found himself playing at the featured television table with some of the stars of poker, including “The Professor” Howard Lederer. Eamon remained unfazed by all the attention and managed to move up from being the short stack on the bubble to take 267th spot.
Other Irish who cashed out in the main event were Stephen Dunphy, Michael O’Sullivan and Anthony Fagan.
Another big result came from Martin Green who cashed twice in the WSOP. He took 4th place, from a field of 1,071, in the $1,500 buy-in NLH for $88,680 and picked up a further $10,085 for 18th in the $2,500 buy-in NLH event. Others to cash out included Patrick O’Connor from Dublin and Zeik Tuit from Cork. Oh, and I nearly forgot, yours truly came 3rd out of the 245 media people and celebrities who took part in the WSOP Charity Tournament.
Congratulations to all the Irish players who cashed at the WSOP and, if I have missed anyone, please let me know.


Away from the green baize Las Vegas has plenty to occupy idle hands, or other parts of the body for that matter. One of the attractions to tempt the Irish contingent was a 4th July house party and barbeque hosted by Jesse May. Jesse, along with his wife Micki and the crew from The Poker Show, had rented an up-market property on the outskirts of Las Vegas, for the duration of the WSOP. A shuttle bus was laid on from the Rio casino to the house and most of the Irish in town, along with a few other nationalities, managed to arrive for the free booze and the USA size T-Bone steaks. Despite the fact that Roy “The Boy” Brindley was left in charge of the barbeque, the food turned out to be pretty good. I think that Jesse may have had an ulterior motive for the party as the cameras were running and the microphones were live for most of the night. Nobody seemed to mind however and the food and drink probably tempered any stage or camera fright there might have been. As the fireworks flashed and exploded in the night sky, the alcohol intake seemed to reduce some other inhibitions among the assembled guests. It could have been the heat of the desert air or the attraction of the cool blue water in the pool, but some of the guys decided that a swim was on the agenda and the lack of bathing trunks was not going to be a problem. Whether the cameras caught the ensuing action or not, I really don’t know. Only time will tell. It’s amazing some of the footage that turns up on the internet or on video clip tv shows these days.


On the subject of parties, the ever elegant Hendon mobster, Joe Beevers held a small champagne reception in a suite in The Golden Nugget a few days before his marriage to Claire. Family, friends and some stragglers still in town at the end of the WSOP were invited. As the night wore on, some of the guests moved from the suite to one of the bars downstairs in the casino. This move took place partly because there was no smoking allowed in the suite. Anyhow, Padraig Parkinson’s beautiful French partner, Veronique, was at the bar chatting to some friends when Padraig arrived down from the party. Padraig spotted a young lady with long dark hair sitting at the bar beside a couple of blonde girls, who had also been at the party, so he walked up to the bar and grabbed her from behind. Now I don’t know if it was the effect of the champagne or if Padraig’s eyesight is getting worse, but the young lady that he grabbed was a complete stranger! A very embarrased Padraig only managed to avoid getting thrown out of the casino by finding Veronique and explaining to the young lady how the two girls looked similar from behind, despite the fact that they were dressed completely differently. You’re going to have to pay more attention to what Veronique is wearing in future Padraig. Either that or an eye test!
Best wishes to Joe and Claire for the future.
Another poker wedding took place in Vegas during the WSOP. Best wishes to renowned tournament director Thomas Kremser and dealer Marina for their future.

Alan Betson left speechless
By Mick McCloskey

Anyone who knows Alan will consider the above headline to be extremely unlikely. Alan is well known for his quick wit and the ability to come up with the perfect quip or put down for any situation. However, I’m told that he may have met his match, in the form of a Dublin taxi driver, recently. Alan was on his way to a tournament in Europe and was running a little late for his flight from Dublin airport. When his cab turned up to take him to the airport, Alan recognised the driver as a well known part time debt collector and enforcer for a local bookmaker. Now, if this guy turned up at your door, you would be more than happy to pay off your debts immediately and maybe less than happy if you did not. The man had arms on him like tree trunks with some very nice tattoos to match. So Alan requests an extra quick drive to the airport, so he could catch his flight. However , the driver happens to be in a very talkative mood that day and proceeds to regale Alan with tales of his latest debt collection exploits and what he did to who and what he intended to do to his next “client “who refused to pay up. The more this guy talked, the slower the progress of the cab towards the airport. The upshot was that Alan missed his flight and had to pay quite a bit extra to get onto the next available flight. Despite this setback, he thought discretion might be the better part of valour and he managed to keep his lip buttoned, and his thoughts to himself, as he meekly paid his cab fare. I would imagine that he even managed to reward the driver with a nice tip for his services!!

Hand of the Month
by Mick McCloskey

A certain American poker pro. used to write a “Hand of the month” column in a U.S. magazine, usually extolling the virtues of his play in a certain situation, or explaining his latest bad beat story. Here is my take on the same subject, which could be subtitled, “ The luck of the desperate” (or the luck of the stupid). I was playing in a no limit hold’em tournament in Belfast’s Cavendish Club. The buy-in was £100 with one rebuy allowed. We were down to the final four players and were all in the money, but no deals had been made.
Consequently, everyone was playing pretty tight and solid. I was the short stack and the other three were pretty much even in chips. The blinds were 3k-6k and I was first to act. As my previous dozen or so raises (with premium hands I might add) had all been uncontested, I decided to try to steal the blinds, so I moved all in for 26k with the computer hand, Q7 offsuit. My timing could not have been worse. Dominic, on the button called immediately, with AQ. Even worse, Richard, on the small blind, raised all in for an extra 35k, with pocket 9’s. Now Darren, on the big blind, looks at his cards and he also finds a big hand, pocket J’s. O woe is me. What are the odds against me winning this pot. I seem to be drawing pretty much dead. Darren does the sensible thing and folds the best hand. Dominic calls the extra 35k and we see the flop. It comes Q x x. The turn is another blank and Richard and me are about ready to go collect our winnings when, lo and behold, a miracle 7 comes on the river! From the out house to the penthouse, I now find myself chip leader. Talk about doing the wrong thing at the right time! What a stupid game! But I suppose that’s what keeps us coming back for more. No matter how bad things look, there’s always hope.
We played a few more hands, without much chip movement, before I decided, (being the generous guy that I am), to give the lads a three way split. Well, it seemed only fair after the great escape!

This and That
By Mick McCloskey

Two lucky lads from Belfast recently won trips to Paris, courtesy of Ladbrokes Poker, to play in The European Hall of Fame Tournament. This is an invitation only event held during the Euro Finals of Poker in the prestigious Aviation Club de France, situated in the heart of Paris on the famous Champs Elysees.The $10,000 event gives internet qualifiers the chance to meet and play live against hall of famers in the grand surrounds of the ACF.Although not all the advertised players made it to Paris the two tables sat down to pit their poker skills against former World Heads Up Champion, Bruno Fitoussi,Hall of Fame founder, Bruce “Elvis Senior” Atkinson and Dave “Devilfish”Ulliot. For a $22 investment, Martin McCabe took home 3,415 euro and, for an outlay of $10 Desi Graham pocketed 1,700 euro. The two will, no doubt, also take away some nice memories of their experience. I’m not sure, but I would be surprised if they didn’t get a song or two, and maybe a duet, from Elvis and the Devilfish. Surprise, surprise, Devilfish ended up winning the tournament. No problem for Dave then, playing internet players.

A word of caution for anyone playing E.P.T.and perhaps some other events. The new Tournament Directors rulebook brings in a couple of rules which could trip some players up. On tables with action lines drawn on them, any chips that cross that line have to remain in the pot. So, if a player lifts a stack of chips to call a bet, puts them across the line and drops off the required chips to call, this action is ruled to be a raise for the whole stack, unless he has verbally announced a call before the chips crossed the line. Quite a few players were caught out by this strictly enforced rule in Deauville and Vienna recently. There is, therefore, no such thing as a string bet once chips cross that line.So, beware, you have been warned. Some of the more astute angle shooters have already misused this rule by pretending to be caught out by the rule, when they are in fact holding a monster hand. This is something which I think, the organisers need to look at. Also beware making any hand or finger movements when it is your turn to act. Such movements may be ruled to be a check.

The Belfast player, formerly known as “Madmax”but who now wishes to be known as “Sanemax”recently had an unfortunate experience online. He was playing cash NLH on Betfair when he picked up AQ hearts on the big blind. Everyone folded except the small blind. The flop comes K,J,10,all hearts! Small blind checks,Max checks. Then the unthinkable happens. The software freezes and the hand is folded.Max immediately contacted Betfair,who to their credit, paid out the Royal Flush bonus of £300.Whether he would have got any action from the other player we will never know. As for the new name? Frankly I am not convinced there has been any change!

Winner, Winner.
By Mick McCloskey

There must have been something in the air in December, or in cyberair at any rate. It so happened that two columnists specialising in Irish poker cashed out two very nice five figure sums on the net. Both wins were in large field multi table tournaments. One of the very happy hacks is yours truly. The other, who writes for some other magazine, is Roy “The Boy” Brindley. As I write, Roy is just back from a holiday in Florida and I am about to head stateside in a couple of days time. O the dull life of the poker writer. Talking about poker writers, maybe you should know that the managing editor is currently in Australia and the editor in the Bahamas. Dull, dull, dull! Dunno who’s gonna edit my copy this month.
Other recent Irish winners include Mike Magee, who won the main event in Luton, and Martin Farranger, who won the £200 PLH rebuy event at the same venue. Further afield, Frank Callaghan picked up 9190 euro in the 50 euro buyin NLH Progressive event. He’s going to have to explain how that works, next time I see him.
Congratulations to all.
Here’s another winner’s tale. There may or not be an Irish connection. I certainly hope not. A little bird tells me that a regular player recently won his first major ranking event on the European tour. As well as picking up a five figure sum in cash, he was presented with a very pretty and unique piece of sculpture. He promptly sold his hard earned trophy, for a paltry sum, to a poker pro, who had cashed in at the final table of the same tournament. The pro in question should not be short of legitimate trophies of his own. I’m not quite sure who is the saddest, the seller or the buyer!

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