Saturday, April 28, 2007


At the time of writing, I have just returned home to London after a tough but rewarding week at the Bellagio. Although the journey home was uneventful, the trip there was slightly more amusing, predominantly due to my stupidity which resulted in the following anecdote...

As we alighted the plane (I’ve stolen that phrase from the voice from the tube), I noticed that my neighbour had left her cardigan on the seat. So, being the good Samaritan that I am (or, more honestly, a leach hoping for a reward), I picked up the cardigan and made my way to the baggage reclaim with the good will intention of hunting the young lady down to fulfil my good deed.

Baggage claim wasn’t around the corner, and after a long walk and a shuttle ride, we eventually arrived. It was at this point that I realised that I’d been carrying a musky blanket around with me, not my neighbour’s cardigan. So, instead of being a good Samaritan, I ended up looking like nothing more than a mere mentalist, waltzing around Vegas airport like some tramp.

I also probably came across as somewhat of a thief, casually walking past the flight attendants with my booty in hand as I departed the plane. I am truly thankful that they didn’t see fit to call security, who could easily have met me at the exit and whisked me off to the slammer (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration).

Most crucially, I am immensely relieved that I didn’t approach the lady and her husband (who I did indeed spot at baggage reclaim), as she would have deemed me to be a right weirdo as I handed over a random blanket simultaneously commenting, “Don’t mention it.”

The blanket and I have spent a lot of time together since that special moment. We have become quite attached after our journey.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Before I had time to get used to my own bed, it was back on the road to Dublin, land of Guinness, leprechauns and maniacal taxi drivers, one of which forced me into a long silence after honking his horn like a mentalist, shouting racist obscenities at other road users and pointing out local ‘broads’ passing by. Although I would have welcomed the latter, I feel it deserved a tad more subtlety than glaring at them unremittingly and exclaiming the phrase ‘pussy galore’.

Back at the Burlington Hotel, Jen and I had a tournament to attend to, and one which crept over the 706 mark to become Europe’s biggest event, as well as the oldest. And although I had a chance in the media comp to become one of those 708, it didn’t quite come into fruition, finishing a painful 4th of 66 with first getting a Main Event seat (of which were rumoured to be selling for up to €6,000) and €500 for 2nd.

The Main Event was eventually won by local hero Marty Smyth (although Nick Power and Bryan ‘The Fox’ O’Keeffe were the true fan favourites) with the seemingly invincible Roland de Wolfe in second, fresh off making his rather generous Final Day odds appear somewhat wayward.

“Fuck the poker,” I hear you cry. “we want gossip.” Well, I wouldn’t say there was anything as tabloid worthy as a Colclough split or an Ivey Hustle on show, but there are a few amusing anecdotes to be told, one which involved the enigmatic Devilfish taking full advantage of not only the bar, but also the grand piano in the lobby. Accompanied by an Eastern European girl (nice looking lass – assuming they’re courting, he don’t half do well for a veteran), Dave treated the rest of the room to a bout of Desperado, Hey Jude, Let It Be and my personal favourite, Great Balls Of Fire, although I do fear Mr Lee’s grave may have been rumbling just slightly.

Although it’s mighty surreal to be serenaded by an intoxicated UK poker legend that I used to idolise on Late Night Poker as I was falling in love with the game, it’s similarly bizarre to be enduring a bout of bingo with one of his fellow veterans, Mad Marty Wilson. After years of watching the Midlander entertain us on the small screen, I was treated to a live show in the form of ‘Win With Wilson’, a simple game that involved Marty shouting out cards until you’d filled your personal set of cards up, the winner being obliged to shout out ‘Win With Wilson!’ instead of the more familiar “House!”

Well, to cut a long story short, I ‘lost with Wilson’, but was surprisingly entertained by a man who can sometimes be a burden when you’re knackered, but a ray of light when you’re not. One of my favourite moments was when he gave someone a bottle of wine just for answering “Yes” to the question “You know what a koala bear is, don’t you?” Anyhow, if you want to see him in action whilst scaring a certain beagle with one of many card tricks, then click the following link:

In terms of poker, I was undoubtedly amused by two infamous incidents, the first involving Irish Poker Championships’ casher, Trevor McGoona, who petulantly smashed his chip across the table after folding to a weaker hand. A day later, Nick Power made me giggle by announcing all-in without even having any cards in front of him. His opponent folded and Nicky (below) took the pot, but his cards had already been mistakenly swiped away by the dealer without the Irishman realising. Is this the first time someone’s taken down a pot without possessing any cards?

Apart from the rumour that the recently rekindled Poker Bastard is a joint effort from Alan Engel (sp?) and another chap I can’t recall the name of, that’s about it from Dublin. I’m currently writing in Vegas covering the Bellagio WPT final so, considering the location, famous names lurking about, and amount of money at stake, I should have some worthy news to report come next blog entry. Keep an eye out.

Ps. Update from a previous entry: it was actually Ritchie Menlo, westmenlo and premier (please excuse any poor spellings) who spent a night in a Monte Carlo slammer – a reliable source informing me that they threw stuff off a balcony and even ran the risk of ‘tampering’ with a vehicle on the road. Eek, that could have been expensive.

Friday, April 13, 2007


It wasn’t quite the den of iniquity that I was expecting, but there were the inevitable pole-dancers and an array of stunning tottie on display, so the visual treats certainly weren’t lacking. The first person I caught sight of was The Gecko, who’s opening and slightly intoxicated line was “This is what happens when you’ve been on Eastenders”. Crikey I thought, imagine the parties the Mitchells must be having.

Enjoying the bevies in equal measure were a host of other familiar faces: Bill Chen, Devilfish, Joe Hachem, Vicky Coren, Mickey Wernick, Roland de Wolfe and The Hendon Mob all being lured in off the street – the first in that list being of particular entertainment, baring his chest and pushing those dancing shoes to the limit. “I’ll have nightmares for a year,” cried a disturbed onlooker. “6 months per nipple,” I replied.

A pre-cold turkied Kevin O’Connell was present, understandably enjoying his final sips of ethanol. Although pissed as a fart, he was able to utter a few decipherable words, one batch being in the form of a post-boom anecdote in which he reminisced of how a kid bypassed Trevor McDonald to request Kev’s autograph instead. I was so tempted to ask, “Who the eck is Trevor McDonald?’ but thought better of it.

The Devilfish was his usual nutty self; singing, dancing, socialising with the breasted ones – I don’t think there was a safe lady in the room. It was fun, although mighty surreal, seeing the fella I used to watch on the box as a student gyrating those hips in front of a pole-dancer. Gotta love the Fish!

Speaking of pole-dancing, John Shipley certainly wasn’t timid, inviting the gossiping paparazzi (oh crap, that’s me) to snap him sliding the ol crotch up and down the pole, a bevy in the one hand, the pole in the other and a huge Cheshire cat grin slapped across his face. Seeing a usually conservative Shipley bumping and grinding sure was a sight to behold.

If you think the gambling stops when the booze is introduced, then think again, as it’s a clear catalyst. At one point, I recall witnessing Mickey The Worm and Mark Vos making sizable bets on the number of tables in the room. It’s a shame the plastered Aussie was seeing double, he might have won…

After a while, all the DTD girls lingered around outside, posing for the odd photo with various stars, oh yeah, and JP Kelly (just kidding). Hachem seemed to be the main attraction, at one point saying “Don’t tell my wife about this!” “What was your wife’s email again?” I later asked cheekily. “,” joked The Hach. Bingo, a World Champ told me to fuck off, well that’s my claim to fame! Moneymaker and Gold are home bankers, Raymer could be a challenge.

Okay, enough waffle, time for a few piccies. There were many Heat Magazine-esque rumours flying about, but I really would get my balls chopped off and steamrolled if I gossiped too much. What I will say, though, is that the grapevine was vibrating vigoursly at one point, with my sources informing me that one player pulled a lass only to later find out she was a lady of the night. I’ll leave you to do the guessing.

You lost the bet, Mark!

Less hair than a Right Said Fred tribute band.

The Mrs is easily pleased come her b'day.

Don't do drugs, kids!

I repeat... don't do drugs!

Oh I give up!

Duthie dons pink.

Benjo, snoops, and The Panzer - sober as judges. Overruled!

Actionjeff points at his drink for no apparent reason.

Is it just me or is Vicky wearing a "Come to bed with me..." look?

Trevor McDonald

Lynchian Jen

Mad as a box of monkeys

"'Smack My Bitch Up'... My fave!"

I know Joe's receding, but this is ridiculous!

So lucky that the bar used to be a fire station.

People always say we look like brothers

Guess Joe isn't a breast man

Worth the entrance fee alone

Thursday, April 05, 2007


As ever, the long arm of the EPT not only brought us a cracking tournament (90 minutes with 15k starting stack is second to none this side of the pond), but it also sprouted the inevitable onslaught of hot gossip, the most newsworthy of which is undoubtedly the rumoured spat between Ivey, Goodwin and Vaswani.

With the debt unpaid, my sources inform me that the now infamous ‘Ivey Hustle’ debacle reached boiling point in Monte Carlo, with the ‘Tiger Woods of Poker’ demanding his money from the Brits. An argument ensued, but the two Englishmen stood firm. Looks like this one could go on for a while, folks, but I doubt Ivey will be too desperate, especially after taking Hellmuth for over half a mil at Chinese Poker – wish I’d been a fly on the wall when he was explaining that one to the Mrs.

Talking of bets, Ivey’s not the only one gambling non-stop. Whilst William Thorsson threatens to head the way in the ‘sickest gambler’ stakes with 25k heads up matches and 20k STTs, it’s Roland Wolfe who nips in to snatch the title, throwing around 10k challenges as if they were 20p dares.

Firstly, the Dublin EPT winner challenged Kevin O’Connell to quit drinking for 3 months (er… good luck seriously, they don’t call him Whiskey for nothing) and secondly, he offered to buy Jen Mason, my update partner, into the World Series’ Main Event if she kept off the ciggies. Whilst the former is a no hoper, Jen could certainly pull it off, although I won’t be looking forward to covering events with her prior…

Like last year, Monte Carlo dealt out its fair share of jail time, this time in the form of a group of Americans (one of whom I hear was Shaniac), who all spent a day in the slammer after a drunken night out which ended in an unnecessary bout of vandalism. The food was probably better than the room service I got though!

Whilst the arrival of Americans always tends to raise the odd anxious eyebrow, there were some seemingly nice lads in ActionJeff, Gobboboy (left), Alex Kim and co, all of whom seemed to be here for the poker rather than acting like idiots for a week. Of course, the flipside are cliques like the Holla Bolla boys (or whatever they’re called), who shout ‘ship it!’ when their boy wins a hand. Dressed in suits and sipping champers on the rail, I had to laugh when one of them woke up the room with that increasingly annoying chant, before realising that there was still a player in the pot. That player re-popped and the American lad was forced to fold. Sigh.

On the virtual side, Dave Colclough was busy inhabiting the blonde forum and ‘revealing all’ in that open tell all way of his. Whilst we were all intrigued about his Cincinnati Club revelations, we were undoubtedly flabbergasted when he posted that he’d found the Mrs. In bed with a 26 year-old. Crikey O’Reilly!

But amid all this hoo-ha, there was a comp going on, and this was won by American pro (again!) Gavin Griffin, who fully deserved the accolade and the accompanying 1.8 million Euros. Blasé in victory, the 2004 bracelet winner was out done in the laid back stakes when second player finisher Marc Karam happily confessed that he didn’t need the money and that it didn’t mean that much to him. He did mention that he might buy a Lamborghini though – go on Marc, force yourself.

If you’re wondering where the DTD goss is, then don’t threat, so much was witnessed that night that it warrants its own blog entry, so watch this space. If you’ve seen Simon Young’s recent picture gallery, you’ll know what I mean – Bill Chen… shudder.

I started this entry with the phrase ‘long arm of the EPT’, and that was used for a reason, because word on the grapevine is that the EPT will be reaching out to even more venues, one of which is said to be the Stag capital of the World, Prague. Sound exciting? Well, maybe, but like Neil Channing, I think you can have too many EPTs.

Finally, Lee Jones has NOT been arrested. See you in Dublin!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


... do I have some Monte Carlo anecdotes to tell.

Have a sore head from last night's DTD party and am working flat out, but when I return I'll be sure to update you all.

Watch this space!