One of the complaints that fans of poker have with the modern game is the lack of characters in tournament fields. You know, those players who can light up the poker room with their comments, charm, and wit. One such player is the legend that is Bob Tait, better known to the UK poker scene as the Kilted Shark.
Bob is 61-years young who works as a chef on P&O ferries running from Larne in Northern Ireland to Cairnryan in Scotland. He spends two weeks at sea, then two weeks on shore playing live and online poker.
It was three-card brag that was Bob’s first foray into the gambling world, before discovering poker in 2011.
“My first poker game was back in 2011. I did play three-card brag in Glasgow way back in the early 1970s when living hotels while training to be a chef. A week’s wages were either won or lost in three card, although a week’s wage was just over a fiver back in them days.”
At the UK Team Challenge at Dusk Till Dawn, Bob gained a few hundred more fans when he made a grand entrance that saw him enter the poker room in a full kilt, complete with a bagpipes player leading him to his seat! It was a fantastic spectacle and one of the reasons that Bob’s adored on the circuit. Why did he decided to make such an entrance? Bob explains.
“It’s a long long story, but I’ll try shorten it a bit. My first-ever poker tournament outside a pub was the UKIPT in Cork. Yes I know, step in with the big boys way out of your depth! I had the good fortune to meet Sam Razavi’s mum, who she told me had Scottish blood. For this reason I ended up railing Sam to the final table and watched him win the tournament. He was wearing a massive Irish cap and had a small leprechaun as his mascot.
“The next time I met Sam was a few months later at my second tournament in Edinburgh and I had decided, as being Scottish and proud of my heritage, I would hire a full Scottish outfit for the occasion. At the first break I remember Sam’s exact words were, “I was going to hire a kilt for this but seeing you, it would have been a hard act to match. You’re like a kilted shark!” These words have cost me about £3,000 in Scottish clothing and the name has stuck. However, it’s cost Sam a few quid in Johnny Walker Black Label Whisky!
“The pipes came about by me thinking feck it, If Phil Hellmuth can make an entrance, why not me?”
Bob says the poker achievement he is proudest of is when Sylvia Hewitt approached him to become a member of the staking stable Bankroll Supply. He says being part of the group has helped his game progress and “proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
While Bob has many fans, he himself is a fan of the partnership between partypoker and Dusk Till Dawn, and he plans to support both by trying to win his way into more Grand Prix Poker Tour events in the coming months, partly because he says the “side entertainment with the likes of Mad Marty is great.”
“One of my bucket lists was to play at DTD as I had never been there. Since the partnership, I was able to cross this off my wish list as partypoker and Rob Yong were giving people the opportunity to qualify to games that were well above their means. I have now played at DTD four times and found it well worth the trouble of travel from Ireland, both in experience and in financial reward.”
So what does a legend like Bob say are his three most important things are for up and coming poker players?
“My most important bit of advice would be to never play above your means. There are plenty of satellites out there that you can use to qualify for games that you could only dream of playing.
“Also, make friends while enjoying the experience. True friends will always give you good advice to improve your game, but will still take your chips in the process, and finally take advantage of Rob Yong, DTD and partypoker as long as they are willing to throw money at you!”
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