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partypoker ambassador and Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson gives his views on the recent partypoker LIVE Grand Prix Killarney event and the upcoming Grand Prix Cork festival.

If you believe very positive customer feedback is the way to measure the success of an event, then partypoker LIVE Grand Prix Killarney was a triumph. Personally, my yardstick is laughter, and there was plenty of that! I laughed loudest during the charity event’ there was a guy hanging about who couldn’t decide whether to play or not. That wasn’t a big surprise, as he was full to the gills of beer and whiskey and had been for two days. I would have stopped him only it was for charity and in that case, the ability to crawl on hands and knees to registration desk is good enough for me; he qualified but just about! Let’s call him Player A.

Now Keith, sorry I mean Player A, is a good guy when sober or even half drunk but, like many of his fellow countrymen, a complete pain in the arse when absolutely legless. He drew a seat beside my friend Bobby, as nice a guy as you could meet and a thorough gentleman. It didn’t take long before it all took off. Player A was smoking an e-cigarette that was pumping out more smoke than a steam engine from a bygone day. Bobby looked like a man who’d put his head up into a cloud and was totally unrecognisable apart from his shirt. When the smoke cleared, the row started. I could have watched it forever! Player A won the tournament. Bobby didn’t. That’s poker!

The Grand Prix tour of Ireland moves on to Cork in December. At last year’s event, a lot of the talk was of Kevin Spillane (aka The Bull), who is sadly no longer with us. Kevin provided most amusement when he wasn’t trying to be funny. And that was a lot of the time. My favourite Spiller story was from a World Series of Poker event in the early noughties. Kevin was from a draw poker background, so he entered some kind of draw low bracelet event at the series. He never played low poker before but that didn’t bother him. He wasn’t even overconcerned when he found out after an hour or so that there was a joker in play. He was right because the next day he was back for the final table! Never was a man prouder to be representing his country than Kevin was that day. Even if he wasn’t too sure what was going on. He was knocked out sixth or thereabouts and was presented with the then traditional WSOP Final Table jacket. His heart nearly burst with pride. I next bumped into him three days later in Binions. He was about three-quarters embalmed in a sea of brandy and was still wearing the jacket. When I asked why he still had the jacket on he replied: “I’m afraid people won’t recognise me without it!” Priceless!

This article first appeared in Bluff Europe Magazine

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