Just got back off a heavy week in Poland where Peter Willers Jespen and his girlfriend masseuse (yes, THAT masseuse) took home €325,633. It was all in zloty actually, but I still haven’t worked out the exchange rate. I do recall John Conroy saying he was a “half a zlotyaire” though.
But enough about that, it suddenly dawned on me today that I go to all these events, but too often leave out the juicy gossip. Sometimes I forget that not all those who read my blog are on the circuit.
Anyhow, as hinted at in the title, the key word in Poland was ‘booze’, and lots of it. Johnny Lodden and Peter Eicchart (sp?) in particular were completely off their trolley one night. That Lodden likes his drink, and last week was no exception – quiet at the table, but give him some ethanol and the beast is released. Just kidding, top man and pretty down to earth for someone so rich.
I heard one story that some idiot once challenged him online to a heads up game. You know how it goes, “You suck” “No, you suck” “Why not play heads up?” “You scared?” and so on. Anyhow, Johnny took up the challenge and asked, “Are you sure you have the bankroll?” to which Mateyboy replied, “Of course I do.” A couple of minutes later, this guy sat down at a table with 150k (or something similar) only for Johnny to sit with 4.9 million bucks. The muppet buggered off and was never seen again. No, I’m not one to suck up, but even I’d confess to being impressed by that.
Back to the booze though, the whole Scandie clan seemed to be loving the bottle. There’s a group of youngsters, two of which include Jonas Molander and Ramzi Jelassi, who were well up for going out each night and tasting the Polish nightlife, and even took Jen under their wing one night. From what Jen said, they tried out a couple of places (I think they were called ‘Platinum’ and ‘Opera’) but were refused entry in one for breaking dress code. I believe one of them flashed a wad of money, but it didn’t work in Poland and they were sent packing.
Talking of flashing money, how about this for a rib tickler. Norseman Sverre Sundbo was hanging around outside (fresh air, I guess) when he was approached by the police and accused of begging. Now Sverre might wear shabby trainers and well-worn jogging trousers, but he hardly looks like a tramp, especially with his boyish good looks that seem to make every female in the room swoon. Anyhow, in response to this, Sverre pulled out 10k from his pocket. What did the cops do? Accuse him of being a dealer. You have to laugh.
Returning to the ale, yet again, John Conroy certainly didn’t mess around come final night. Admittedly, he had just finished third in the Main Event, plus it was Paddy’s Day, so he had good reason to celebrate – and celebrate he did, pretty much by buying everyone in sight a drink, especially himself. The table in the Hotel bar was jammed full of drinks, whether people had ordered them or not. Every five minutes, an intoxicated PunkFloyd would do the rounds, and if you said, “No, I’m good” you’d soon find three vodka and cranberries sitting in front of you. Boy, the barmen loved him that night.
Some of his chat was hilarious too. He can be pretty quiet at the table, but get a few beers down him and he becomes Mohammed Shafiq, well, sort of. Unfortunately, I was also joining in with the festivities and may have agreed to call him ‘Rockstar’ Conroy for all future updates after he complained about always being known as a “Steady Eddie with no moves whatsoever”. Actually, before he was bladdered, he admitted that he reached third without doing anything particularly adventurous, just playing his usual solid game. “You don’t need to, the Scandies are crazy,” he added.
As with all poker venues, the local hookers arrive in their droves, and Poland was no exception. Whilst sometimes they’re slightly more discreet, they really weren’t here. In fact, there was a grubby lass, although fairly good looking, who sat at the bar for the whole of Day 2, saying hello and flirting to any fella that sat next to her.
At one point, a group of five Scandies (who I won’t name for my own security) swarmed round her, took her over to a couch and started chatting her up. About several minutes later, in trundled four more hookers – wow, that’s some coincidence! High heels, dyed blonde hair, short skirts, they all looked the same, all equally dirty looking – it really wasn’t hard to decipher their occupation. Anyhow, I scarpered before they left, but I think they may have stayed the night.
In fact, you’d be surprised how many poker players use hookers, and famous ones too. I won’t mention any names for obvious reasons. Actually, it doesn’t really bother me, they’re grown men, they can do what they want.
Guess what, back to the booze, and this time it’s Andy Black, who loves a drink as much as the next man, especially if the next man is Father Jack from Father Ted. Anyhow, Andy is great entertainment, especially when he’s sozzled, and there were slight suspicions when he announced an hour or two of the final table. Phrases such as “That’s the Ace from space,” “We have an Irish thingy (Conroy) here at the final” and “No cameras at this EPT, we’ll look back on this night with a fond sadness,” lured a rye smile out of virtually everyone. The philosophical comment I enjoyed the most was, “It’s a sobering thought to think that just one of these pink 10k chips is worth an entire human being,” and how can I forget that classic moment where he tried to explain the 5 cards in the split pot before giving up and just saying, “We have Queen Ten, no, it’s Ace, Queen. Oh, whatever, it’s a split pot.” Top man and a great laugh, made the final a lot more bearable – more of the Monk I say!
Dave Colclough was as present as ever, and he was saying that some of the cash games were fishy beyond belief. When I passed by, they were playing double flop Hold’Em (!) but I think Dave was patiently waiting for his fave game, 6 card Omaha. Interestingly, and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this, he said this is his strongest game because so many “so called pro’s” don’t know how to play it. I recall he later mentioned the Devilfish, who isn’t Dave’s biggest fan, saying that it's not Ulliott's best game, perhaps playing it like 4 card Omaha too often. For Dave, second flushes and flopped nut straights which can be easily outdrawn are thrown into the bin straight away whilst others will push them to the max, and incorrectly so. He may be on a dry run in tourneys, but Dave remains one of Europe’s best Omaha players, so he’s definitely worth listening to. Oh, and if you want to know who Dave thinks is the best Omaha player in Europe, then look no further than Rob Hollink.
Okay, that’s enough, I’ve waffled on for far too long, just thought you’d like to hear a few fun anecdotes. Also, I guess it gives you an idea of what these events are like. At the table, they’re deadly serious (except, maybe Black), but off it, the players do their utmost to have a good time. Kudos!