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Author Topic: Remembering Big Laz  (Read 13369 times)
thetank
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« on: October 27, 2010, 05:06:28 AM »

This is a long post about Patrick Tochel, who, until his recent passing, posted here as lazaroonie. He was known mostly as either Laz or Big Laz.

It’s not an obituary; I’m not attempting to summarize Laz’s life. Instead, it’s kind of an unofficial poker forum mini obituary. I’m trying to remember and share the small section of his life that I was aware of, the man I was fortunate to know a little from playing poker, and from his time here on the forum. Other people knew him better than me, this is just one guy’s read of the man, and why his loss is such a tragic one.

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I first met Laz in December of 2005. We were both quite new to the forum and he had posted this...


is it just me, or do people have different personalities playing real life poker , than when they are online ?

I consider myself a very calm live player, and never raise my voice in anger, but when I am playing online (especially US sites), i spend half of my time typing obscenties and abuse into the chat box to wind the americans up.

dont know if it does any good, but its a great laugh....especially when I use the scottish abuse, and they havent a clue what I am on about....


To which I replied


Is that 'coz you're 'fraid of gettin' kok-knocked if you behave like that in a live game.


I didn’t see his reply, but that evening I went to the Cincinnati Club for the famous Thursday night £20 rebuy, £60 max spend game. The guy who was drawn next to me introduced himself and explained that he was lazaroonie on the blonde forum. It was immediately and obviously apparent that getting kok-knocked (whatever that means - 2005 was a long time ago) was not among this man’s concerns. Laz behaved impeccably at the table because that was what he wanted to do.

Laz was after all, Big Laz. He stood an intimidating 6ft 4” high and, by his own admission, was of blood type bisto.  As a big fella, there was no false modesty with regard to pretending that he couldn’t quickly put a man in an ambulance if he so desired.
While he frequently made reference to his size, it was never as a brag. It was just something that was. If he could make use of this fact to improve upon a story he was telling, he would do so.
 
Laz loved his stories see, telling them and hearing them. Like all good raconteurs, he was interested in making them as appealing as possible. He was a man of many anecdotes (and a good lot of them involved Jimmy Tarbuck in some form, speaking of false modesty, there was certainly none with regard to him pretending that he hadn’t drunk beers with Jimmy Tarbuck)

One of my favourite Laz stories from the felt...


i once had a guy on my right , tell us it was his first live game - he looked about 12 years old.

anyway, I had raised, table folds round, to him, who shakily puts a load of chips into the pot and annouces re-raise.

I turn and bellow at him, "dont every fkin re-raise me again, you understand"....before collapsing in fits of laughter 10 seconds later (and natch, folding).

he looked like he was about to cry...


I love this one because it’s so completely out of character for Laz and his usual gentlemanly behaviour at the table. The whole table, most of whom knew the big man well and were initially taken aback, were in stitches shortly after Laz started laughing. The wee boy saw the funny side (after the 10 seconds of abject terror obviously) and it helped get him out of his shell.

Laz wasn’t a bully by any stretch of the imagination, despite his physical presence there was never an air of impending violence about him. He always kept his cool, bad words alone would never have been enough to provoke this man.
 
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The pokersphere is full of big blokes, and full of big egos. Men, who under normal circumstances you would not expect to give ground to anyone, deferred to Laz without knowing too much about it.

Laz just had a certain air about him. Joe Speaker, a writer from LA and friend of Div, gives an excellent example. On a visit to Glasgow, and on sharing a meal with Laz and the boys at La Tasca on Renfield Street he writes...

"(Laz) had mysteriously gotten us a table right away at the packed tapas bar, the Big Man striding in as if he were a majority investor and directing the waitress to fill the table with a wide array of culinary enticement: anchovies in olive oil, charred kabobs of pork, meatballs dripping with tomatillo sauce."


http://mcgtruckin.blogspot.com/2006/06/truffles-by-joe-speaker-2006-youd.html

Basically Laz was kinda the king. No-one resented it, no-one contested it. He did not wield his regal power unjustly and we were all just glad to be in his company.  

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It has to be said though, just because someone is the King doesn’t mean that you don’t rip the piss out of them at every available opportunity.

There was the Jimmy Tarbuck thing, I think it was mostly booder flying the flag for that one. I think the big man dropped the name one too many times and was (rightly) not allowed to forget it.

Laz was often referred to as ‘the jockey’ (I’m pretty sure it was tikay who coined that one.) Then of course we have Laz as the Palestine, after a famous weekend in Scarborough...


As you can expect there was plenty of banter flying around, and big Laz to his credit took plenty ... he was smoking this cigar that looked like a frigging table leg !! and telling us how he loved cuban cigars, fine food and good wine ... I think the final straw was when Bradders told laz that he had seen those cigars in Lidl's next to the 4 pence beans and the 7 pence biscuits ... which lead Laz to announce that we were all "Palestines" .... by the time he had realised that he had meant to say "philistines" it was too late, and his slip of the tongue ensured that he went to bed with the sound of howling laughter and mockery ringing in his ears... although on his way to his bed , I copped the remains of his can of lager over my head which was a fair swap for the amount of entertainment he provided us with.


Above quote comes from an all-time great trip report from the pen of Colchester Kev. It’s well worth a read, best served with a side dish of two other threads from that weekend.

Trip report
http://blondepoker.com/forum/index.php?topic=15479.0

Rod and Laz’s worst nightmare
http://blondepoker.com/forum/index.php?topic=15479.0

Buckfast reaches the mainland
http://blondepoker.com/forum/index.php?topic=15448.15

*****

I’m seething with envy that I missed that weekend as it was clearly a cracker, but you can’t catch them all. I don’t feel too hard done by, as I’ve a lot of happy memories from the jaunts I’ve been on in the name of the pokers. I think of Laz when I recall my favourite poker related memory, the Sunday afternoon at the blonde bash in Walsall.

A dozen or so of my favourite poker pissheads, including the big man, were sitting around a great big round table in a quiet corner of the hotel pub. After all the pesky tournament nonsense was over with the previous day, and with no busy itenary to keep to, we all just sat there for hours on end.

Top pub hours they were, stories swapped, laughter free flowing, the empties piling up against the back wall (and quite an impressive sight they ended up making.)  A marathon session of Western Roll was played (a game I couldn’t remember the rules to now if you placed a gun to my head) and when the barman got upset and told us we couldn’t gamble with coins any more, we kept score with pen and paper instead.

*****

The post would be woefully incomplete if I didn't give some love to the Laz home game.

His hospitality is what first cemented the man in my mind as a living legend, specifically the mini burgers in mini buns (this was back in 2006 you understand, when mini burgers in mini buns was a really big deal.)
 
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The loss of Laz is a huge one. I try to think of anyone else that I’d be happy to share a hotel room with despite the fact that they snore like a man with chronic sleep apnea and use up all the towels;  I come up with a blank list.

Although deeply saddened by the loss, I feel lucky to have known Big Laz for a short while. Ian Braddley said it well, and neatly sums up my feelings too, when he said that “he was a top bloke who knew how to live life”

He will be remembered.
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 06:09:34 AM »

1/18601

Thanks Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 09:39:58 AM »

Probably the only blonde I've not met that I'm gutted I didn't chance from the way people talked about him.

Great post.

RIP.
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 09:46:14 AM »

Never knew the guy, but from the post on his thread and this really really good post obviously a special guy.
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 09:48:23 AM »

So moved by this post, you have such a great way with words tank, and I can't find any right now. You've done the big man proud.

RIP Laz
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 09:54:23 AM »

So moved by this post, you have such a great way with words tank, and I can't find any right now. You've done the big man proud.

RIP Laz

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RIP Laz

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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 09:54:40 AM »

Beautiful post Tank.

While I'm dreading the funeral, I'm almost looking forward to the wake after it, Laz's mates from the football and some of his poker mates all reminiscing - it'll be a best Laz story contest & I'm the sure the Big Man will be listening.
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 10:00:32 AM »

Thanks for posting that Tank.

Every memory that I have of the big man brings a smile to my face.
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 10:01:53 AM »

I found his interview

   
Re: In The Crow's Nest with.......      « Reply #133 on: October 12, 2008, 11:50:12 PM »
   
A late entry from a man who lives up north ,   somewhere      Lazaroonie

How long have you been playing poker ?
a long time. way before it all got "scientific" and complicated. I used to win a bit then.

Which sites do you play on
Blonde, DTD, BlueSq, Party, Pokerstars, FullTilt, coral. hills, laddies, pokerzillion, - did I miss any ?

Do you play live at pubs, clubs or Casinos
I often make the 700 mile round trip to my local cardroom in Luton.

Had any big wins this year
I managed to get third prize in my home game a few months back.

Do you play every day
no, I like to give the other players a chance now and again.

Where did you go on holiday this year
I went on a big family holiday to America in April, which was good to get a break from work. I had to come home from America to go though....

How many miles a week do you drive
not many. I "work from home" so the only time I need to get out is to go to the spar for a copy of mayfair and a packet of kleenex.

Do you prefer on line or Live
on-line shopping has definitely made a difference to my life, but I still like the thrill of pushing a trolley around....

Who's your favorite Poker Pro
none. they are all dicks.

Ever played a Poker Pro, like Aces or Devilfish
i used to see Dave Colclough a bit. Almost sold him a flat, but someone beat me to it.

Whats your favorite restaurant,  
I have a great affection for Indian Food.

Does your wife/partner play poker
you would need to ask her that. our lives seems to be a constant heads up battle.

Can I print this on the Blonde web site
aye

Thanks you get a gold star for a speedy reply

CROW>> Top Man



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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 10:42:56 AM »

Great post tank, fitting for a great man.
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 10:52:19 AM »

Nice post Tank

Never had the luck to attend Laz's home game but did have the pleasure of his company in my home one evening. He drove through from Glasgow and proceeded to keep everyone highly amused and then drove home again. Not too many people would do that trip just to play a wee home game with a bundle of guys who would likely be pretty drunk by the end of the night while he would be sat sober.

He was such a good guy I will miss him a lot.
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 11:45:26 AM »

Good post thomas. I met Laz at the walsall bash i think and rememeber liking him and his stories while we played. Wish i'd known him better.
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2010, 04:45:49 PM »

Very nice post Tank.
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 06:40:29 PM »

A Very Special Post

Thank you Tank
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 09:15:28 PM »

Very nice post Thomas. That night out you mentioned was a cracking night. A very good memory to hang onto.

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