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Padraig Parkinson

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Padraig Parkinson

Omaha Practice and Lucky Numbers

Poker players make mistakes all the time. It’s an inexact science that often involves making important, even life changing, decisions in a matter of seconds based on what may often be incomplete information. Sometimes, that highly complicated scientific tool, known in the trade as guess work, can determine whether you’re a genius or an idiot. The only thing I know for sure is that if you lack the courage to be in there where it’s toughest or try to dodge tough decisions, you can go and buy yourself a Dead Money tee-shirt or find a game that doesn’t test the mind and the heart the way poker does.

I make mistakes all the time. Maybe the biggest one is sometimes not learning from the last one. Some call it stupidity, but I’m immune from that one because I’m Irish. In Ireland it’s traditional to repeat mistakes at least a few times. It’s all just part of the deal. It is a great comfort though to watch others make complete idiots of themselves in other fields. It helps with the self-forgiveness process. I was absolutely thrilled to hear the commentator in a recent world cup match come out with a classic “Usually you should have at least eight or nine players in a ten man wall”. He can play in my game any time he likes. Then, one of the guys on the mike in the Rio (I think these guys are paid by the word or just love themselves) beat the football guy out of sight with the following “We had over two thousand players yesterday and had to give only one ten minute penalty for use of the F. word. Congratulations to all of you, including those who weren’t here yesterday.” Wow.


I like Dan Heimiller, he’s a very good aggressive all round tournament poker player. He raises more often than any man alive. He looks like he should be a rock but he’s actually the complete opposite. He drives people nuts with his constant raising and re-raising and enjoys quite a degree of success. He’s also a very amusing and enthusiastic beer drinking companion and can converse in a zany and entertaining manner on many subjects which don’t involve a flop, a turn or a river. But sometimes he gets a little confused. During the dinner break in one of the two thousand no-limit tournaments, a friend of mine told me Dan had just been talking to him about me. It appears that Dan thought that I was giving up too much of my edge (I’m glad that at least someone thinks I have one) by putting my opponents too much at ease with my easygoing attitude at the table. He may or may not be right but the funny thing is that half an hour after having this conversation he asked me if I’d trade five percent with him. Sounds like an audition for a membership the Irish team to me.

I went over to the Bellagio the other day to play the thousand dollar no-limit holdem tournament that they hold every afternoon. Very player friendly. Five thousand starting chips and a tournament director and staff who know what poker and poker players are all about. It’s a pity Jack McLelland is no longer involved in the wsop. After misplaying AQ to lose three quarters of my chips to KK (I should know that even the guy who’s drinking gets a big hand just as often as the other guys) I then flopped a set of queens for the rest of my money, only to lose to A3 who hit a runner runner for a wheel. Good practice for the omaha tournament that’s coming up! England’s Ian Woodley, runner up in the recent Irish open, came out with a gem, which was almost but not quite worth the thousand. We were discussing the final of the pot-limit holdem event in 2005 where the USA’s Brian Wilson (who also finished second in 888’s televised UK Open) defeated England’s man in form John Gale. Ian’s theory was that these two guys were probably twins that had been separated at birth, and only met up at the final table. If you have played with them or watched them play, you’ll find it hard to rule out this possibility.

Next up was the 2500 no-limit holdem in the Rio, which unfortunately turned out to be another practice session for the omaha. I checked top set to the button on an A K 2 flop (he’s raised and I re-raised before the flop) and he stuck me all-in. A ten and a queen later, I was on my way back to the Gold Coast. I stopped on the Rio gift shop on the way to cheer myself up by purchasing and consuming a Milky Way. I consider this a very loose play as a Milky Way is a quarter cheaper in the Gold Coast but sometimes you’ve got to take the worst of it, just for the hell of it. The very pleasant Asian lady who served me looked at my shirt and said “888, very lucky number!”. She’s still alive but that’s down more to my ignorance at the time of the status of the death penalty in the state of Nevada than to anything else.

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