Whiskey in the Jar
They say God made whiskey so the Irish wouldn’t rule the world. They’re right of course but every now and again He cuts us a little bit of slack, just for the laugh. This year he chose the $ 10 000 pot-limit Omaha to give us a day out and what a day out it was. Two Irish made the final table, Tom Hanlon drank his way through the first two days (and nights) and many consider him turning up sober at the final was a big mistake. Despite this self-imposed handicap he didn’t do too bad but when he finally got eliminated we got left with Marty Smyth (who’d had a gallon or two himself in the course of the event) matched against the world. An often boring WSOP came to life and turned into an Irish party. As Phil Hellmuth was trying to win bracelet number whatever it is on a quiet court 16 the Rio rocked to chants of “You’ll never beat the Irish” from a good-natured and ecstatic beer-fuelled mob on ESPN’s centre court. Tom Hanlon joined the crowd with a beer in his hand and when asked why he was only drinking beer as opposed to his normal weapon of choice (vodka), he instantly replied : “I’m taking it easy, I don’t have any other serious tournaments to play today.” The security guys seemed to think they were involved in a riot situation and panicked. They tried to move some of the fans out of the Irish section into the Canadian zone. They were pissing in the wind. They even tried to move honorary Irishman Neil Channing, much to everyone’s amusement. Channing has stuck more players than Pokerstars into this year’s WSOP and should at least be able to sit wherever the fuck he likes. When Marty closed the deal, he must have felt like the most relieved guy in the room. He wasn’t. As the Irish were ordering four cases of beer at a time, that honour must have gone to whoever’s round was coming up next.
Marty’s interview was a classic, it was modest, funny and very respectful both to his opponents and the game. We expected no less. The WSOP desperately needs champions like Marty Smyth. The Irish tend to tolerate winners and love gallant losers but in Marty’s case I’m sure they’ll make an exception.