It was some time in the early nineties. I was playing poker in Dublin’s Jackpot Club a couple of hours before the Irish Open was due to start. Some guy I’d never seen before came in the door and immediately started talking at Alan Betson. He appeared to be pretty sad and I didn’t blame him because from filling in the dots between the odd word or two of English I picked up, it appeared that this was one unlucky bastard.
All of us felt very sorry indeed for this poor lad. All of us that is except Alan who raised an eyebrow and said “Are you mistaking me for someone who gives a fuck?” That was my introduction to the phenomenon that became the Devilfish. Though back then his name was Dave.
A couple of months ago, I was talking to him about this year’s event. He said he had a couple of health issues but was looking forward to coming back to Dublin again. Sadly, he was bluffing. He died on the final day of this year’s Open .That was the thing about The Fish. At his best, he was a hard man to put on a hand.
I think it was January 97. A bunch of us were at whatever was going on in the Four Queens. The Fish was there with his driver, which seemed a little odd as they didn’t have a car but maybe they were planning on purchasing one in the near future. The big Omaha game wasn’t going too good for Devilfish and he quite reasonably got it into his head that it’d go a lot better if his driver wasn’t watching him play and asking how he was doing, and awkward stuff like that.
So, he took a hundred dollar bill from his stack and gave it to his employee suggesting he check out Vegas. Or a hundred bucks worth of it anyway. Being from Hull, the guy had never had a hundred anything in his whole life, so he quite sensibly went to the cage to get change. The cashier introduced him to two security guys, who in turn introduced him to the police, who in turn introduced him to the FBI. They all seemed very interested in where his note came from and amazingly were unaware of the existence of The Devilfish, which to be fair didn’t reflect very well on the law enforcement agencies involved.
After several hours down town, it was decided maybe it’d be a good idea if they introduced themselves, so everybody went back to the Four Queens. The Fish was no longer playing poker so they tried his room. His driver knocked on the door saying “Dave, Dave! Open up! Its me.” Devilsh replied “Fxxx off. I’m trying to sleep!” “But Dave. The FBI are with me.” “Well, they can Fxxx off too!” They didn’t.
A few days after this very unfortunate misunderstanding over the dodgy hundred dollar bill had been explained away to everyone’s satisfaction, I was watching Dave, oh sorry! Devilfish, at his entertaining finest as he demolished a final table in one of the NLH events. Only Men the Master remained and he only remained a little bit as his stack was down to two big blinds. A fifteen minute break was announced which caused Men to throw a complete wobbly.
Quite understandably in my book in the circumstances, but it was great craic anyway. Devilfish put the icing on the cake by insisting they take the scheduled break, telling Men he should use the time wisely to reconsider his tactics. I thought Men was going to have a triple heart attack but was wrong again.
The crowd absolutely loved it. Even without the heart attack. Of course it almost went horribly wrong as a furious Men doubled up a few times after the break before making the mistake of getting it in with the best hand. The whole show was hilarious, Devilfish was in a class of his own when it came to making people laugh. And that’s why he will be remembered years after the robots have been forgotten.