133 Seconds with… James Mitchell

133 Seconds with… James Mitchell

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

We catch up with Irish Open champ.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen happen at the poker table?

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen people take their shirts off for a tableside massage, but unfortunately this has never been an attractive woman. The strangest thing is probably when a tableside potted tree toppled over and landed on a man who was all-in on the river. He didn’t react and kept his stone-like pose. Eventually the opponent folded and, unfazed by his head being tangled in branches, he nonchalantly showed the bluff.

What’s your most treasured possession?

This has to be my debts list. I have lost it before and had not backed it up. I’m sure people saved thousands from me not being able to collect money from old Chinese poker games. Funnily enough, I’m sure everyone that I owed money to managed to let me know how much I owed them.

Who’s your poker hero?

When I started playing I used to love all the old school players like Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese who had survived generations of poker players and always came out on top. Unfortunately, the more I became involved in poker, the more I began to realise that a lot of these players were no longer competitive and their reputations amongst poker professionals weren’t the same as you see portrayed on ESPN and the like.

Non-poker hero?

Not really sure… I guess Eric Cantona. I’ve always admired the combination of such talent with the determination to do whatever he wants. I just love how he always managed to back up his huge arrogance with the perfect riposte. “When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown in the sea.”

Tell us a joke…
A man in the street with a clipboard stopped me the other day. “Can you spare a few minutes for Cancer Research?”

I said, “OK, but I don’t think we’ll get much done in a few minutes.”

Can’t remember where I heard this but I always remember it when I see these people.

What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought with your poker winnings?

The most wasteful is probably the Bower and Wilkins sound system that I bought for quite a lot of money and never use. I’m about to buy a new car so that might be the most extravagant.

Do you believe in God?

I am agnostic, although the longer I’ve been playing poker the more superstitious I have become.

What’s the biggest life lesson poker has taught you?

Probably that if you wait to do everything until you’re 100% sure it is right you’ll likely do a lot less in your life. It is good to take a chance, especially if it is a well-reasoned one.

What’s the biggest bluff you’ve ever made in life?

I don’t think I’ve made any big life bluffs but I make small ones all the time. When I book hotels, I phone up reservations and ask for corporate rates and pretend to work for certain companies. So far I’ve got every bluff through and normally you save 25% to 40% on your booking. Hopefully I will keep running good.

Tags: James Mitchell, 133 seconds with, interviews