True Irish Baller: It’s Not All Bad

True Irish Baller: It’s Not All Bad

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Could it be The Baller is being nice? Did someone slip something in his coffee? Better enjoy it while it lasts…

A recent article of mine kicked up quite a fuss (check out the December issue of Bluff Europe, if you haven’t already). Plenty of people took to Twitter to dispute my feelings on Irish poker as a whole. These are my opinions and I stick by them, but I’m always happy to discuss all aspects of poker with “sound” people (there are some serious nutters out there). So always feel free to hit me up on @trueirishballer on Twitter. But since I decided I would try and start the year off with a positive mentality, let’s look at some of the good things within the Irish poker community.

Irish poker is blessed with characters and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are more genuinely entertaining characters in an Irish poker field than anywhere else in the world. Get on a table with some of these guys and you won’t need the Beats headphones or the tablets because your entertainment is right there in front of you. From the “ballers” such as Padraig Parkinson and John O’Shea to the self-proclaimed bankroll nits like David Lappin, you only need to sit at a table with these guys to truly appreciate how great the diversity within the actual community is.

“Parky” for me is The True Irish Baller. He will start swamping pints from the moment he sits at the table and always kindly offers drinks for everyone – a true gent, both on and off the felt. Then there is O’Shea, an entertainer with 15 pints in him and well capable of a destructive one-liners even when off it. As for Lappin, he’s probably the best for harsh one-liners and rub-downs on the felt if he doesn’t like you. He gets under people’s skin but he couldn’t give a damn. The Baller personally loves it. These guys are all great for the game and there are many, many more.

Another tremendous aspect of the community is the array of tournaments available to Irish players. Whether your bankroll is for UKIPT’s or the €20 freezeout in your local watering hole, there isn’t a town in Ireland where you can’t get a poker tournament to suit your game. It’s a credit to the promoters and organisers that promote the popularity of the game as a whole. It’s a tireless effort and the structures some of these games offer is nothing short of amazing for the reg fee on offer.

I will make a slight negative (couldn’t let it go): it’s very disappointing to watch the drop in buy-ins for the bigger tournaments. The Irish Open has lost a bit of its prestige and has been devalued by the lowering of the buy-in. If you watch the difference between the calibre of players making the journey over the last few years, it’s such a shame. It used to be a huge deal and it’s a pity there’s no truly great tournament anymore to enjoy on our own soil.

Finally, a point I got pulled up on on Twitter which needs addressing. Jason Tompkins in particular felt I was very hard on young Irish players in December, not giving them enough credit. There are some real gems of young players in Ireland at the moment – my point is simply that under better circumstances, and with more support from the older, established pros, there could be even more. Guys like Paul “Uwannaloan?” Delaney, James “Jaymo” Noonan, Kevin “torino2000” Killeen and Padraig “Smidge” O’Neill deserve an enormous amount of credit for being up there with the very best any country has to offer. For a small country, we certainly are capable of incredible talent. All the Baller wanted was more.

Tags: True Irish Baller, Padraig Parkinson, John O'Shea, David Lappin