Padraig Parkinson (Photo courtesy of The Journal-Ireland)
Meet Padraig Parkinson
Padraig Parkinson once thought of himself seriously as a professional poker player, until he started running bad. He was born in Dublin, Ireland and comes with all the stereotypical Irish baggage, including a magical talent for making the contents of any bottle disappear. A few years ago, he got fed up with the Dublin’s incessantly depressing weather and took a permanent residential sabbatical in France, much to the chagrin of his French neighbors who won’t bother to learn Padraig’s native language. Other than natural wit and occasional charm, Parkinson is best known for his occasional success, even flashes of brilliance, as a poker tournament player. He finished third to fellow countryman Noel Furlong in the 1999 world poker championship. He won the U.K.’s Late Night Poker, and has made many deep runs in European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour events. He’s won nearly $2 million in tournament poker, all of which has already been blown (and then some), he says.
Forty years ago today, legendary racehorse Secretariat made a mockery out of The Belmont Stakes, locking up the Triple Crown, and ensuring the colt a place in history as the greatest equine of all time.
To really get an appreciation for this horse and legendary race, take a few minutes and watch the entire contest from start to finish. What’s most impressive is seeing the first half of the race where it appears Secretariat might struggle against another horse named Sham, only to break away in the most lopsided race in memory. I still get chills watching this race and listening how wonderfully it was called by the track announcer, Chic Anderson.
Close friend Paul Berkowitz once told me that he was there at Belmont Park that day. Secretariat was such a huge betting favorite, that he paid almost nothing — even on a “win” ticket. So, instead of cashing their tickets some savvy collectors decided to hang onto their prize keepsakes as souvenirs. They became a way to validate you were there that memorable day, July 9, 1973.
A person is interesting to the degree he thinks and acts outside of himself.
The people I find most interesting are those who extend themselves beyond self-interest. They willingly confront bigger issues and challenges. They stand for princples.
Those are the kinds of people I like to be around. Those are the people I enjoy writing about. These are the people I tend to call my friends.
And so, I shall.
Facing the Firing Squad is my new feature. But guns or bullets are not allowed. Only questions and answers.
This idea came from a suggestion by my longtime comrade known as ”El Tontoligo,” the Jewish Spaniard raised in France who became an American and now lives in Los Angeles. I know — that’s a blender full of issues. By the way, “El Tontoligo” essentially means “the village idiot.”
The basic concept was to borow the “Proust Questionnaire” from Vanity Fair and fire my own set of questions to the most interesting people I know, and even some I don’t know but hope to know better.
Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, everyone who lives and loves life – I hereby present Facing the Firing Squad.
Meet Allen Rash (a.k.a. Al Rash or “AlCantHang”)
Allen Rash was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia making him genetically predisposed to painful sport fandoms. He spent his post college years working for a major international tech company before it stole enough of his soul. After 20 years of working the corporate life, he quit his job to start writing, travelling, and personally researching the relaxing places in the world. Al has spent his post-corporate life working and writing for Full Tilt Poker, Epic/GPI, PokerStars, Pokerati, PokerListings, and several other short-term projects. While Al still calls Philly his home, he would much rather spend his time in Key West or New Orleans or any place near a big body of water. He enjoys big-game fishing, day-time bacchanalia, and will watch any baseball put in front of him. Al can be found writing about poker during his work hours and has a long dormant novel that needs work before anyone lays eyes on it. Al can be found on Twitter at @AlCantHang and his writing on any site which picks up his freelance option throughout the year.
If you play at the World Series of Poker, then you probably know Sam. Which is why we’ll keep his identity a secret.
A few weeks ago, Sam made a big sports wager. He bet something like $45,000 to win $10,000 on the San Antonio Spurs moneyline in playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. His reasoning was a follows (his exact words):
1. There’s no way San Antonio will lose this game.
2. This is a sure-fire way to pick up a quick $10,000.
Doing some basic math, this game represented a whopping $55,000 swing. That’s the actual financial risk based on the outcome.
Basketball fans will instantly recall the game I’m talking about. It was a comeback for the ages. San Antonio overcame a 16-point deficit with four minutes left, forced double overtime, and ended up winning the game in a shocker. It wasn’t a miracle. It was way beyond that. No NBA team in history ever came back from such a huge margin in such a short amount of time. Since Sam bet Spurs on the moneyline, that meant he simply needed his team to win the game. He wasn’t laying points.
Yesterday, Sam described the course of events which took place while he was watching that epic game, and the amazing comeback by the Spurs. Sam spent most of the game at home pacing the floor, just as many sports bettors do. He was about the turn off the television in disgust, sickened by what he was watching. He was about to be stuck 45-thousand-dollars.
His angst was made much worse by this being a game Sam had no intention of betting on.
Do I look like the person in charge of air conditioning inside the Rio?
I’ve got two words for all those delicate little daisy flowers who have been complaining non-stop since day one that the tournament rooms inside the Rio and the World Series of Poker are kept way too cold.