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888poker’s Padraig Parkinson Brings Irish Poker to WSOP
888poker’s Padraig Parkinson finished fourth in the 1999 Main Event and now, twelve years later, he’s still making his Irish brogue heard at the World Series of Poker.
“I don’t think I’ve missed a day of the WSOP since Dan Harrington won the Main Event, and that was in 1995,” Parkinson told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.
“I walked in the door of Binions and Doyle Brunson was at the front desk bitching about how he’d been kicked out of his room and I thought, ‘This is for me,’” he said, smiling.
Parkinson is number four on the Irish all-time money list, and unlike Eoghan O’Dea who jumped into third spot with one massive score, Parkinson’s been building his $1.6 million in earnings piece by piece over the last 18 years.
1999 was a banner year for Irish poker players at the WSOP. Parkinson finished fourth in the main event while recreational poker player Noel Furlong, also from Ireland, became the world champion.
The WSOP Has Gained Numbers but Lost Character
The $489k Parkinson earned for final-tabling the Main Event was the biggest score of his career but at that point his love affair with the WSOP was already well past the honeymoon phase.
“I’m old enough to have played in Binions and really appreciate the history,” explained Parkinson.
“I feel bad for some of the young guys who never got the chance to play at Binions with the seedy atmosphere and the pictures on the wall and everything,” he said.
In Parkinson’s opinion the World Series lost something when it made the move from Binions to its current home at the Rio.
But it’s more than just the location that’s changed the WSOP for Parkinson.
“It’s definitely a whole lot bigger and you can make a lot more money than you could back then but it’s not as much fun as it used to be,” he said.
“Most of the new influx of players is people who have been playing on the internet. That’s not a criticism but people who have played 99 percent of their poker online are unlikely to be as much fun as the guys from the old days.
“Some of these kids are great fun but some of them, it’s just unreal. You look at some of these kids and it doesn’t even look like they’re having fun,” he added.
“I come from an Irish poker background where it’s just nonstop joking and everyone insulting each other and having a good time.
“People equate being very serious with trying very hard but that’s not really the case. You can have a bit of fun and still be trying just as hard as the guy who’s sitting there looking constipated,” he said.
888poker Brings Community to Online Poker
With many players desensitized to human contact through millions of hands of online poker there is a noticeable vacuum that was once filled with conversation, joking, more than just the sound of riffling chips and pots being pushed.
But, according to Parkinson, not all online rooms produce the kind of sterile, inured players many have come to see as the online pro sterotype.
Parkinson is a member of Team 888, along with successful poker pros like Tyler Bonkowski and Sam Holden, and big-name sports stars Shane Warne and now MMA champion Georges St-Pierre.
And while 888poker can’t boast the player base of online poker giant PokerStars, it’s got a personality and community that Parkinson feels sets it apart.
“These days online the battle isn’t really about new signups. It’s about retaining the players you have and I think 888 does that better than anyone,” said Parkinson.
“The thing with 888poker is that they’ve got more of a community aspect to the site, more so than other online poker rooms.
“So at an event like this or anywhere that 888’s sending qualifiers, it’s just as much of a party crew as it is a poker crew,” he added.