Padraig Parkinson - A Rather Large Eskimo
I put in a lot of time at this year’s Paddy Power Poker Irish Open, having the craic over breakfast with old guys like Sexton, Harrington, Hansen and O’Dea. It’s not like they are particularly good fun, but I kinda like the buzz of being the guy who’s most likely to be alive for breakfast the following day. Old guys seem to like telling stories about dead guys. I guess it makes them feel good, especially if they look kinda xxxxed themselves, so I was surprised when they made an exception and got into Eskimo stories one morning.
I was pretty confused when someone pointed out Eskimo to me on my first trip to the WSOP, about a hundred years ago. I thought eskimoes were little guys who fished through small circular holes in the ice before crawling through a tiny door into an igloo and this guy looked like nothing short of a full whale would fill him and as for the igloo door bit forget it. It was explained to me that he fed himself through the comp system and when he crawled it was into the back seat of his car when he required a little shuteye. This was for sure a guy who knew how to keep the nut to a minimum. About a week later he scored big in a tournament, put the lot on the table in the biggest game in the place but continued to live in his car. I got to thinking maybe they called him Eskimo because he was a tough xxxxer.
The breakfast guys rattled off about half a dozen Eskimo stories, all of which I’d heard before which didn’t matter because they still made me laugh. Especially the one about a conversation that allegedly took place between Eskimo and another guy in the toilet in Binion’s during a break in a WSOP Omaha tournament. Both guys claimed to have a little above their starting stack and after a little verbal sparring agreed to swap five per cent. You will hear this kind of conversation a dozen times a day at the WSOP but rarely, if ever, will it involve one guy who has already been knocked out and another who didn’t enter the event in the first place.
Several years later, I was standing outside a tent at the back of the Rio chatting with Mike Sexton during an unscheduled break in another WSOP Omaha event. The reason they were on break was that an ambulance had been called to take Eskimo to hospital after he’d had an attack of some sort. Given his preference for sleeping in cars I’m sure he’d have preferred to receive treatment in the back of the ambulance rather than go to hospital but nobody thought to mention that to the paramedics. Unbelievably, the betting started. The romantics wanted to bet that Eskimo would be back before he got anted away. The realists facilitated them. For once the romantics won, which made Jeff Lisandros comment that in future if he was staking a guy in a tournament he wanted to see a medical report first seem a tad harsh.