A few months ago, I was in Galway meeting Pat O’Callaghan of the Eglinton Club over beer in Garvey’s Bar. As usual it resulted in a bit of a disaster on football betting and sore heads, but on the plus side Pat agreed to become a partner in the upcoming partypoker Grand Prix Galway and to run Day 1s for other Grand Prix events around the country.

This was a great deal for West of Ireland poker players, and not a bad one for me as it gave me an excuse to enjoy the craic in The Eglinton as often as I like – which is very often. That explains why I was in Galway in January. I was severely handicapped by being off the beer till after the WSOP but it was a laugh anyway. The lads started telling Cavan jokes. Cavan jokes originated when Irish comedian/actor Niall Tobin decided to make a career out of convincing us that the good people of Cavan were the meanest inhabitants of our Island and came up with a string of jokes based on his theory.

Stuff like “A Cavan guy visited his neighbour and found him stripping the wallpaper off the wall. He asked him if he was decorating. The guy replied “No. Moving.” You get the idea! The Galway lads had their own. It involved a Cavan guy who prayed to God requesting a large lottery win. God replied “Can you at least meet me halfway. This time, can you buy a ticket?”

A few weeks later, I was playing PLO in The Fitzwilliam Club. It might have been 30 years ago, as I was seated between double Irish Open champion the legendary Colette Doherty and Paul Cryan. Paul is a popular recreational player and gambler. Colette is the real deal and has been a friend of mine for decades despite us battling forever, sometimes for days on end, over a poker table.

I don’t remember the wins and losses as much as I remember the laughter. There’s been a lot of that! There was a lot of chat about absent friends and stories about characters who’d crossed our paths but surprisingly Paul stole the show with a true story from the world of horseracing.

A horse trainer he knew had a decent winner and celebrated a little too enthusiastically. He made the mistake of attempting to drive home but hadn’t even got out of the car park when he was stopped by the police. The bag test didn’t go too good. No surprise there. The cops informed him he’d have to come to the police station. One of them took him by the arm and was walking him towards the police car. Our man figured he was in a little trouble and decided to ingratiate himself with the police officer by striking up a conversation with him. His choice of opening line was a little unfortunate. He kicked off with “What do you do yourself?”

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