Adelaide Pilgrimage – The Home of Oz Poker?

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May 14 2006

Written to Australian poker news by Admin

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Weekend May 27/28 2006 recognises the return of Adelaide Casino to the Casino Poker Tournament World. For many years 1987 to 1999 it was the true “Home of Australasian Poker” and a Mecca for interstate players once or twice a year. Tournament Poker was in its infancy at the time and for many years “Adelaide was the only true Game in Town”.

If you weren’t there it is hard to envisage the excitement, the buzz and the anticipation. Nowadays tournaments are two bob a dozen in many locations. Back then, in 1987, a $200,000 prize pool was big bikkies indeed. They were the days before the Holdem No Limit boom and before freeze out was born in Oz, when you had to play three or four varieties of Poker to get anywhere in the leader board. Draw Poker was the King of poker and the stud games the courtiers.

Mateship and fun was the order of the day and whilst the prizes were good for the time they did not take precedence over the spirit of competition, which kept us all on the ball and looking forward to the next challenge. Somehow it was different to the spin and razzle-dazzle of today’s poker scene. But that’s life I suppose. If we aren’t moving forward, if we are not subject to change we are all moving backwards?

That’s why many of the veteran players are moving back to Adelaide for this inaugural event. Who knows it may be a start to the revival of poker in Adelaide. Adelaide here we come with the following good memories to chat about whilst savouring the old Train Station and VIP upstairs.

• The crowds and spectators at the first Australasian Championship Adelaide 1987. The cameras and the TV and the dinners.

• The Dazzler walking past the Adelaide Casino bar at peak hour for the first time in his Maverick outfit and the curious stares of the drunks, with the odd ribald comment, (“Who’s the poof in the cowboy outfit”, “Dunno, must be a yank in town”). Dazzler’s composure under fire.

• Amarillo Slim and his visits. The yarns, the games and the queue to join his table. Who tried to steal the rattlesnake off his hat?

• The bevy of blondes that accompanied the next American visit from Aussie Bob Stupak.

• The Princess (not Princess Di), in her nightie, running a game from her bed in the Hyatt.

• Pommy Pete ducking/throwing (?) a punch over the head of Di without connecting with big Andrew?

• “The Fine Sam affair” and the look on Billie’s face when the protest was not upheld.

• The three abortive farewell dinners to Adelaide Poker. (Worse than Nellie Melba.)

• The Mike and Martin Vanuatu visit and the Keith Marshall/Tony Joseph bluff. The grand final shootout between Tony Joseph and Ice-cream Jack (Why did they both want to visit the toilet at the same time?). The all night games with Eric Drache. The “Bendigo” Calcutta sweep. The speed of the Black-jack dealers. The swimming beach, which filled up from the local sewerage outlet. The golf course with more coconut crab holes than Swiss cheese. The French (?) Restaurants. And don’t forget Ice Cream Jack’s poker tables.

•First timers Beenleigh Bill (1993) and Texas Jim (1994) winning the Nationals at Adelaide and the look on the faces of all the pros.

•Mike Comer’s valiant attempt to honour his very rash threat to kiss Milo’s backside if he won the comp.
(“If you win this competition I’ll Kiss your Arse in public”)

•Kiwi G, 57 bad beats in 60 minutes.

• Canada Jack and his painless injection? Later migrated to the Gold Coast (the original home of the con with more scams than Adelaide ever thought about) to sell drip less milk bottles. Now getting an injection of his own?

• The Aussie team at Vegas 1988 promoted by the Adelaide Casino and John the Baptist Beagle.

• David Galpin dealing a 19/20/21 spot table half pot Texas Holdem. In the end his nerve broke.

• Dazzler playing two tables back-to-back 7-card stud and Holdem until the inspector closed it down.

• Dr Bob (JJ) with JJJJ cleaning up Maurie the Mug (AA) who slow played AAAJJ in the Holdem comp Adelaide. (Flop AJJ)

• The “Mad Russian” running SP on the Mechanical Horse Race in the Adelaide Casino Foyer. $45000 up/down?

• Sam “The Colonel” and the ABC Interview after he had won the Australasian Title 1995.

• Leo Boxell, Johnny Maver, Michael Guttman, Alex Levy, Michael Marcos, Graham Putt and David Gorr for the weekly Melbourne home game. (A story in itself.)

•Peanuts, Ron Waugh, who won three Adelaide titles and can’t remember when and the three bottles of Grange with Dr Bob. (Recently the complete set of 46 signed bottles of Penfolds Grange from 1951 onwards sold at auction for $165,000 Enough to break the heart of any Bon Vivant!)

• Gofor for his detective work at the Adelaide Casino. 1996 Adelaide Draw Poker. First Ron Waugh, second Keith Marshall QPC (88 yrs at the time). The oldest player to win a runner up as well as a former first in Vanuatu?

• The 1989 Adelaide Casino Cash game, Bronson down $250,000(?) Meissner up $80,000(?) Maimon down $100,000(?) and Backgammon $100 a point. Johnny Chan to bed with a headache.

• Johnny Kocbek, Poker Csar of Russia, will no doubt remember the Barclay in Darlinghurst Road and later the Palace. At one time King of Adelaide Poker.

• The mad Chinese lady at Adelaide who went off her head after losing all her money at the Roulette table. She reached over and grabbed all the chips off the croupier’s section and continued to throw them all over the Casino amongst astounded punters. Loudspeaker warnings told the floor not to touch them but greed caught a few who had slipped some big ones into their pockets. They forgot about the cameras didn’t they? They subsequently fronted the beak. I believe the Chinese lady was subsequently banned for life.

• And then there is the revival of Poker in Adelaide with the first APA Adelaide Championships. Resurrected by Judge Joe and Glen Gofor under the auspices of the Australasian Poker Association (APA). The event was a resounding success. Under the Chairmanship of Joe and Vice President SA Glen Gofor, Media Director Bendigo, Financial Controller “the Virus” and all the old has been and will be Dinosaurs. Bob Renshaw, Vince Moro, Ice Cream Jack, Eugene Juczenko, Errol Bamford, Vince Moro, Rattler,Tom and Sammy. There were stories of old time runaways, Darwin “Croc Fingers” Tony, Terrible Terry Cash Converters and the compo cheque, Canada Jack Neuman (name change) and the FBI visit, the Eagle Hawk races and some sad memories of the Adelaide Arcade Bryan and Linda Schyster and his last championship event sponsored by the Casino. (See Casinos do have a heart!). The oldest entry was still Maurie Moore but the others are catching up fast.

Many of us retain happy memories from Adelaide of Freddie Palumbo, Bryan Schyster, Peter Kirby, Bill Howarth, Cliff Lawrence, and Peter Peko. They were great poker mates.


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