Remembering the Devilfish

2 years ago
Remembering Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott
03 Nov

When Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott passed away last spring, the poker world - and of course his friends and familylost an amazing character - a larger-than-life, highly-skilled and much-loved showman who not only excelled at the game of poker, but also drew countless others into the scene.

As I wrote shortly last year:

"He was an English Hellmuth without the silly nastiness, a UK version of a Doyle Brunson and an Arnold Rothstein of the British poker scene, who knew how to make the most out of others’ weaknesses on and off the table, but did so with a silver tongue and a wink to show his real demeanor – a gentleman of his own styling.”

That’s why some of the biggest names in poker got together and devised the annual “Devilfish Cup”, a collaboration between the WPT Foundation, theDusk Till Dawn Poker Club, and Party Poker in what would be a celebration and remembrance of Dave Ulliot’s contribution to the game.

The inaugural £1 million guaranteed Devilfish Cup took place at the World Poker Tour’s UK Festival, held in the Dusk ‘Til Dawn Casino in Nottingham, England and it was Spaniard Lucas Blanco Oliver who emerged victorious ahead of a star-studded field of 204 entrants, scooping not only £250,000 and the winner’s trophy, but also a special edition guitar signed by rock group Queen’s guitar legend Brian May.

The event was also designed to raise money for charitable causes, 3% of the £1 million guaranteed prize pool and a mandatory donation from each player of £300 being split between the Marie Curie Cancer Charity and the formation of a trust fund for Dave’s youngest daughter Lucy, which she will gain access to when she turns 16.

And one of the Devlifish’s closest friends, Simon Trumper, had revealed that when Dave was visited in his final days before the colonic cancer took him, he had specifically requested a high buy-in event to be staged at the club in his honor.

The 161 entries, and the 43 re-entries for the £5,300 buy-in event included such poker luminaires from across the world as Sam Trickett, Mike Sexton, Barny Boatman, Dara O’Kearney, Marcel Luske, Michael Mizrachi and Steve O’Dwyer, with former Wimbledon champ Boris Becker making his way into the prizewinning top 20, taking £15,000 for his 13th spot finish.

During the event, thirsty players could visit Dusk Till Dawn bar, renamed in honor of Dave Ulliot as “Devilfish’s Bar”, where a popular drink was also renamed after the legend - a Double Vodka and Red Bull now known as a “A devilfish”.

The final table was a mixture of well-seasoned British faces and lesser-known players – most of the ‘favorites’ falling before the money, although Trickett won £20,000 for his 11th spot.

When the trio of Boatman, Roche and Deadman fell, it eventually ended up with Spain’s Blanco Oliver and Frenchman Paul-Francois Tedeschi to fight heads-up for the Devilfish Cup and £250,000 first prize, and the 8+ hour final table saw one hour of it spent between these two.

When Tedeschi finally had to shove short-stacked with A2, Blanco had found the big slick to respond with, his AK seeing him safely home when the board blanked - and Blanco could celebrate an excellent victory in a hugely meaningful tournament.

The Devilfish may be gone, but thanks to his friends and family and the Devilfish Cup he will not be forgotten.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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