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Freaky Fortnight – Entertaining Gambling Stories from February 2023


It’s always fun to take a step back from the often-serious nature of winning a poker game. There are different ways to achieve that, and not so long ago we presented you with our own time-out option. The first edition of Freaky Fortnight provided a selection of amusing stories from the poker and gambling worlds to keep you entertained. Now, we’re back at it again. There has been a lot of fun had in February, so let’s delve right into it.

This installment of Freaky Fortnight contains unusual gambling news from Feb 1st- 15th, 2023

Neymar Steps Out for Some Poker Gaming Following PSG Loss

Ace Jack

The world of soccer can be full of intense matches, on-pitch arguments, and high-energy wins. Winning certainly wasn’t something that French Ligue 1 player Neymar experienced in his team’s game against Bayern Munich, though. The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward and the rest of his teammates suffered a 0-1 defeat to the German side on February 14 in the UEFA Champions League.

So, how do you get over the experience of such defeat? You head out for a poker session and some McDonald’s, of course! Neymar clearly wanted to get away from the soccer defeat and turned to the poker table instead. Not just any poker game, either. The Brazilian player entered the €10K Mystery Bounty tournament at EPT Paris one day after the soccer loss. We all know that Neymar has a love for the card game, with PokerStars signing him to their brand in late 2020.

Neymar Plays at the EPT Paris Poker TournamentNeymar Playing Poker at EPT Paris (Photo Courtesy of PokerStars and World Poker Tour)

He’s had some success with poker gameplay in the past, too. He’s raked in some extra funds playing the EPT in Monte Carlo, the BSOP in Brazil, and even the World Series of Poker, with 2022 being his latest outing in that event. Yet he wasn’t to experience victory in this poker game, perhaps having a knock-on effect after his soccer loss. Andre Marques captured the win instead, earning his largest career tournament score. He still came away with a small batch of winnings at the end of Day 1, and then decided to visit a McDonald’s nearby.

Maybe he can get back to the pitch in due course to try and help PSG obtain a win. With the loss to Munich, PSG fans have had to watch their side lose three times in a row for the first time since 2011.

Poker Pro Wins $165K in Bahamas, but Not Sure About Changing £400 Car

Money Bag

For most people, scooping a massive $165,000 would prompt a few life changes. It’s not uncommon for big gambling winners to utilize their money for new items, such as houses and cars. Yet one Irish poker player still hasn’t made his mind up over changing his £400 car into something more modern.

Tom Parsons of Belfast returned home after spending nine nights in the Caribbean with his partner Sophie. While there, he played against some of the world’s best poker players. As it happens, he saw it through to the end, picking up the huge $165,000 prize. Rather than head out and put the cash to some use, he has yet to treat himself. Instead, Parsons has only purchased a present for his cat, Wolfie!

He has had thoughts about changing his car, though. The Nissan Micra he currently has was bought several years ago for £400. Speaking about the vintage vehicle, Persons said:

”I love my Nissan Micra but it’s got no airbags or power steering so I might look to get something that offers me at least a bit of protection if I have an accident. I will have to get something for Sophie for all the support she has given me and I’ve already spent £45 on a cat tower for Wolfie.”

Other potential plans in mind include investing some of the money in ISAs and saving up to buy a house in the future.

Parsons said that his parents have always given him stick about his choice of work playing professional poker. Their skepticism was likely given a bit of a hit when they watched the live stream of him playing on the internet, though. The Irish pro said that he hopes his parents can now see he is able to make a living from playing his favorite game.

Paddy Power Once Again the Centre of the Controversy Spotlight


As anyone in the gambling scene will know, sports betting and casino brand Paddy Power is no stranger to controversy. Various television commercials and billboard advertisements from the company have been banned or restricted by the UK advertising watchdog, ASA. The UKGC has also punished Paddy Power on more than one occasion for running afoul of the rules. Now, it seems to be at the forefront of the controversy circle again.

Clearly, the gambling company thought it was being amusing with its latest advertising campaign. The commercial which led to the controversy featured Tottenham soccer fans visiting a fictional ‘Spurs Sensory Centre’. This poked a bit of harmless fun at the team's recent lack of success. Or so the betting brand thought. Two leading UK charities labeled the advertisement as a “cheap jibe”, which they claimed “mocked” people who suffer from autism.

The clip was removed from the company’s Twitter account, although at the time of writing, it remains on the Paddy Power YouTube channel. As it happens, all 20 teams playing in the Premier League have sensory rooms. The league describes these as “unique spaces”, allowing both children and adults with difficulties, including autism, to watch live matches from a room with a window onto the soccer pitch.

The National Autistic Society was one of the charities to criticize the Paddy Power advert, though. It said the rooms should be “applauded”, rather than “mocked”.

It just goes to show that what can be funny for some people may end up causing hurt to others. Whether Paddy Power meant the advertisement to come off that way is another question. Being no stranger to controversy, the company doesn’t really seem to have much of a second thought when it comes to its advertisements. It’s not the only brand to see its commercials banned, though. In 2018, PokerStars was ordered to stop showing one of its television commercials by the ASA, too. According to the watchdog, it violated rules and potentially portrayed scenes of reckless gambling.

Jennifer Tilly Isn’t Lucky at the Poker Table

Thumbs Down

American-Canadian actress Jennifer Tilly is known for her distinctive voice and comedic timing. She has starred in several big films, portraying roles such as Olive Neal in Bullets Over Broadway and Tiffany Valentine in Child’s Play. Yet, Jennifer is also well known in the world of poker alongside her longtime partner Phil Laak. She is a World Series of Poker Ladies’ Event bracelet winner and was the first celebrity to ever win a World Series tournament. She also won the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament in 2005. It’s a shame she wasn’t invited to partake in the PokerStars charity event organized by Ben Affleck during COVID-19.

Jennifer Tilly at the Poker TableJennifer Tilly Has Been Playing Poker For Many Years

Regardless, she was the celebrity guest on High Stakes Poker on Tuesday, Feb. 14 - a show that has continued to grow in popularity through the years. Jennifer appeared in Season 10, Episode 4, which hosted some fantastic pots and amusing table banter. Other names sat at the table included Chino Rheem, Jean-Robert Bellande, and Ema Zajmovic. Yet Tilly provided a lot of the action throughout the episode, too.

During the 45-minute session, she won some and lost some, but the biggest pots didn’t quite arrive for her. In perhaps her most notable pot of the night, Jennifer looked down at 9♣️ 9 in the small blind. With an $800 straddle on, Tilly raised it up to $10,000 and Bellande called from the big blind with 6♠️ 6.

Following a flop of 2♣️ T♠️ 6♣️, Jennifer bet $15,000. Bellande, now holding trip 6's and the second nuts, raised it up to $40,000. This is where Jennifer decided to turn her 9's into a bluff by raising it up to $125,000. Bellande then quickly moved all in, and Jennifer was forced to fold her hand. Even so, she did manage to flop two pair against Bobby Baldwin in another hand, picking up the $60,000 pot in that round. Doubtless, the amusing anecdotes and table banter were the highlight of the episode.

Later on in the season, old-school pros like Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey are scheduled to appear at the table. It will be interesting to see what Ivey brings to the screen, considering he hasn’t had the most positive image for the past few months. He’s been embroiled in a battle against Borgata over his WSOP winnings from 2019. Then again, Negreanu has had his fair share of trials over recent years. He was banned from Twitch last year for a foul-mouthed rant during a live stream.