Freaky Fortnight – Funny 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 various ways to achieve this and not so long ago we introduced our own timeout option. The first edition of Freaky Fortnight provided a selection of funny stories from the world of poker and gambling to entertain you. Now we’re back to it again. There was a lot of fun in February, so let’s dive right into it.

This installment of Freaky Fortnight features freaky gambling news from February 1 to 15, 2023.

Neymar retires for some poker games after PSG loss

Ace Jack

The world of football can be full of tense matches, arguments on the pitch and spirited victories. Victory was certainly not something French Ligue 1 player Neymar experienced in his team’s game against Bayern Munich. The striker of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and the rest of his teammates suffered a 0-1 defeat by the German side on February 14 in the UEFA Champions League.

So how do you overcome the experience of such defeat? You go to a poker session and some McDonald’s, of course! Neymar clearly wanted to get away from defeat in football and turned to the poker table instead. Not just any poker game. The Brazilian player entered the €10K Mystery Bounty tournament at EPT Paris one day after losing football. We all know Neymar loves the game of cards, with PokerStars signing him to their brand in late 2020.

Neymar is playing at the EPT Paris Poker TournamentNeymar playing poker at EPT Paris (Photo courtesy of PokerStars and the World Poker Tour)

He also had some success playing poker in the past. He’s earned some extra cash playing the EPT in Monte Carlo, the BSOP in Brazil and even the World Series of Poker, with 2022 being his last appearance at the event. Yet he was not to experience victory in this game of poker, perhaps having a secondary effect to his loss in football. Instead, Andre Marquez took the win, earning his biggest tournament score of his career. He still walked away with a small portion of the gains at the end of Day 1and then decided to visit a nearby McDonald’s.

Perhaps he can return to the pitch in time to try and help PSG win. With the loss in Munich, PSG fans had to watch their team lose three times in a row for the first time since 2011.

Poker pro wins $165K in Bahamas but not sure if he’ll trade in £400 car

A bag of money

For most people, scooping up the whopping $165,000 would cause several life changes. It is not unusual for big gambling winners to use their money for new items such as houses and cars. Yet one Irish poker player is still undecided on whether to trade in his £400 car for something more modern.

Tom Parsons from Belfast has returned home after spending nine nights in the Caribbean with his partner Sophie. While there, he played against some of the best poker players in the world. As it happens, he took it all the way, taking home the whopping $165,000 prize. Instead of walking out and using the cash, he still hasn’t treated himself. Instead, Parsons only bought a present for his cat Wolfie!

Still, he had thoughts of changing his car. The Nissan Micra he currently owns was bought a few years ago for £400. Speaking about the vintage car, Persons said:

“I love my Nissan Micra, but it doesn’t have airbags or power steering, so I might look for something that offers me at least some protection if I’m in an accident. I’ll have to get Sophie something for all the support she’s given me and I’ve already spent £45 on a cat tower for Wolfie.’

Other potential plans include investing some of the money in an ISA and saving to buy a house in the future.

Parsons said his parents were always supportive of him choosing to play poker professionally. However, their skepticism was probably hit when they watched his live broadcast on the Internet. The Irish pro said he hopes his parents can now see that he can make a living from the game he loves.

Paddy Power again at the center of controversy


As anyone in the gambling scene knows, sports betting and casino brand Paddy Power is no stranger to controversy. Various TV and billboard ads from the company are banned or restricted by the British advertising watchdog ASA. The UKGC has also penalized Paddy Power on more than one occasion for breaching the rules. Now it seems to be at the forefront of controversy again.

It’s clear the gambling company thinks it’s having fun with its latest ad campaign. The advert which sparked the row featured Tottenham Hotspur football fans visiting a fictitious ‘Spurs Sensory Centre’. It made for a bit of harmless fun about the team’s recent lack of success. Or so the betting brand thought. Two leading UK charities have slammed the ad as “cheap mockery”, which they say “mocks” people with autism.

The clip has been removed from the company’s Twitter account, although it remains up at the time of writing the Paddy Power YouTube channel. As it happens, all 20 teams playing in the Premier League have sensory rooms. The league describes them as “unique spaces” that allow both children and adults with disabilities, including autism, to watch live games from a room with a window onto the football field.

However, the National Autistic Society was one of the charities to criticize Paddy Power’s ad. It says the rooms should be “applauded”, not “mocked”.

It just goes to show that what may be funny to some people can end up causing pain to others. Whether Paddy Power intended the ad to go out like this is another question. No stranger to controversy, the company doesn’t seem to think much when it comes to its ads. However, this is not the only brand whose ads are banned. In 2018, the ASA also ordered PokerStars to stop running one of its TV ads. According to the Guardian, this violates the rules and potentially depicts scenes of reckless gambling.

Jennifer Tilly is unlucky at the poker table

Thumbs down

American-Canadian actress Jennifer Tilly is known for her distinctive voice and comedic timing. She has appeared in several major films, portraying roles such as Olive Neal in Bullets Over Broadway and Tiffany Valentine in Child’s Play. However, Jennifer is also well known in the poker world along with her longtime partner Phil Laak. She is a World Series of Poker Ladies’ Event bracelet winner and the first celebrity to win a World Series event. She also won the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament in 2005. It’s a shame she wasn’t invited to participate in the PokerStars charity event hosted 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 High stakes poker on Tuesday, February 14 – a show that has continued to grow in popularity over the years. Jennifer appeared in Season 10, Episode 4, which hosted some fantastic pots and fun table banter. Other names sitting at the table included Chino Rheem, Jean-Robert Bellande and Ema Zajmovic. Still, Tilly provided much of the action throughout the episode.

During the 45-minute session, she won some and lost some, but the biggest pots didn’t arrive for her. In perhaps her most notable sweat of the evening, Jennifer looked down 9♣️ 9 in the small blind. With a straddle of $800, Tilley raised it to $10,000 and Beland called from the big blind with 6♠️ 6.

After a flop of 2♣️ T♠️ 6♣️, Jennifer bet $15,000. Bellande, now holding a trip 6 and the second nut, raised it to $40,000. Here, Jennifer decided to bluff her 9, raising it to $125,000. Beland then quickly moved all in and Jennifer was forced to fold her hand. However, she managed to flop two pair against Bobby Baldwin in another hand, taking the $60,000 pot that round. Undoubtedly, the funny jokes and table banter were the highlight of the episode.

Later in the season, old-school pros like Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey are scheduled to hit the table. It will be interesting to see what Ivy brings to the screen considering he hasn’t had the most positive image in the last few months. He’s been embroiled in a battle against Borgata for his WSOP winnings since 2019. On the other hand, Negreanu has had his fair share of trials in recent years. Last year, he was banned from Twitch for profanity during a live stream.

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