Lee Davy goes all Simon Trumper as he recollects his experiences with the man who very nearly won a million bucks in the $10k Pot-Limit Omaha Championships.
“He’s bald, he’s round, he’s worth a million pounds.”
That was the chant echoing around the atmospheric Amazon Room as Simon Trumper traded blows with Jason Mercier, Dan Smith, Davidi Kitai and Shaun Deeb at the final table of the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championships.
Trumper loves his movies. I doubt he had ever seen a script like this. Four of the best poker players in the world, battling it out with a fossil. It was like Terminator v Jurassic Park.
“He’s bald, he’s round, he’s worth a million pounds.”
Three days earlier I had passed Trumper on my way into the Rio. He wore his trademark suit jacket, covering his now trademark Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott t-shirt. He was taking a photo of the supercar parked outside. Little did he know that three days later he could have nearly bought the thing.
“What are you up to today?” I asked.
“I’m playing in the $10k PLO,” said Trumper as he shifted the security ropes surrounding the Fast and Furious type car so he could get a better shot, “I won a seat in a satellite last night. I told you that I do well in satellites.”
He’s telling the truth. A few days earlier, Trumper sat to my direct left in the $1,500 Extended Levels event.
‘Have you ever played against me?” He asked.
I have never felt less memorable.
He smiled at me. A perverse smile that said, ‘watch the footwork,’ and I started to get agitated that his footwork, might end up breaking my big toe. I didn’t mind him prancing about the table, but he was to my direct left. I didn’t want him screwing up my own dance moves.
The first time I set eyes on Simon Trumper was in 2000. I was sitting in my living room, the amphetamines shaking my bones, and illuminating an otherwise dull night. Chewing on my Wrigley’s I turned on the box, and there he was, beating the crap out of scary looking guy with knuckle dusters resting on his cards, an old dude from Ireland, and the guy out of London’s Burning.
They called him “Aces”.
“What a fucking stupid nickname,” I thought.
It’s surreal that I’m friendly with people who I used to watch on TV. I remember the days when we only had four channels. If you got onto one of those four channels you were something special. That’s the way it was with Trumper. In my eyes he was someone special.
Then I saw him put in the four-bet with six-four off suit, pre ante, and my the special tag started to shake. Not a little shimmer, but a frenzied shark eating chum like shake.
‘Nobody can ever put me on a hand. Did you put me on that hand?” He asked.
“I didn’t see the hand. I haven’t seen anything since you sat down.” I said.
I was referring to his constant chatter. Trumper can talk. A lot. I’ve been trying hard this year to focus on every aspect of the game. I have kept my talking to a minimum, and it’s helped. Not today. Trumper was on top form. I couldn’t see straight.
“Tell me to shut up if you want. I realize we are playing for a grand.” He said gathering from my tone that it was bothering me.
I wanted him to shut up, but on the other hand I was having so much fun. It was nice to talk to him. So often throughout our careers, we have exchanged pleasantries, but we have never engaged in direct conversation for this long. We both agreed that Mad Max was a fucking mental movie, he told me that he always does well in satellites at the WSOP, and I laughed my bollocks off at the time he told me he thought he was dying of a heart attack (it later turned out to be a panic attack brought on by the consumption of too much Red Bull).
The heart attack conversation came about after talking about his 19-year friendship with the Devilfish. Death is death, and you greet it with a robotic whatever, but when you age, and the people who die, are close to your age, then the Red Bull heart attack stories come out. It frightens you. I could see it frightened Trumper. It was a solemn moment in a manic two hours of mutterings of madness, and movies.
He only had a small schedule. Like the great Tournament Director he is, he had it all mapped out. He knew every event that he was going to play, including his plans to win satellites into the bigger events.
“I always do well in the satellites out here.” He said for the umpteenth time.
A few hours later and I open pocket nines, Trumper three-bets me, and remembering the trash he has been playing I decide to four bet jam. He calls with ace-queen. I am so scared that I am going to lose the flip I don’t say anything to him.
“Good luck,” he says.
Here I was, all-in against a guy I had seen win it all on TV. My nines held up, I shook his hand, and suddenly there was silence.
Was I surprised to see him finish fourth in the $10k PLO Championship? I wasn’t. I remembered him telling me how he had finished fifth in this event back in 2005. Rob Yong was railing him and that was the beginning of the Dusk till Dawn revolution. People always do well in tournaments they have previously done well in.
“He’s bald, he’s round, he’s worth a million pound.”
I bet he chewed the ears of Smith, Mercier, Deeb and co. Absolutely chewed them off. I wish I was there to see it. It would have been funny as fuck. I bet most of them didn’t know who he was; just some old guy who managed to luckbox his way to the final table of one of the biggest tournaments of the year. His achievement should not be overlooked. Trumper rarely plays these days, instead donating his time to make life easier for the grassroots players of British poker. When I call him a fossil, I use the term with the respect of a Tyrannosauras Rex.
He didn’t win the million. He will be gutted. When you play as few tournaments as Trumper does, the million dollar scores come along every quarter of a century. But $267,778 is a lot of money. He will give some to those who had a piece, spoil his kids, and then spend the rest on some popcorn whilst watching the new Terminator movie.
I feel sorry for the person sitting next to him though.
They turned up to watch Arnie, and instead they get Simon Trumper.
I can hear his line from here.
‘I won this seat in a satellite.”
The man is, and always will be, an absolute legend.