February 2007
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SportingBet PLC announced this week that Paradise Poker is to be made redundant, and their players be swallowed up by a SportingBet branded poker client on the Boss network.  Although I haven’t played at Paradise for a while – in fact I can’t actually remember the last time I did – I will always have a soft spot for it.  It’s here that my screen name originated, after all.

One of Paradise’s gadgets is the ability to virtually order food and drink from a menu, and then a few seconds later it appears on the side table next to your avatar.  It’s a great way to create superstitions.  Maybe you do always get your aces cracked if you have food on the table.  That guy is drinking a martini, he must be bluffing.  You can’t call for a new dealer or new cards try to turn things around, but you can order a new drink.

I always used to sit down and order donuts.  I felt it was lucky.  Mmmm, donuts.

Here’s a sentimental old picture of me and a plate of donuts winning a huge six-way all-in with pocket 8s.  I managed to miss five overcards as well as ending up with a full house.  Lovely.  It also shows another feature of Paradise poker – the electrified cards when you hit a big hand.  Sometimes you got flames instead of electricity, too.  Features like that will be missed.

Paradise was also the online poker site that was endorsed, albeit briefly, by reigning EPT London champion Victoria Coren, although in all the photos I’ve found she’s actually wearing PokerStars gear.  However, I don’t need any more excuse than that to put a stolen photo of her here.  Mmmm, Vicky. 

In other swallowings this week, details of Harrah’s takeover of Barbary Coast were announced.  An article in the Review Journal says the new name will be "Bill’s Gamblin Hall and Saloon".  Clearly a typo, but I’m hoping its a missin’ apostrophe, rather than a missing G.  It’s named after Bill Harrah, founder of the corporation that’s slowly eliminating all competition on the Las Vegas Strip, and not Bill Boyd, chairman of the corporation that bought Coast Casinos in 2004 to eliminate their competition in the locals market.

This isn’t going to be a major rebranding – after all, it’s must only be a matter of time before Harrah’s pull it down – so I don’t expect much will change apart from the dreadful new name. Mmmm, Big Elvis.