Extreme Poker

Deep Water Series of Poker II was held four metres below the waves in St Kitts in the Caribbean

It’s fair to say the world’s first multi-table underwater tournament was a complex affair. Two weighted tables were lowered four metres into the Caribbean’s crystal clear water. The dealers took their places, bringing with them the necessary props – waterproof cards and heavy chips. The 13 runners then donned their oxygen tanks and it was a collective ‘man overboard’.

More extreme tourneys could be on the menu – quite literally it seems – before next year’s Caribbean Poker Classic. ‘Snap Poker’ will be held in an Australian crocodile pit and was originally planned to feature the late Steve Irwin. Hmmm, the omens don’t look good.

Participating in his first tournament St Kitts’s Minister for Tourism, Ricky Skerritt: ‘I’ve never seen so much happiness before. I didn’t last very long, but I had a good time. It’s triggered my interest and I’m going to learn poker properly.’ It’s hard to imagine Tessa Jowell pitching up and donning the scuba gear in quite the same way…

With only an hour’s worth of oxygen per tank, there was no time for deep stacks. Players began with ten chips apiece and the blinds at 1/2 – increasing every eight minutes. As Stuart Richey, one of the masterminds behind the Extreme events put it: ‘There’s no limping in this tournament – you call, fold or you’re all-in.’

DWSOP tourney director Thomas Kremser endorsed his reputation as one of poker’s most suave figures by wearing his trademark coloured tie with his scuba diving outfit. Pre-final and looking more nervous than normal, Kremser commented: ‘While I was down there, I was trying to survive. I was more worried about breathing than the poker!’

Taking a break from his daily webcasts at the CPC, Norman Pace, a trained diver, was the hot favourite to win. Coming up for air and providing a halftime report, Pace relayed the action: ‘It’s so exciting! And, you don’t have to listen to the other players whining.’ Just in case he didn’t win though, Pace negotiated a saver bet for 10% of the prize money with Pete Giordano.

Lots of bad puns about fish and sharks abounded when a series of unlucky outdraws shifted the chip lead around on the final table. Pete ‘The Beat’ Giordano eventually emerged as the new king of Extreme Poker. On his victory, an ecstatic Giordano declared: ‘I’ve got to tell you, I was in pain down there. My ears wouldn’t pop but then, thankfully, they finally did. All I know is I’m 100% underwater. Next time we have another one, I’m the best!’

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