One weekend last summer in the sleepy English town of London, a bunch of no-account hippies made history while naked and most likely inebriated. Male and female poker players from around the world (and over the bush) showed up at the Cafe Royal in London’s Picaddily Circus on August 19th, 2006, to play in London’s World Strip Poker Championship. At stake in the championship,10,000 pounds Sterling, and the right to say, “I won! I won, you naked losers!” Traditional no limit Texas Hold’em (ew) was played to seperate the shirts from the skins. In this instance, retaining your modesty means you’re going for the gold.
One would assume that such a prestigious battle of wits, and other things, would be the brainchild of say, a Queen Elizabeth, or an Archbishop of Canterbury. Shockingly, it was an Irish bookmaking agency by the name of Paddy Power who organized London’s World Strip Poker Championship. You can be certain that very soon, the queen will be calling on the bookmaker to say thank you for helping London introduce what will hopefully be the next official olympic sport (sponsored by Axe body spray).
Besides the money and the bragging rights, John Young, the winner of London’s World Strip Poker Championship received the “Gold Fig Leaf” trophy, and the title of World Strip Poker Champion. The good folks at Paddy Power were hoping to set a world record for the largest strip poker tournament in the world, or the largest naked riot in the world, whichever came first. It seems they got both!
You may read this story and think to yourself, “The world’s gone mad! It’s Sodom and Gomorrah! What would have stopped them from running out into the streets naked and children seeing them?!” But calm down, concerned citizens. The rules of London’s World Strip Poker Championship were quite clear: Players were to begin the championship play with five items of clothing on provided by the organizers-probably Paddy Power Rocks t-shirts, and matching ensembles. But anyway, each player was also to be given a towel with which to sit on and cover themselves, but only if they found themselves completely naked. Local reporters covering London’s World Strip Poker Championship expressed sadness and anger that pasties and tassles with the Paddy Power logo wouldn’t be provided for the female players. Apparently that would fall under inappropriate behavior, which the folks at Paddy Power say can’t be tolerated. So…nakedness tolerated, but not flagrant nakedness. That makes sense.
And where did the idea for London’s World Strip Poker Championship stem from, you may ask? A couple of years ago, through completely scientific and above-board research, Paddy Power discovered over 50% of online poker players enjoy playing in the nude. I’m sure it’s just the poker that people are enjoying nude in front of their computers…right? Right?!?! Anyway, upon the discovery of this fact, Paddy Power hatched the idea for London’s World Strip Poker Championship to keep Ireland from getting depressed that they didn’t make it to the World Cup finals this year (or any year).
The prior world record for the largest naked card game, (104 players) was set in 1999 by the Naturist Society of Estonia who, in an unusual twist, started off naked and donned clothes as they lost hands. The winner, Petma Boom, donned the least amount of clothing in the 2 hour event, finishing the game wearing just one sock. I tried to glean where that last sock was actually located on the body of “Boom”, and whether “Boom” was a male or female, but my request was ignored…or granted, not sure which. I don’t speak Estonian.
And so it came to pass that on a humid day in August, 2006, Picadilly Circus became forever known as, “the place that naked hope built”. We here at Associated Content hope that London’s World Strip Poker Championship has inspired other likeminded souls to create their own strip poker championship across America, and the rest of the world. When we allow ourselves to play poker naked with a bunch of strangers who have questionable skin issues, we become one, just like U2 said.
The naked human body is a beautiful thing. So is gambling. It’s about time someone brought the two staples of a happy life together in a public venue with hundreds of people participating. God Bless you, Paddy Power, and London’s World Strip Poker Championship.