The term “living legend” is an all-too-frequent and loosely applied expression. It’s a cliché that amounts to being alive and memorable for something notable, invariably brought about by sheer accident.
Possibly the phrase applies to Dubliner Andy Black, who played a starring role in the 1998 television documentary Million Dollar Deal. Narrated by John Hurt, the programme followed the fortunes of a group of English and Irish players in that year’s World Series of Poker.
Those qho know Andy Black would probably best describe him as charismatic, highly educated, inoffensive, and popular. In retrospect, they would also use the words skilful and successful.
Relatively unknown on the European circuit, the Belfast-born player has been around poker for some considerable time, an amazing 19 years, to be precise.
Like many things in his life, poker came about by accident, but was soon studied with the intensity and passion of an adolescent teenager in receipt of his first pornographic publication.
“I started playing cards when I was 7 with my mum,” explained Black, who is now approaching his 40th birthday. “As for poker, that began in 1986 while I was studying for a law degree at Trinity College in Dublin.
“It was at the Merrion Square Casino, then called the Griffin, where I played my first game of poker. I arrived with no money but was encouraged by the initial free entry and, more importantly, the free coffee and sandwiches. After all, I was a poor broke student.”
With poker, free food, and coffee abundant, Black eventually obtained a law degree but never went on to prosecute a shoplifter or defend a pensioner accused of smoking in a public house. “With a little more study, I could still become a lawyer,” he added in an …