This week, the poker world lost one of it's best loved characters. Only a short time after news leaked out that Dave Ulliott "Devilfish" was battling cancer, he had passed away at the age 61. This sudden passing would suggest he had been fighting cancer for a long time, but true to his character, he never made a fuss about this fight. After all, he had been in a few before.
In the early years of his life, Devilfish got into his fair share of trouble, from betting on horses, to stealing the safe of the bookmaker he had lost bets to and carrying it home in a shopping trolley. He was part of a gang who stole several safes, but was eventually caught and jailed for 9 months. He later did 18 months for assault. From the age of 15 he was playing in underground poker games, travelling to them with a gun in his pocket. He once won all an opponents money and had him pay the debt by allowing Devilfish to turn up at his apartment at any time and use it to sleep with women he'd met. but since settling down and getting married, he appeared to leave his criminal ways behind him.
About Young Online Pros
Devilfish became well known and liked for many reasons, a man who was in many ways the polar opposite of young online pros today. When asked about the young pros of today, Devilfish, with a wink and a smile said “I could out- fight 'em, out-f**k 'em, out-think 'em, out-drink 'em, out-sing 'em, and out-bling 'em.” He had lived an exciting life filled with great stories and made people laugh with his witty comments, wherever he played.
About his gold knuckledusters and his Nickname
Having stood up from his tournament table at the start of a lunch break, he was once met by a German reporter who began asking him a list of questions. By the time he had got to the question about whether or not Devilfish had ever used his gold knuckledusters in a fight, the response was typical of Devilfish “Yea, I hit a guy once, he was a german guy with a microphone that wouldn't let me go and have some food.” with a smile, he was off.
The gold knuckledusters that he wore were created from a gold bracelet he got after winning his WSOP title, and had the words 'Devil' on one hand, and 'Fish' on the other. His nickname was derived from a cash game back in 1996. During the game, he was beating a man called Stevie Au-Yeung in a lot of pots, which led to Stevie calling him the slang term (Devilfish) for a blowfish, which is poisonous, and lethal if not prepared and cooked properly. A few months later, while with a friend called Gary in Las Vegas, Devilfish was sat across from Men 'The Master' Nguyen, when a voice called out from the rail “Go on the Master!” to which Gary then shouted out “Go on Devilfish!” The name stuck ever since.
"After my big win in Vegas I got a bracelet made up in gold, but it was so badly done that I made the jeweller melt it down and turn it into knuckledusters"
His biggest achievements
On a more serious note he added that “Life passes you by pretty quickly, and you gotta get out there and live.” Devilfish always seemed quite calm at the tables, but at the same time you could always tell if he was running badly by the number of times he used the 'F' word as he spoke. At the WSOP he undoubtedly ran badly in key situations through his life, having won his first bracelet, he had four 2nd places and a few 3rd places too. He did manage to capture a WPT title though, beating Phil Ivey heads up in the process. As the first ever winner of 'Poker After Dark' and a man who was once down $1 million at a cash game in Bobby's Room and left +$140,000 by the end of the night, Devilfish was always memorable in the way he went about living life. Doyle Brunson has claimed that Devilfish should have a place in poker's hall of fame, given his influence on British poker through being the star of 'Late Night Poker' and the way he has been one of the game's great characters. One thing is for certain, in the UK, or anywhere else in the poker world, he is a man who will be sorely missed