One of the colorful legends of the Irish poker scene, ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson, has succumbed in his battle with pancreatic cancer. The legendary gaming and poker professional was 62 years old when he passed on Friday.
Remembrances on Both Sides of the Atlantic
Wilson, who was a fixture at the Irish Poker Open (the second oldest poker tournament in the world) and other prominent British and European poker events, was remembered on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the characters that used to populate the poker world. Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson offered up the first notices regarding Wilson’s passing early Saturday morning, Tweeting “Sad, sad day. Poker lost one of its greatest characters, ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson last night. The lovely Katherine (his partner) was at his side. To say he was one of a kind is a huge understatement. I miss him already.”
This brought about an outpouring of support for Katherine and the Wilson family. The only two-time European Poker Tour champion in history, Victoria Coren Mitchell, penned a touching tribute on Twitter in saying, “That sparkling firework of the British poker scene, Mad Marty Wilson, passed away last night. He was one of the most memorable, twinkly, mischievous, life-enhancing characters you could ever meet, who brought so much laughter and fun and will be remembered with so much love. RIP.”
Leading the contingent of U. S. poker notables with their memories was Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton. Sexton stated on Twitter that Wilson “made you smile just entering a room he was in. He was a true character in the poker world – one of which we’ll not see again. RIP Marty!” World Poker Tour Tournament Director Matt Savage also sounded off, stating “Just heard the sad news about the passing of ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson, he was one of the great personalities of poker and won’t be able to be replaced.”
Leave it to Parkinson to inject a little humor into the proceedings, as is typical of the Irish. After reading over the Twitter accolades for Wilson, Parkinson piped up again on the social format, Tweeting, “To all those who are saying RIP Mad Marty…it’s a nice thought but there’s no f*****g chance that’s going to happen. My thoughts and prayers are with the dead people trying to do that…WAKE UP, Marty’s here!”
A Long History in Poker
Wilson’s time in poker dates back to 1985, when he made several visits to the World Series of Poker, and he had a semi-successful tournament poker career. According to the Hendon Mob, his first tournament cash was in a £100 No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Great Britain Poker Championships in Birmingham, but he would traipse across the Atlantic on several occasions. Wilson was one of the characters who made Britain’s Late Night Poker a success with his outgoing style and, in his career (at least reported), Wilson would earn slightly more than $450,000 and cash in 41 tournaments.
As to how Wilson would earn the ‘Mad’ moniker, it had nothing to do with his poker playing prowess. According to legend a teenaged Wilson, a longtime fan of his hometown football team Wolverhampton Wanderers F. C., was trying to get away from rival fans of another football club. Seeing his way out, Wilson allegedly jumped into a polar bear pit and eluded the wrath of his opposition, earning the nickname ‘Mad’ for his efforts.
Wilson was stricken earlier this year with cancer. In February, Wilson fell ill with pancreatic cancer and was able to be treated for a couple of months in Thailand. When he had regained enough strength, Wilson was able to make it back to the U. K., where he underwent extensive chemotherapy treatments in an attempt to arrest the disease. Unfortunately, Wilson wouldn’t regain health, passing away Friday evening.
Poker News Daily would like to extend their condolences to Marty’s partner Katherine and the rest of the Wilson family at this unfortunate time.