Dave 'El Blondie' Colclough

by Dave 'El Blondie' Colclough
Submitted by: snoopy on Thu, 23/02/2006 - 10:06pm
March 4th, 1964, I was born in Carmarthan, South Wales and lived in a small village called Llanon until my Dad returned from a Royal Marines tour of duty. We then moved to Stoke-on-Trent before my first birthday. With a Welsh Mother and English Father, I have always considered myself both Welsh and English. Whichever suited the current situation best I guess!

We moved back to North Wales (Buckley) when I was 8 or 9. I was educated at St.Richard Gwyn, a Catholic High School in Flint (the same school as the great Ian Rush). Most people in that area grew up as Liverpool or Everton fans. I fell for the Anfield addiction a lot more readily than the Catholic indoctrination, and follow the Reds to this day (unlike Catholicism).

I collected 6 GCSE 'O' levels at the Dickie Gwyn, but got into trouble when I moved on to 'A' levels. I was warned, and detentioned twice for playing poker in the common room. And yes, I did win. Unfortunately, I didn't spot the hint from the poker gods, and continued my education by returning to College in Stoke-on-Trent. At 17 I had a BEC/TEC qualification in Information Technology, which fashioned my career for the next 18 or 19 years. I worked on many different IT Projects as a consultant for the likes of the Post Office, the NHS, the Inland Revenue, BACS, Chase Manhattan, JP Morgan Bank and Fujitsu.

I had played a lot of cards as a child, during family weekends in Stoke-on-Trent. Dad, Uncles, Grandad, Cousins, everyone joined in 'Crazy Eights', 'Slipper Ace', and in later years 'Nap'. Perhaps this was sewing the seeds for things to come, but whilst working on the BACS project in 1985 I shared a flat in Edgware with Ray Edwards. It was his idea that we went to a Casino one night, just for a change from the usual pub crawl. He sat me and another friend down, and taught us the rules and a fundamental strategy for 7 card stud. That night we showed up at the Rubicon Casino in Northampton for the Tuesday night 7 card stud competition.

I couldn't believe you could have so much fun for £10! I was immediately hooked and managed to win the monthly points prize (for reaching final tables) 3 or 4 months later. I was soon a regular at Northampton and Luton, with the occasional foray into the London Victoria. The IT Carreer most definitely got in the way of my poker career though. 70 hour weeks and 12 hour days were not ideal preparation for a good night's poker.

The combination of moving between computer contracts, relationships, and cardroom closures meant that I played less and less competitions through the 90's. I also preferred the lure of a 6 card omaha cash game in Birmingham for many years. John Shipley and I won considerably more money in this game than we could ever win playing competitions.

I still tried to play the occasional big tournament though, and after winning a WSOP event in 2000 (but regretfully giving away the bracelet in a deal), I took the plunge. I gave up the computing job to concentrate on poker. I won another major later in the year (£84,000 in the Victoria Classic), but immediately made a huge mistake.

I invested in a night club which turned out to be a huge waste of time and money. 2001 is the only losing year in my poker records. The reason was undoubtedly all the time, effort and stress I wasted trying to get the club to work. Half way through 2002, I finally swallowed and gave up on the club. Having demolished all my savings, I was almost broke and the computer industry loomed large on the horizon again.

Fortunately though, I hit a rush. I specifically remember making 9 consecutive final tables in Walsall immediately after quitting the club. Paradisepoker.com helped out with a sponsorship contract, and I parleyed the money up onto the European circuit. In 2003 I set a record for the most final table appearances that will probably never be broken, and was also voted 2003 European Player of the Year.

Somewhere along the way I managed to conceive a wonderful daughter as well. Sian (a welsh name which should have a 'roof' above the 'a') is now 6, and never stops making me smile. Her determination to win when we play 'squares' or any other game is quite frightening! Her mother, Anna, complains that that competiveness comes from me. Anna is married to someone else nowadays. However, one of the great advantages of being a professional poker player is that I can make my own schedules. I always make time to collect Sian from school, for the cinema, and other trips that she likes.

Nowadays, I am disappointed to be sitting in 5th place on the 2004 European rankings, but have had many financially rewarding results this year. I have performed well in most of the major competions, highlighted by making the only European WPT final, and of course winning the £100,000 European Poker Chamionship at the Vic. in July. I also have a $50,000 shirt deal with Bet365poker.com for 2004.

I have also settled down with my beautiful girlfriend, Rhowena, who is Scottish. As she has managed to put up with the poker lifestyle admirably for two years now, we are getting married in the Bahamas over Christams. We live in an apartment in Birmingham. Fortunately, it is big enough to have our own gym, sauna, and 'internet poker room'. Life is good as a professional poker player. Lady Luck has looked after me lately.