A Story About the Devilfish (R.I.P. Brother)

The poker world lost one hell of a character today when David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot passed away after a short battle with colon cancer. In a world of interesting characters and larger than life personalities, Dave stood out above the rest. I’m not sure which stories I should repeat, a problem that many of his friends are probably facing right now, but my favorite interaction with Dave tells you what the guy was like and shouldn’t get anyone in trouble.

I met Dave as part of the pro team for an online poker site on the Merge network. The site eventually failed and Dave and I were kicked off the site for expressing our concerns before things fell apart. During this time I was briefly in charge of the pro team, helping them learn how the affiliate business worked, getting gear for them, and in Dave’s case, helping them with the technology. I talked to Dave on Skype in order to help him get the software set up on his laptop, and working with Dave and technology was an adventure.

I know my way around technology in most cases, but I’m not a trained tech support person, and Dave was so impatient with computers that we had our work cut out for us getting things done over Skype. His thick accent didn’t help either. Trying to understand what he was saying while he angrily cursed his laptop just added to the challenge of helping an impatient, tech-challenged guy set up his twitter account, online poker software, and web bio. After a few hours we got things figured out and everything was working well. I thought my work was done, and actually said to Dave before we hung up and I went on to the next member of the pro team – “If the next guy needs help like this he can go to hell, I’m not doing it twice.”

No one else on the team needed as much help with tech support as Dave, and things went fairly smoothly until a few weeks later Dave rang me on Skype. I answered, curious what he would be calling with out of the blue. To be honest I was also a little pleased with myself. Anyone who came into poker around the time of the Moneymaker boom knows that Devilfish was a huge name in poker during that time and getting a call from him was always a cool experience.

The first minute or so, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying other than my name. He was pissed. When he calmed down, and his speech slowed down, I could pick out words but they didn’t make sense.

“We need to do it again Chris, I shot the fucker.” he said, which I assumed I was hearing wrong.

“You shot something?” I asked, hoping to get some clarification.

“Yeah, I shot it. Three times. I’m sure it’s dead. Fucking thing.” he said, almost spitting his words.

“You shot what?” I asked, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.

“The computer. I put three bullets in it.” he replied, “It didn’t seem to learn any other way.”

I’m sure my head cocked to the side like a confused pup. “You shot your laptop? With a gun? Really?”

“Yeah, I get angry Chris, these God damned computers make me nuts.”

“Dave, if you shot your computer, you were already nuts.”

“Not the first to tell me that Chris,” he said, “and I’ve never argued. I’ve got another one here though, can we get her set up quick?”

“We can get her set up Dave, but I doubt it’s gonna be quick…”

Dave had gotten frustrated with his laptop because it wouldn’t log in to his account so that he could play poker, and after fighting with it for a few hours, he had walked “out back”, and put three rounds through the keyboard. I think Dave lived in London. The police come running any time shots are fired in the city of London. I didn’t ask a lot of questions about how that worked out or what had happened. Now I wish I had asked more questions. There was probably an even better story in there somewhere.

We did get it set up, and I helped Dave out with a few other tech issues over the last few years. When he got locked out of his twitter account, which happened about twice a year, he hit me on Skype and I got him back in. I usually logged in to the account and reset the password, and last year I tweeted from his account myself –

My password problem is solved! My pal found the password for me! You should all follow him!

Dave had a sense of humor about everything. I watched him stand on stage with rapper Prohozac and sing a country song about a guy with his head stuck in a fence, ignoring how ridiculous the whole thing looked and laughing at himself. Every exchange I ever had with him left me laughing, even when I only understood half the words.

We will miss ya buddy. I wish I had known you better. The world got a little less interesting when you left it.

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