PCA Memories: Gentleman John Gale

In advance of the 2008 PCA, we're looking back at some of the more fun moments of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

On PokerStars' first trip to Atlantis and Resort and Casino in 2005, the blank canvas of the Bahamian poker scene was evident. One night, an announcement came over the PA system that the first ever live cash game hand of poker was being dealt in the back of the room. It was a $10/$20 limit hold'em game and the first hand resulted in pocket kings getting sucked out on by a flush draw.

Somewhere across the room sat a relative unknown. A man named John Gale, a man who had precious little tournament experience, was building his stack and comfortable in his anonymity.

Within a few days, most people there would know the gentleman from England. Still, there would be a lot to learn. As I wrote at the time...

John Gale was sitting in the lobby smoking one in a series of Marlboro Red cigarettes and filling out the player biography sheet for the World Poker Tour producers. Gale is not a nervous man. In fact, he's an English gentleman from Bushey, a little town outside London. But when he needs a smoke (about every ten to 15 minutes), he really needs a smoke.

"It's terrible, isn't it?" he said to me yesterday after stealing away into the lobby in between final table hands.

Now that he's made it to the televised final table, he has time to relax a little bit.

But sitting in the lobby, he had a problem.

"I can't answer this question," he said, pointing to the player bio questionnaires. His wife was hovering over him, as was the producer for the WPT. Gale was smiling.

"My biggest loss," he mused. "I can tell you about my biggest win, but my my biggest loss? My wife is standing here."

It was typical of Gale's dry sense of humor. Twenty-four hours later, the same smile would creep up as Gale became a PCA champion. During his time at the final table, Gale would solidify his reputation as a gentleman, grabbing each opponent in a genuine hug as he sent them to the rail.

Since then, Gale has become an international poker pro. He has that WPT title, as well as a World Series bracelet. What's more, if he's met you once, there's a good chance when he sees you again, he will greet you by your first name and embrace you like a long-lost friend.

To this day, many people still consider Gale to be among the friendliest players on the circuit.

And it all started at the 2005 PCA.


2008 PCA Primer

PCA Memories: Behind the Scenes