Legendary British professional poker player Dave Ulliott, who was nicknamed Devilfish, died at the age of 61 after fighting a losing battle against bowel cancer.
Born in Hull, Ulliott served prison time twice when he was in his twenties after which he emerged as one of the top-earning professional poker players in Britain.
The news of his death was confirmed by David, his son, who posted the following message on Twitter: “Unfortunately Dad, Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott lost his battle with cancer today and died peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. xxx.”
Jimmy White, the legendary snooker player, had the following to add: “RIP Devilfish. Greatest character in poker and a good friend.”
Six days back, Ulliott had spoken to the local press. He had told Hull Daily Mail that he was determined to win his battle against cancer. He said: “I don’t think cancer has any chance of taking me. It is a hand that life has thrown at me. All my life I have had rubbish hands and I have managed to turn them around. It is what I am good at and this is no different.”
The poker community took notice of Ulliott after he began taking part in Late Night Poker, a series on Channel Four, in 1999. The poker pro became especially famous for the sharp suits, the shades tinted with orange, and the gold knuckleduster rings that bore the words “Fish” and Devil” that he was fond of wearing, especially while playing poker.
Since “devilfish” is a poisonous fish that gobbles everything in water, Stephen Au-Yeung, another poker player, thought it would be an apt nickname for Ulliott.
Ulliott has won over £4 million in an eventful career, full of large cash pots. He has to his credit a World Poker Tour (WPT) championship title, which he won in 2003, and a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, which he won in 1997.
Ulliott was born and brought up in Hull. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 and does not have any academic achievements to his credit. His life as a poker pro almost ended because of the two prison sentences he served. When he was 21, he got involved with a gang of safe crackers, and when he was 28, he got 18 months of prison time for getting involved in a nightclub fight.
He has left behind 8 children and his wife Anpakitta.