One of Britain’s most successful poker players, who was influential in helping the game to cross into mainstream culture, has died after a battle with bowel and colon cancer.
Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, 61, became one of the highest-earning professional gamblers ever after taking up the pastime in the 1980s following two spells in prison in his 20s for involvement in a safe-cracking team and an assault outside a pub.
Ulliott, who grew up on a Hull council estate, became famous on the Channel 4 series Late Night Poker in 1999 where he sported orange shades, swept-back hair and homemade knuckledusters with ‘Devil’ and ‘Fish’ written on them. His skills were revealed to viewers by a covert camera under the table and helped make the game appealing to a new generation of players.
He earned more than £4m in his career and won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 1997 and the World Poker tour title in 2003.
The snooker player Jimmy White, a friend of Ulliott’s, led the tributes: “RIP Devilfish. Greatest character in poker and a good friend.”
He is survived by his wife, Anpaktita, and eight children.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th April 2015 10.15 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010