Poker player Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott dies after battle with cancer

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.

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