If you’re a regular on the European poker circuit (or at the PCA/PokerStars Championship Bahamas), I could show you a picture of Alice Halle and you’d say “Oh yeah – Alice – the amazing dealer.” Alice routinely works at feature and final tables at PokerStars events, sliding the cards over the felt like tiny hovercraft; it’s a joy to watch.
But as too often happens in the professional world, we don’t know what skills and talents that our colleagues have unless there’s some accidental reason to find out. Like Alice walking into the tournament area at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas with a ukulele case slung over her shoulder.
Now, if you know much about me, you know that I love poker. Love it. But more importantly, I love music about two orders of magnitude more than I love poker. Music is oxygen to me.
So there goes Alice with the uke case, and I’m all, “Whoa, stop and tell me about that.” Apparently it’s how she keeps her sanity between dealing downs. One thing led to another and we arranged a little recording session in an interview room.
Now I will admit up front that I know pretty much nothing about ukuleles or their repertoire. But after 15 minutes of listening to Alice, I’m headed for YouTube.
George Harrison fans, still your breathing…
I sat transfixed as Alice the dealer became Alice the ukulele master, performing an exquisite reading of a classic. This on an instrument of only four nylon strings, that fits in your suitcase. I may have to take up ukulele.
Wait – did somebody holler “Encore” and raise a lighter? Let’s go ask Alice.
Lee Jones first joined PokerStars in 2003 and has been part of the professional poker world for over 25 years. You can read his occasional Twitter-bites at @leehjones