Booze Binges Out, Poker Nights in for Scottish Football Association

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Poker Nights in for Scottish Football Association

The Scottish Football Association believes that its poker nights at the Mar Hall hotel have contributed to an increased morale amongst the team. 

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Assistant Manager Peter Houston believes that the all night booze binges are now a thing of the past, replaced by the poker games. 

"The boys like a game of poker and we bring people in to let them play here," Houston told The Scotsman on Monday. "The boys love it. It is for relaxation because the boys are at the hotel for hours and hours.

"Two guys, who work in casinos, come in. I think the SFA pay them and then the boys chip in again for them at the end of the night."

Absenteeism has also been reduced as a result of the nightly poker games, or at least that is what the club’s management is led to believe.  Only two players pulled out over the weekend.

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"We want people to want to turn up and every one of these guys who have turned up, the Charlie Adams and Gary Caldwells, because they all want to play on Wednesday night. That speaks volumes.

From The Scotsman

The serious business begins again next month when Czech Republic and Liechtenstein visit Glasgow as Scotland resume their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, with the SFA set to continue giving their support to a form of player entertainment that certainly beats sinking umpteen pints of lager until daybreak. However, some eyebrows might be raised at the switch to gambling, although Houston yesterday stressed that it wasn't for "big bucks".

Filling the time is one of (Craig) Levein's chief concerns as a Scotland manager and he hopes to have found the answer to long nights spent in the team hotel before and after games. Downtime during double-headers is a sensitive issue following the Boozegate scandal of 2009.

So who is the best poker player on the Scottish team?

"Allan McGregor is the best poker player," said Houston. "The boys all play it. When we have been abroad the players like to play cards, not for big bucks, just amongst themselves. They are all practically millionaires any way but there is a limit on the bets."

-       Alistair Prescott,

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