Interview w/Sean McGuigan

Sean McGuigan (left) is a regular visitor to Newcastle casinos, predominantly playing local poker tournaments. The guy has first class banter (especially when drunk) and brings some game to the table.

I invited Sean to be a guest on FTP for the month of June, which despite his busy schedule he was more than happy to join us. Like in previous interviews I've mixed the questions with some light hearted jokes and serious poker related, so I hope you all enjoy going in the tank with Sean "horses heed" McGuigan.

DT "When and how did you get started playing poker? Did you have any inspirational poker players, books, moments, shows, etc. that were instrumental for you?."

SM "My family are pretty much a bunch of gambling degenerates. Sundays used to be a case of eat yourself stupid then all the adults would play cards and the kids would have their own game for pennies. If you were lucky, and there was a spare seat, you could join the adult game but they didn't let you play for pretend. Your pocket money was on the line so you watched and learned basically! I started playing Poker then but started to play far more often when I discovered that you could play it on-line. This in turn led to me playing in the casino. My first Poker role model was Dan Harrington. Harrington on Hold em was pretty much my game for a year or so. I have no real Poker role models. If I had to watch anyone play it would be players with character. Tony G, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak. Not for the Poker. More for the way they act when playing and wind people up."

DT "I see from your facebook activities that away from the felt you like to go to the gym, only I understood people that trained were in shape so I ruled you out ;-). Does the gym around your way have a good vending machine or something? I guess you must have a reason for visiting."

SM "I only really go to the gym for the chicks! They dig it! The gym chills me out. If I don't go I get ratty and edgy. When I've trained I'm chilled and find it easier to relax. I train pretty much every day illness or injury permitting. It's tough sometimes as I work shifts now. I often find myself in there at 5am before an early shift. If I know I'm playing a long Poker session I always have a long run or workout beforehand as it makes me much more chilled and I tend to make better decisions when I feel like that rather than ones based upon emotion."

DT "Your NPF screen name is sean mcguigan, your creativity with this name is commendable. So what made you go for this screen name?. Over the NEPF it's not so imaginative going for horses heed, how did this come to fruition?."

SM "I just put my name in the wrong box and hit the send button. When I registered I didn't think I would spend much time on there so there appeared to be no need to change it! Doh!. I often considered changing it but it became a bit of a joke in the end so I just kept it. Horses Heed was chosen as I have been known to don a horses head mask from time to time for a laugh during a couple of the NPF events I attended. There are a few pictures kicking about. Just figured it seemed like a good name and the Sean McGuigan thing was getting old."

DT "How many cops does it take to change a light bulb?."

SM "There's nothing wrong with the lightbulb. It's fine. If the light bulb does need to be changed it must have thrown itself down the stairs or tripped over during interview. I never touched it! I'm sure that some of my more liberal colleagues would say that the lightbulb has to want to change before we can help it!."

DT "Your affiliate with NPF team Northern Lights, tell us a bit about that? How did this group come to fruition? How was the name 'Northern Lights' born?."

SM "Well I just got asked to play for them. It's mainly women now but that wasn't the case when the team was formed. Dawn Wills formed the team for a tournament and we just kept going. I really don't recall how the name came about."

DT "Their are strong rumours circulating around Newcastle poker scene that you listen to “Inner Circle – Bad Boys” on constant repeat whilst playing poker for inspiration, see YouTube video below;

Is this true?. On a serious note, what do you listen to whilst at the table?.”

SM "To be honest mate I'd rather shove a cactus up my own 'inner circle' than listen to that. I tend not to listen to music whilst playing as I like a bit of banter. I sometimes put my headphones in but don't put music on. People think I'm listening to music but I'm not. It's the best wind up ever! If I do listen to music it's always Rock or something with real instruments. Can't stand dance or anything similar."

DT "NPF or NEPF?."

SM "NPF. When NPF disappeared I was extremely impressed that Groomi and Gaz (Not Garry) Walker managed to get an alternative up and running so quickly. Hats off to them and I will probably use both. You can never have too much information. However, if I had to choose one only, it would be the NPF. Too many connections and met some amazing people through it."

DT "I understand your doing an charity abseil off the Vermont Hotel on June 25th, what's your thoughts on this? Excited and scared I guess. I think this is a great cause, if any FTP followers would like donate, follow Sean's JustGiving link below;

Sean McGuigan: Vermont Hotel Abseil

SM "I'm looking forward to it. I'm doing it with my son who is 14. I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction. He's never done anything like this before and it'll be a good test of his bottle. I'm curious to see how he handles it. I would like to do more for charity but you can't keep pestering people for donations so I try to limit how much I do. Times are hard and cash is short for everybody. But it's a very good cause so if anybody can spare a few quid it would be greatly appreciated. Cheers for the plug."

DT "Where would you go with a time machine? What would you do? Why?."

SM "I'd probably go back to a week or so before my mother went into labour and tell her that she really should hop on a flight to Australia. I could do with dual nationality! There's always the obvious. go to the future and get the football results and spend the rest of my life on the phone to the bookies. In truth that's probably what I would do! But it's not a very interesting answer. I've always thought it would be good to visit ancient Rome at the height of the Roman empire. I'd probably go to see something happening at the Colliseum, have a few Vino's the harrass a couple of Vestal Virgins! Canny night out that."

DT "Who do you consider the best all round poker player in Newcastle, taking into consideration all poker disciplines and variants?."

SM "Wow, that's a toughie. So many criteria. So many types of game. I think it's a bit like asking who is the best runner in england considering all races. My answer will surprise a lot of people. But if I had to give my own cash to one person locally, and trust that person to base all of his decisions based on the correct logic and thought processes, I would hand it to Phil McNally. I would completely revise this decision if he is within a 100 yards of a bottle of Budweiser."

DT "If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?."

SM "You've confirmed that you're a cock would seem the obvious answer. I mean, if you're such a loser that your objective is to fail then you deserve to reach your objective. However, the question seems to be something of a paradox as, in succeeding, you've actually not failed. So I'll sit on the fence and say you've broke even!"

DT "Who’s the best person you’ve ever shared a table with? Not necessarily best poker player but best because of their personality, their fame, etc?."

SM "I played cash Poker against Steven Hendry at a casino in Edinburgh once. He wasn't particularly memorable or chatty. Probably because I was at my drunkest and talking to me may have seemed a terrible idea! Other than that there are no famous people or big stories. So in answer I'd probably just have to mention the player I have had the most laughs with at a Poker table. There are many to choose from. I am a social player. I do it for the craic so I like a bit of a laugh. I guess you know this as well as most. You have seen me in some states and we have ourselves had some great laughs at the table and away from it. Sometimes I've laughed so hard that a bit of wee has come out! However I would have to say some of my most fun games have been with somebody I met through playing Poker and who is now a good mate Gary (Shouts at OAP's) Robinson. He's an absolute clown and always a laugh. He always tries to bad beat me cos he loves winding me up. When we're at the table we play harder against each other than anybody for the craic. He'd be on my ideal banter table anytime."

DT "February this year you suggested a poker endurance tournament over the NPF, with the proceeds going to charity. Did you make any progress with this? Whats the status on it at the minute?."

SM "No, it never got off the ground. I got loads of positive feedback from local players. A number of whom said that they would participate. But, to be honest, with other things that were happening at the time, I didn't follow it up. I still think it's a good idea and I would probably play it myself if somebody organised it but at the minbute it remains nothing more than an idea."

DT "Most favourite holiday destination?."

SM "Don't have one. Holidays for me are made by the people you're with and not the place. Some of my best all time holidays have been in total shitholes. Some of the dullest I've had have been 5 star luxury. I've still never been to Vegas. I would obviously love to go there. No plans yet though."

DT "I've made several light hearted jokes already about your profession, so yeah away from the felt you work as an officer for Northumbria police. Was this always your desired career path? How did you end up following this direction? Would you recommend a career in the police to today's youth?."

SM "The Police was definitely not my intended career path. It didn't appeal to me at all. I joined the Royal Marines from school and after that I obviously sold kitchens for a living! A natural progression really! After a few years of doing this I was so bored I decided to have a total change and the Police just seemed to be a good idea. It took me three attempts to get in but I got there eventually. I don't regret joining but I definitely 'would not' recommend it to anybody as a career path. The job has changed so much. You are so bogged down with red tape and bureaucracy all of the time. The pay (contrary to popular opinion) is awful and you have so many restrictions placed upon your private life. I have done everything I can to deter my own son from following it as a career which probably says it all!"

DT "What does the rest 2011 hold for Sean McGuigan? Can we expect to see you frequenting the local Newcastle poker circuit?."

SM "I haven't played much poker lately. Maybe one game a fortnight live. This is because of my change of job and the shifts I have to work. As such I can't see an increase in games played live but I do intend to try to qualify for or buy into a couple of bigger games at some point. I couldn't play the UKIPT as I couldn't get the time off work. That was frustrating."

All here at FTP would like to thank you for your time Sean, I for one have had a great time doing this interview and hope that all readers have enjoyed it (which I'm sure they have). Best of luck for the future Sean, see you at the tables mate.


  1. gr8 stuff from one of the real characters of Newcastle and someone who gave me some of the best laughs ever away at some NPF trips

  2. Enjoyed that v much always a pleasure to be on pc horses heeds table


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