Ian Simpson
Ian Simpson is heading back to Barcelona with 888poker but not before he answers our 15 Bigs

This week, Ian Simpson heads to the 888poker Tour in Barcelona this week. The British poker professional, who moved from Unibet to 888 poker in 2023 is a former Irish Poker Open winner and with over $1.2 million in live winnings alone, brings his vivacious personality to the felt and a hardened edge to his play.

He took time out to take on our 15 Bigs, questions that are designed to press anyone in the game to the ultimate test. Just like being reduced to 15 bigs in a poker tournament, you are going to have to push or fold… so which is it? Let’s find out.

You’re on a long-haul flight and can only choose one TV Show or Movie to watch on repeat, which is your pick?

The 1986 Transformers cartoon movie. It’s so good. They’ll killed off so many characters just to sell new toys and they were beloved characters to me. Wheeljack, Optimus Prime. In the cartoon no-one ever died – in the movie they killed them all!

If you were stranded on a desert island with one book for company, what would it be?

The Founding by Dan Abnett. Its three novels in one tome – it’s Sci-Fi – shooting the bad guys – but it’s incredibly emotional and Abnett is an incredible writer. One of them made me cry. I cry a lot more now I’m a Dad, but still.

Dan Abnett The Founding
Dan Abnett’s The Founding trilogy – read it and weep (like Ian did).

What’s the song you could listen to on repeat forever?

I don’t think I can pick one that I really like because then I’d stop liking it and that would be tragic. My favourite band varies month to month but one song…? Maybe Dirty Love by Thunder.

What’s your favourite place to play poker and why?

My favorite poker room is The Wynn. Anyone who has played there knows why. The staff are fantastic, the room is the perfect temperature and the food options are wonderful. My second might be the Madrid 888poker stop, with amazing eateries all around it.

If you were to be shot at dawn, what would be your last meal and drink?

Christ, I’m a vegan now! I’ll have a pint of Guinness. I like a whisky, but if it’s a last drink I’ll make it a long one. I rarely drink now; you can’t be a parent and hungover! For dinner, a good ramen bowl with crispy tofu and mushrooms.

Obamas and Guinness
If it’s good enough for the Obamas…

Where’s your favourite non-poker holiday destination?

We had the pandemic for two years and our daughter Adeline’s health is tough, but we stayed on the coast near Colchester. It was near some friends who made us godparents and it was the first family holiday we had, because Adeline’s health made us not want to travel abroad, it was there. It was a nice, wholesome normal family holiday and we’d never had one before.

You can play poker every day for a year or play no poker for a whole 12 months – which do you choose?

Poker every day!

Who is the person you don’t have around anymore that you miss the most?

That’s too emotional! Gramps and Grandma.

Which person would you most like to meet but never have?

David Attenborough, he’s my absolute hero. Go and watch Planet Earth or any Attenborough documentary. I’ll be heartbroken when we lose him.

David Attenborough
Ian’s life hero David Attenborough in action.

When’s the last time life put you on tilt?

It happens! There’s a hole in the wall where I punched it when I was not as confident in the game. I’ve had hard times and I get angry, I’m human… but life tilt? I’m angry every time I scroll through Twitter, it’s a dumpster fire right now!

If you couldn’t play the WSOP Main Event next year, which family member would you put into the action in your place?

I think Emma, my wife. My brother has played a bit more, but my wife is smart. I could train her more easily – it’s close though.

What’s your best poker skill?

Not tilting. Ignore the hole in the wall. The past four years, I’m more confident in my game and I’m aware of the scope of what I don’t know. I’m conscious of how much time I can spend streaming, studying and playing as well as balancing that with being a husband and father.

And your biggest leak?

Maybe volume. The more volume and study you can put into the game, the better you’ll be. I’d like to put in more volume.

If you could make one rule change to poker, what would it be?

If there’s a bet and call on the river, everyone’s cards [have to be] shown. I think recreational players would benefit to see the pros hands and at the minute if there’s a bet and a call then a debate starts about who has to show their hand if it goes check-check on the river. Then the pro says ‘queen-high’ hoping the other player shows their hands. I hate the pantomime before it, who’s last to act. People get embarrassed about showing their hands. It’s a hand of cards, get over yourselves. People are like ‘Oh, now they know my strategy’. Yes! Get over it, adapt!

You have just ten seconds with the person of your dreams… what do you say?

Ian Simpson Barcelona
Ian Simpson will be bringing the heat in Barcelona this week on the 888poker tour.

Me and Emma have said it all! I’d just curl up in a ball and enjoy her company. It’s not that I’m not romantic… but I’ve said everything! We were talking about that the other day, both scrolling through our phones. We’ve discussed out beliefs on everything. We could talk about current affairs, they’re ever-changing, but have your seen current events!! They’re depressing.

We should talk about the good stuff happening in the world, but it doesn’t get talked about because it doesn’t generate clicks. World hunger is at an absolute low, it just never gets talked about.

With the World Series of Poker around the corner, we’d want Ian Simpson on our table just for the conversation… even it cost us our chips!