Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott is an English professional poker player. He has a long history, dating back to his early days a member of the Hull crime underworld to his professional poker career today.
Born to a World War II paratrooper that was now a truck driver, Ulliott grew up in Hull, England. He grew up in a council house and was a trouble young man. He did poorly in school and dropped out of classes by the age of 15.
He did get a job making trophies for G K Beaulah, but was subsequently terminated when he continued to leave work to go bet on horses. After he lost his job, he began a life of crime. He ran with a tough group of guys and joined a safe cracking crew that he knew in the area. They robbed plenty of small business owners – who reportedly were also on the take – before Devilfish was caught by the police himself. He famously robbed a bookie that he had a lost a bet to, carrying the safe out in a pram.
Ulliot was sentenced to nine months in jail for his involvement in the safe cracking team, but that would be the first of his many encounters with the law. He was arrested for armed robbery shortly after his release but was released a few days later without charge. Finally, he then became involved in the same safe cracking team while working as a bouncer and gambling.
When he was 28, he was arrested for fighting outside a nightclub and sentenced to 18 months in jail. After meeting a friend in jail, he decided to rob a bank upon his release, but his friend was picked up by police before it could happen. He was advised by his friend's wife to go straight and retire from a life of crime. He decided this was best and began to play poker and gamble professionally.
He still played poker in the underworld and was well skilled from beating his father in games as a kid. He still carried a weapon with him as he wanted to be sure he was paid the amount he was up. His main game in the early 90s was lowball.
He won his first significant tournament in 1993 and went to Las Vegas in 1997. It was there he got the nickname "Devilfish". While playing Men Nguyen heads-up in a pot limit Omaha event, Men's fans were cheering him on by calling him "the Master". His friend Gary Whitaker chanted "Devilfish" the English name for the Asian fugu fish. Ulliott went on to win the event and the poker headlines read "Devilfish devours the Master" and the nickname stuck.
Devilfish won his first WSOP bracelet in 2007 and has a long list of notable cashes, including a $600k first place finish in Jack Binion's World Poker Open and a 3rd place finish Bellagio Five Diamond Classic in which he won almost $700k. He has over $6 million in career tournament winnings.
Ulliot has been married twice and is currently divorced. He has fathered seven children. When he is not on the tournament circuit, he resides in Kingston upon Hull, not far from where he grew up.