Monday, 15 October 2007

World Cup and Irish Open

World Cup and Irish Open
By Mick McCloskey

I’ve just returned from sunny Barcelona where I had the honour of playing for Ireland in the Poker Stars World Cup of Poker. The World Cup is a team event which started as an online free roll to select team members. Around 60 teams of four then played a series of elimination rounds to get down to the final eight teams. At this stage, a guest player was invited to join the team for the live finals in The Grand Casino Barcelona. With the rest of the team having done all the hard work to get to this stage, I was lucky enough to get the invitation to round off the Irish team and headed off to Spain for a five night, all expenses paid, trip. I want to thank team captain, Daniel Bolton and my team mates, Noel Peare, Derek Murray and Joe Connelly for putting up with me. The atmosphere and camaraderie among all the teams was great and everybody seemed to have a really good time. There was, of course, the serious side of things, in the form of $250,000 in prize money up for grabs. After five qualifying heats and a final table of four, all recorded for television, the destination of the World Cup was decided. I will be doing a full report for next month’s edition of the magazine.
In the meantime, I must thank the people from Poker Stars involved in organising the whole event, for the invitation and for looking after everyone so well, throughout the tournament. I, for one, will treasure the memory of the whole experience.

Irish Open 2008

Paddy Power has announced some initial details of next year’s event. They are certainly thinking big by planning for two first days with a capacity of 1,000 players. Considering last years record numbers, who would bet against them achieving this milestone number. My only concern is the increase in the buy in to €4,500. The cost of playing in the Irish Open has trebled in the last five years. Although there are plenty of opportunities to qualify via live and online satellites, I wonder how many regular Irish players will feel priced out of next year’s event. I appreciate that the higher numbers and increased entry fee translate into ever bigger prize pools which is all good. However, I know a number of regular players who struggled to find the funds required for the 2007 Open. For 2008, is the Irish Open really “open” to all the Irish players who should be participating in Ireland’s premier poker event?

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