Wednesday 5 December 2007



By Mick McCloskey

I was talking to Liam Flood, Irish Open tournament director, and to Noel Hayes, from Paddy Power Poker, at the recent EPT in Dublin. I wanted to air one of my pet gripes to both of them regarding next Easter’s Irish Open. Paddy Power, to their credit, are guaranteeing a €3 million prize pot for the main event. To cover themselves for this guarantee, they would need 715 players, excluding registration fees. This year they managed to attract 708 players to the Open and I would imagine that, due to the popularity of the tournament, they should be able to achieve similar numbers, even though it will cost an extra €1,000 to play in next years event. According to the official website, the top 72 players will be paid, with a juicy, headline grabbing, €800,000 for first spot. My problem with the payout lies at the bottom end of the scale. As presently published, places 64 to 72 will get €4,500 each for their efforts, exactly their money back. And when I say efforts that is exactly what it will take to get to this stage. Next years event will have two first starting days. So, lets say a visitor from the UK, or further afield, plays on day 1 and just makes the money, he will have incurred travel expenses and at least 4 nights hotel expenses. He will have played his heart out for at least three days just to get into the money, and for what? Just to be handed his entry fee back for a net loss on the event. I don’t think this is good enough and other players I have spoken to think the same. Even the people who run the WSOP seem to have realised that making the money in a big event deserves some reward/profit. This year, any one who made the money in the $10,000 main event got a minimum of $20,300 for their endeavours. No other major or minor tournament that I know off pays back the entry fee only. So come on Paddy Power, it’s not too late to change the payout schedule. Give a little bit of profit to the guys at the lower end of the prize list. I’m pretty sure that next years winner will be quite happy with ¾ of a million euro in his pocket and it’s still a hell of a good headline grabbing figure for the sponsors. It presently translates into more than 1 million dollars. It doesn’t seem that long ago that this was the top prize in the WSOP main event!
The Irish Open takes place in The Citywest Hotel, Dublin in March 2008. It kicks off with a €300 re-buy super satellite on the 19th with the main event (day 1) starting on the 20th. There will be a full programme of support events, including an Irish Open Ladies freeze-out.


At the recent Simon Community charity event, organised by Padraig Parkinson and hosted at the Dublin leg of the Poker Stars European Poker Tour, “Mad” Marty Wilson added to the proceedings, and to the money raised, by organising tombola drawings and an auction for autographed sports memorabilia. The first item to come under the hammer was a snooker cue and case signed by former World Champions Steve Davis and Ken Doherty, who were both actually playing in the poker event. Marty got the bidding started at €100 and was raising the price of bids by increments of €50 at a time. He managed to get the bids up to €450 and was trying to encourage some one to make the next step to €500. An enthusiastic Rory Liffey shouts “550 euro” and is now the proud owner of a signed cue! I’m not sure if any alcohol had been taken at this stage as it was still early afternoon in Dublin. Well done Rory.


No sooner do we get over the New Year festivities before battle commences again for the first major European tournament of 2008. The tournament is the Irish Poker Championship, sponsored by Party Poker, in conjunction with Poker The venue is the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway and the event kicks off with a €200 + 20super satellite on Thursday 3rd January. The €2,000 main event will start on Friday 4th and will run over three days. The event will be recorded for television and will be broadcast by the national TV company, RTE, over six episodes. On Saturday there will be a €800 + 80 freeze-out and on Sunday a €400 + 40 freeze-out.

Green Joker Poker has announced details of an exciting event next February, namely The European Deepstack Poker Championships. The main event will be a €1,400 + 100 freeze-out with a 50,000 starting stack, played on a 60 minute clock and with every conceivable level, played over four days. Mike Lacey from Green Joker Poker says “This will be the best structure to be found in any European Poker tournament.” The tournament will have a two day start, with a maximum number of 150 players each day, starting on Wednesday 6th February at The Drogheda Poker Club, Drogheda, about 20 miles north of Dublin Airport. Support events will include a €500 short handed event with a 20,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels and a €500 Pot Limit Omaha event with the same structure. As numbers are limited, early booking would be advised. You can register and pay online on the Green Joker Poker site which is also running online satellites for a package to the main event. These satellites are also available on Bluesquarepoker. This event sounds like the business.

Finally, I just want to take this opportunity to wish all Poker Europa readers best wishes for the Christmas holiday season and a peaceful and profitable poker new year.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to