Tuesday 9 December 2008


By Mick McCloskey

I think I have been.
I recently won a package online for the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival in Dublin. The package, valued at $4,500, was played on the iPoker network through Green Joker Poker, whose banking and customer services are provided by Bluesqpoker.com. I have won a number of tournament packages on this site before, mostly for entries to GUKPT events, and have never had a problem with these. The GUKPT packages were normally valued at $2,500 and covered the tournament entry and the balance was credited to my account to cover expenses. The tournament entry was paid using the exchange rate on the day of the online satellite, which I believe is standard practice at Bluesq for GUKPT events.

On the other hand, the IWF package included four nights’ hotel accommodation as well as expenses. As I had made my own hotel arrangements, I informed the poker site of this fact. Subsequently my account was credited with the sum of $1,050 for expenses and $620 for the hotel. At the same time as this was going on, Paddy Power were running satellites on their own poker site for a seat only for the IWF. This seat was valued at $2,222. If you add up the seat, 2,222 + expenses 1,050 + hotel 620 the total comes to $3,892, some $608 short of the $4,500 advertised value of the package. I emailed my sums to Bluesq and awaited their explanation. I was told that the iPoker network had purchased the seats in advance at a different exchange rate, costing them $2,600. I was also told by Bluesq that, “due to a human error in the communication between us and iPoker” my hotel refund should have been $725 rather than the £620 they had given me. They also informed me that they had deducted $100 from my winnings for a qualifiers welcome party, which they had failed to invite me too. Having refunded the hotel shortfall and the welcome party fee, this still left a $25 difference. I was informed that this related to “a deduction as a network “ buffer” for European packages currency rate variance at the point of transaction.” whatever that means. Considering that I am the one who feel he has suffered due to the “currency rate variance” they have a hell of a cheek in deducting $25 from my package to cover themselves!

At the end of the day, this is not even their own money that they are dealing with. It is all players’ money. The site/network provided a platform for the players on the night of the satellite, for which they charge a fee to each player. Never mind the numbers, the whole thing was handled in a totally sloppy manner, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. This is not just a personal matter as there were quite a number of online qualifiers for this event on various sites across the network. I would advise all of them to check how much they actually got for their so called $4,500 package.

For my own information and on behalf of any readers who may also be affected or concerned with this matter, I posed a number of questions to the site/network. The questions and any answers I got were as follows:-

1) How many other players were affected by this issue? – No reply.
2) If the exchange rate had gone the other way and the network had bought seats in advance for, say, $2,200, would the network pass the savings onto the satellite winners?
3) If not, who benefits from any exchange rate surplus?
4) How does the network work out how many seats/hotel rooms to purchase in advance?
5) If they purchase too many seats, do they get a refund on the surplus? If not, why purchase them in advance anyway?
6)If they purchase too few, do they buy any additional seats at a new exchange rate or the original rate?
7) Do they actually pay for hotel rooms in advance or do they merely book the same number of rooms as the number of seats they purchase?

As regards the purchase of seats, they gave no details of the mechanics save to say that “iPoker pay the rate on the day of purchase.” As regards the hotel rooms they said “iPoker do not disclose their dealings with hotels.” I would doubt very much that they would pay for hotel rooms in advance and would probably have benefited from the rise in the value of the dollar against the Euro from the time the hotel rate was agreed to the time of the event itself.

They did say that “in both instances iPoker do not make a profit or loss as they pay the correct rate on the day of purchase – there is no currency surplus as you suggest. In fact, they would be exposed to currency fluctuations and potentially suffer losses if they bought packages at the end of the promotion – if the value of the $USD went down against the event currency.”
They continued “The only apparent way to resolve the situation you faced would be to reconcile the packages on a weekly basis; however iPoker are currently unable to do this as there is excessive administration and paperwork involved in transferring such amounts of money to external providers.” Not sure if this a valid excuse as there are only a handful of qualifiers each Sunday night and it should be no big deal, in the age of instant communications and cash transfers, to deal with the admin. weekly.

They concluded by telling me “they will consider splitting the reconciliation twice during a single promotion.” They are also “currently developing “multi currency” functionality for 2009 which means players will actually play in the currency of different events – resolving this issue.” Well thank goodness for that and the fact that they do admit that there is an issue.

While they are developing their new system, I think I will play for tournament seats directly on the sponsors own sites rather than through a third party who can blind me with currency fluctuation excuses.

I would advise anyone who wins tournament packages online to check the figures carefully to make sure they are getting what they are supposed to.

Friday 5 December 2008


By Mick McCloskey

A group of elderly poker players were playing their regular weekend game when Dick loses £1,000, an unusually large amount for this game, on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table.

Showing due regard for their fallen comrade, the other players continue playing, but standing up instead of sitting, as a mark of respect to their friend.

At the end of the game, Tom looks around and asks, “So, who's gonna tell his wife?”

They cut the cards. Harry picks the low card and has to carry the news.

They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

“Discreet? I'm the most discreet person you'll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me.”

Harry goes over to the Dick’s house and knocks on the door. The wife answers through the door and asks what he wants?

Harry declares: “Your husband just lost £1,000 in a poker game and is afraid to come home.”

“Tell him to drop dead!” yells the wife.

“I'll go tell him.” says Harry.


The last three months of 2008 were/are bursting at the seams with good tournaments in Ireland. Unfortunately, some are going to suffer numberwise due to date clashes.


One that probably won’t have this problem is the Party Poker Irish Poker Championship, the first major European tournament of 2009. The festival kicks off with a super satellite in the Eglinton Casino, Galway, on Thursday 1st January. The action then moves to the Radisson Hotel for the €2,000 three day main event starting on Friday 2nd. Support events will run on the Saturday and Sunday, including a charity event, organised by Padraig Parkinson, in aid of the homeless. If last year is anything to go by, this should be a great weekend with plenty of visitors from the UK, Europe and the USA. The events of the weekend will be recorded for a series of eight TV shows, initially, I understand, for Irish broadcaster RTE and later for more general release. The last of the IPC Tour events, for seats and cash, will take place in the Gold Club Casino, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal from 4th to 6th December and then from 12th to 14th December in the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin. For full details check out www.pokerevents.ie


Wexford’s Quay Casino are putting on their first major festival over first weekend in December from 4th to 7th.The three day main event has a €1,000 entry fee. Full details can be found at www.quaycasino.com

Other new entrants to the major tournament scene include the Emerald Casino, Dundalk, who will host The North of Ireland Masters from 12th to 14th December. The main event has a €500 + 50 entry fee. Check out the Emerald Casino website for full details.

Another new entry is the grandly titled Leprechaun European Poker Open due to be held in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Northwood, near Dublin Airport, from 27th to 29th December. The main event buy-in is a modest 275 dollars (inc. reg.) but the event has a 50,000 Euro guaranteed prize pool. Registration is online only at www.leprechaunpoker.com Special room rates have been negotiated and can be booked, using “leprechaun poker” as the promotion code at the four star Crown Plaza. The rates are €85 for a single room or €95 for a double. Rooms at the nearby three star Express by Holiday Inn are available for €69 per night.


Tournaments already announced for next year include the Lakes of Killarney Hold’em Festival in the Killarney Heights Hotel from 29th January to 1st February. Organised by Cue Club Events in conjunction with Bruce Poker.com, the main event has a buy-in of €500 + 50.

The second European Deep Stack Poker Championship is scheduled for 5th to 8th February in the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin. The main event buy-in is €1,500 + 150, up from €1,400 + 100 last year. There will be one starting day for all players this time instead of the two day start which operated in 2008. Full details can be found at Green Joker Poker’s website.


Paddy Power Poker has announced the dates for the 2009 Open as 9th to 13th April. The main event buy-in has been reduced to €3,200 + 300. The venue is yet to be confirmed but it seems likely that it will again be held in the City West Hotel, Dublin. Online qualifiers are already running and Paddy Power has announced that the longest lasting qualifier from their poker site will win a €100,000 package made up of tournament entries and cash. Full details can be found on the paddypowerpoker.com website.


Congratulations to non playing captain, Len Collin and his Irish team on their recent victory in Brighton in the APAT European Team Championship.

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 mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Wednesday 5 November 2008


By Mick McCloskey

What recession? As I write this piece in the second week of October the news is dominated by items about the crisis in the banking sector, the credit crunch and the news that the Irish economy is officially in recession with the UK and American economies probably heading the same way. However, I have just returned from a trip to the Ladbrokes poker festival in Killarney and recession seemed to be the last thing anyone there was thinking about. There was plenty of cash action and all the tournaments were sold out, with the main event setting new records in Ireland and the UK and every tournament having a waiting list of eager punters waiting to step in as alternates. The buy-ins may have been fairly affordable in poker terms with the main event costing €550. At much the same time, some of the biggest tournaments in Europe were taking place or had just finished. These included the WSOPE and the London leg of the EPT with buy-ins which included £5,000, £10,000 and £20,000. For events with this level of buy-in, there seemed to be no shortage of takers. It seems that recession is the last thing on the minds of poker players. It is said that the casino and gaming industry is one of the few that is recession proof and the events of the last few weeks seem to bear this theory out. However, it is generally accepted by economists that harder times seem to be just around the corner as the credit crunch begins to bite and some people are likely to lose their jobs. This could have a knock on effect in the poker community as there may be less new money being introduced. It will be interesting to watch how things pan out in the poker world in the coming months and years as some people may find a better home for any spare cash than plonking it down on a poker table. I fully expect the poker industry to survive but numbers may be down in future as reality bites.


I reported here a few months ago that Padraig Parkinson had been sponsored by Poker Trillion. As it turned out this was a temporary arrangement to cover the 2008 WSOP. I am happy to report that Padraig has now found a more permanent backer in the form of Irish based bookmakers and poker site Boyle Sports. Padraig tells me that he has signed a one year deal with Boyle Poker and joins Irish Open Champion Marty Smyth in representing Boyle poker on the international circuit.
“I’m obviously delighted to be joining a top flight poker team such as Boyle Poker” said Parkinson.
Paul Spillane, head of poker at Boyle Sports, said, “Padraig’s talent both on and off the felt speaks for itself. He is a tremendous ambassador for the game, an extraordinary player, and we’re extremely lucky and proud that he will be representing Boyle Poker at the world’s biggest poker tournaments.”


The Party Poker Irish Championship Tour continues with events as follows:-

November 14/15 - Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
November 22/23 - South Court Hotel, Limerick
December 4/5/6 - Gold Club Casino, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
December 12/13/14 - Red Cow Hotel, Dublin

These are a series of qualifying tournaments producing tickets and cash prizes in the run up to the Party Poker Irish Poker Championship in Galway at the start of January 2009. Each leg of the tour will have €2,000 added money and a good structure, 10,000 starting chips and 45 minute levels run over two days. The buy-in is €350
Party Poker are running online satellites and free rolls for main event tickets. For full details log onto Party Poker or www.pokerevents.ie


There are a number of tournaments coming up, some unfortunately clashing. In a change of dates, the North of Ireland Masters moves to December 12/13/14 at the Emerald Casino, Dundalk.

Bruce Poker will be holding a Launch Festival from 14th to 16th November at the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin. The festival kicks off with a €120 (€15 reg. Included) tournament with one €50 re-buy or add on. A pot of €10,000 is guaranteed along with €5,000 cash and a €2,500 trip to Las Vegas added. The €250 (€30 reg. Included) main event has a €25,000 guarantee and also has €5,000 cash and a €2,500 trip to Vegas added. The festival finishes with a Freeroll with €5,000 cash and a trip to a Man. Utd. Champions League game added. One €50 re-buy or add on is allowed in this event. The whole thing sounds like excellent value to me. Early Christmas presents from Bruce Poker.

The Wexford Poker Festival is set to take place from 4th to 7th December at the Quay Casino, Wexford. The main two day event has a €1,000 + 100 entry fee. For further details log onto www.quaycasino.com


The Irish Christmas Poker Festival takes place at the Macau Club from 27th to 30th November. It kicks off with a €150 + 15 super satellite with 6 main event tickets guaranteed. The three day main event starts on Friday 28th and has a €100,000 guaranteed prize pool. The buy-in is €1,000 + 80. The festival continues with a €300 + 30 Double Chance event and finishes with a €225 + €25 Scalp + €25 reg. Freezeout. Super satellites for all tournaments will be held in the early afternoon before each one. Online qualifiers are also available on Betfairpoker.com.


Congratulations to Galway’s Fintan Gavin for his great performance and runner up finish at the EPT main event. Although officially second, Fintan took home the lion’s share of the prize money, after a three way deal.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Tuesday 7 October 2008


By Mick McCloskey

I was in Dublin recently to play in the Party Poker.com Irish Poker Championship Tour Event at the Fitzwilliam Club. More about that later. I found myself at a loose end after I managed to run my pocket Queens straight into pocket Jacks, so I took a walk round to Merrion Square. As I passed Cool Hand Luke’s, formerly The Merrion Casino, a lot of memories came flooding back. Probably the reason for this nostalgia is that the place is now closed up, probably for good, as a casino/poker club. The place was the home of The Irish Open and The Irish Winter Festival at Easter and Halloween for a long time.
I remember one of those festivals in particular for a big Pot Limit Omaha cash game that took place a few years back. Pot Limit Omaha was the game of choice for cash in Dublin at the time and had been for a lot of years. Some of the best players in Ireland at the time cut their teeth in the Omaha cash games. This did not deter my mate, “Mad” Marty Wilson, from having a go. After all, Omaha is just like gambling, right? And gambling was what Marty was good at. The man had no fear. Marty did not play very much in cash games in those days. He always told me that this was because he didn’t like taking money directly from his friends. A tournament was a different matter and everybody was fair game. Anyway, on this particular night, Marty’s scruples had been blunted somewhat by a small intake of alcohol and a big surplus of money, or was it the other way around? Anyway, Marty sat down in the game and bought enough chips to cover the biggest stack at the table. He then proceeded to play every hand totally blind! When the betting got to him he would raise the pot. If there had been a raise before it got to him he would re-raise the pot. Inevitably all the chips would be in the middle before or after the flop. When all the cards were dealt, Marty would turn over his unseen hand to reveal a winner. After doing this a couple of times, he now had enough chips to withstand a losing hand as the guys were normally re-buying for 1,000 chips at a time, Euros or Irish pounds, I can’t quite remember which. This went on for a while. Marty was destroying the game and pretty much had all the guys on tilt. He had a huge mound of chips, with all the denominations mixed up, scattered around in front of him. All of a sudden, Marty announced that he was done and got up to leave. He turned to me and said “Mick, will you look after my chips, I will see you tomorrow.” Somewhat stunned, I agreed and with the help of one of the Merrion doormen, gathered up the chips. Neither Marty nor I had any idea how much was there. Myself and the doorman took the chips down to the cash desk where I did a rough count to establish that there were around 10,000 in chips. I certainly did not want to take cash for such a large amount so the cashier agreed to put the lot in a sealed package and store it overnight in the casino safe. The next day I turned up deliberately late for the tournament. I peeked around the corner of the street to see Marty pacing up and down outside the casino with a slightly worried look on his face. I don’t think he had any real worries about his money, but perhaps some second thoughts were starting to creep in.
So, is Omaha a game of luck or skill? I certainly don’t recommend that you try playing like this but the outcome certainly gives you something to think about.



I gave some details of the Party Poker.com Irish Poker Championship Tour in my last column. This is a series of money added tournaments taking place around the country in the run up to the Championship weekend in Galway in January 2009. I have now played in two of these Tour events, each with a 320 + 30 entry fee and each with €2,000 added. The tournament is run over two days and the structure is excellent, with a 10,000 starting stack and 45 minute levels. There have been a couple of changes to the tour schedule and the revised dates and venues are as follows:-

October 16th/17th/18th - Macau Casino, Cork
November 14th/15th - Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
November 22nd/23rd - South Court Hotel, Limerick
December 4th/5th/6th - Gold Club Casino, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
December 12th/13th/14th - Red Cow Hotel, Dublin

For full details of past and future Tour events, log onto www.pokerevents.ie
In addition, Party Poker are running three online free rolls for IPC Main event tickets. To be eligible to play in these free rolls, you need to sign up for a Party Poker account using the bonus code, IRELAND. You can do this by clicking onto Party Poker through this website.

The International Open takes place in The Regency Airport Hotel, Dublin from 17th to 19th October. You can only enter this €150 event by opening an account through the sponsor’s poker site, Boyle Sports.com The sponsor has also announced that they are adding 20% of all registered players rake directly into the prize pool. Not only that, but they are adding €20,000 to this event. Boylesports are bringing a number of poker VIPs from the UK (Channing, Frazer, Sunar etc) and Ireland. A full range of side events, music, a late bar, fun and training with Marty Smyth is also planned. This event set new records last year with 1,072 players turning up to play.

Online satellites are currently running for the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival, to be held in the City West Hotel, Dublin, from 25th to 27th October. The three day main event has a buy-in of €1,500 + 150 with two support events, a €200 + 20 re-buy tournament and a €500 + 50 Freeze-out. The weekend kicks off on Friday 24th with a €150 super satellite, with re-buys, for seats in the main event.

The Emerald Casino, Dundalk has announced details of the first North of Ireland Masters Tournament from 21st to 23rd November. The main event entry is €500 + 50. Full details can be found on Emerald Casinos website.


The Macau Club, Cork, has just released details of their next festival, the Irish Christmas Poker Festival from 27th to 30th November. The festival kicks off with a €150 super satellite for seats in the main event, with 6 seats guaranteed. The main event is a three day affair with a buy-in of €1,000 + 80 and a guaranteed prize pool of €100,000. A €300 + 30 double chance event runs for two days from 29th. The final support event is a €225 + 25 + 25 Scalps tournament. Betfair.com are running satellites online for the main event.
If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Tuesday 9 September 2008

WSOP 2008

WSOP 2008
By Mick McCloskey

Although we won’t know the outcome of the main event until November, the rest of this year’s annual poker frenzy has come to a conclusion. The big result for the Irish was, of course, Marty Smyth’s massive win in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Marty triumphed against a tough international field of 381 players to pick up his first WSOP bracelet and a first prize just short of $860,000. Congratulations to Marty, who has just had a string of results in the last year and a half most players can only dream about. There was double Irish interest in the final table as Dublin man Tom Hanlon also made it through and finished in 7th spot for around $134,000. Tom also cashed in the WSOP main event to complete a pretty good trip.
Top of the Irish in this year’s main event was a young man I must admit I don’t know or really know anything about. All I can tell you is that he comes from Dublin and finished in 71st spot for $96,500. His only previous published result was an 11th place finish for €270 in the 2008 National Student Poker Championship in Dublin. He has certainly graduated to a higher class with this result.
Other notable results came from Chris Rentes from Kinnegad and John O’Shea from Dublin. Chris finished 4th in the $1,500 Limit/No Limit tournament for just over $69,000. John came 5th in the $2,500 No Limit event for a payday of $99,000. Well done to both.
Andy Black notched up the most cashes of the Irish, placing in the money three times for around $50,000.
Congratulations to all the other Irish players who cashed in WSOP 2008.

Notable quotes heard at this year’s WSOP

On meeting up with Marty Smyth in the Rio Casino a couple of days after his big win I congratulated him and asked him where the bracelet was. Marty replied “Uhhh, Paddy O’Conner has it ..... I think”

George McKeever, who is over 70 years of age and has been playing poker successfully for over 50 years, after cashing in this year’s main event. “I really learned a lot in this tournament. I need to play with a new strategy”


Irish Poker Events and Party Poker.com have announced details of an Irish Poker Tour leading up to the Irish Poker Championship in January 2009. To their credit, Party Poker.com are putting their money where their mouth is and are adding €20,000 to the Tour. Each of the eight legs of the countrywide tour will have €2,000 added with an additional €4,000 being put up for a special league based on performances on the tour as a whole. In the remaining six legs of the tour the top five will win seats to the Championship event. The buy-in for each tour event will be €320 + 30 and each will have a support event, also qualifying for the Tour League, with a buy-in of €200 + 20.
Party Poker.com will also be running online satellites for Championship seats.
Dates and venues for the IPC Tour are as follows:-

September 6th/7th - Fitzwilliam Card Club, Dublin
October 17th/18th - Macau Casino, Cork
November 14th/15th – Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
November 22nd/23rd – South Court Hotel, Limerick
December 4th/5th/6th – Gold Club Casino, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
December 12th/13th/14th - Red Cow Hotel, Dublin

The Championship weekend itself kicks off with a super satellite in the Eglinton Casino, Galway on New Years Day. The three day Championship main event starts in the Radisson Hotel, Galway on Friday 2nd January and will be recorded for a series of television shows. The buy-in for the main event remains at €2,000. A total of 298 runners turned up in the middle of a snow storm for the last Irish Poker Championship so the organisers are hoping for an entry of over 400 for 2009. Lat year’s Champion, Jude Ainsworth from Galway, picked up €145,000 for top spot.


Another sponsorship deal has been announced. Nicky Power, from Waterford, has been given a deal by a new entrant into the Irish internet poker scene, Brucepoker.com. Nicky made the final table at the 2007 Irish Open and has many other good results to his credit. Good luck to both Nicky and Brucepoker.com.

The next big event in the calendar takes place in the INEC, Killarney from 2nd to 5th October. Ladbrokes.com, in conjunction with Big Slick Events and The Cue Club, Killarney, are guaranteeing a €250,000 prize pool for the Killarney Poker Festival. The buy-in for the three day main event is €500 + 50 and support events at €300 and €170 will also be held over the weekend. The festival will kick off on Thursday 2nd October with a €50 + 10 super satellite, with one re-buy or top up, guaranteeing 20 seats to the main event. Online satellites are already running on Ladbrokes poker.com. For full details, check out the Ladbrokes poker or Big Slick Events websites

For the smaller bank roll, pokerireland.ie and Boylesports.com are running the second International Open at the Regency Airport Hotel, Dublin from 17th to 19th October. The buy-in is a modest €150 but the numbers taking part are anything but modest. This event set new records last year with 1,072 players turning up to play. For further details, check out their two websites.

Paddy Power Poker.com, in association with the Jackpot Club, are gearing up for the Irish Winter Festival to be held in the Citywest Hotel, Dublin from 25th to 27th October. The three day main event has a buy-in of €1500 + 150 with two support events. The first is a €200 + 20 event with re-buys for 90 minutes and the final event is a €500 + 50 freezeout. 0nline satellites are already running on paddypowerpoker.com and on other sites on the ipoker network, including greenjokerpoker and bluesquarepoker. For full details, check out the paddypower website.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com
You can also check out my website www.pokerinireland.net for archive articles, Irish poker news and links to Irish poker rooms.

Tuesday 5 August 2008



By Mick McCloskey

I have just got back from the WSOP in Las Vegas and will bring you more on that subject and on the Irish success stories in my next column. However, I can’t possibly complete this one without congratulating Marty Smyth on his stunning victory in the World Championship $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Well done Champ.


They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. After a few recent experiences, I don’t really want to look at any part of a horse. Me and horses have never really got on. I remember many years ago backing the winner in the Grand National but, apart from that, my winning bets have been few and far between. Happily betting on horses is a very occasional vice for me. Really the only time I get involved is when I get what I consider to be a reliable tip. Even then there is no guarantee. I remember quite a few years ago flying into Dublin on my way home from the WSOP and happened to be on the same flight as WSOP champion, Noel Furlong. Noel’s horse betting coups are legendary and he was an owner as well as a punter. He gave me the name of one of his horses that was running that afternoon and he assured me it had every chance of winning. As well as having a bet myself, I passed on the information to a couple of friends back home. They in turn passed on the name of the horse to a few others. I wasn’t too popular back home when this horse came nowhere.
More recently, while playing a tournament in Dublin, a friend of mine convinced me to have a bet on another great hope. A little more success here as it led the whole way only to lose by a nose in a photo finish. My last, and hopefully final, experience in equine matters came at a poker tournament in Co. Waterford. It just happened to be Friday the 13th and I had just finished a meal with a friend. We were leaving the restaurant when we happened to bump into a fellow poker player and bookie. Now I have never asked this guy for a tip nor has he ever offered one before but, on this occasion, he told me that he had taken a big bet from the owner of a horse which was due to run in an evening race within about 5 minutes. He told us that the horse had come in from a 14-1 shot that morning and was now quoted at 6-1 second favourite. As there just happened to be a bookies shop right across the street, we decided to have a punt. As the race was going out live on TV, we waited around to watch the outcome. Things didn’t get off to a very good start when the jockey managed to fall off the horse on the starting line. Having given the rest of the field a 100 yard head start, it was of little consolation that the jockey managed to re-mount and finish the race in 8th place. There were no prizes for 8th spot that day.
So, horses and me are officially finished. They can go their way and I will go mine. No more tips please and, if you ever see me in a bookmakers with a betting slip in hand, please feel free to remind me of this statement.


The Irish Classic Poker Festival at the Macau Club Cork runs from 11th to 17th August. It includes a Ladies event and a Super Satellite for seats in the WSOP Europe as well as the main three day event. The main event starts on Friday 15th August with a buy-in of €1,500 + 100 and features a 15,000 starting stack and 75 minute levels with a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000. Always a well run event, don’t miss this one.

Online satellites are currently running for two other Irish tournaments scheduled for October. These are for the Killarney Festival on Ladbrokes Poker and for the Irish Winter Festival in Dublin on Paddy Power Poker. More details about both of these events in the next issue.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Monday 14 July 2008


By Mick McCloskey

For a long time now, I’ve been at a loss to explain why so few Irish poker players were getting sponsorship deals. Ireland has consistently been setting new records for tournament entries over the last few years. I would imagine that the large turnouts have been reflected in the numbers playing online as well. It looks like Ireland’s enthusiasm for poker has finally been recognised by some of the online poker rooms. I recently reported that Marty Smyth has signed a deal with Boyle Sports Poker. Two further deals have recently been announced. Ireland’s largest bookmaker, Paddy Power, has finally opened the purse strings and splashed out on a deal to sponsor WSOP bracelet winner, Ciaran O’Leary. Although Ciaran lives in the USA and Paddy Power do not accept American customers, the popular Cork man has been playing in some of the larger Irish events lately and will no doubt be making more regular trips back home to Ireland. Ciaran is a very popular and able player and will be an excellent ambassador for Paddy Power worldwide.
It has also been reported that Poker Trillion will sponsor Padraig Parkinson. What can I say about Padraig that hasn’t been said before? Well, a few things actually but they will have to wait for another day! Padraig has one of the sharpest wits in Irish poker and this is well reflected in his various magazine articles and internet blogs and in his numerous TV commentaries, helping to keep Jesse May amused in the commentary box. I wish Marty, Ciaran and Padraig every success in their various deals.

Although not many individual Irish players have been sponsored, there seems to be plenty of interest shown by various internet poker sites in sponsoring tournaments and festivals in Ireland. Paddy Power, Betfair and Ladbrokes, among others, are regulars on the Irish Poker scene. It now looks like Bodog are taking an interest in Ireland. Having sponsored the Waterford Open in June, it seems that they may come in to sponsor more events in the future. Welcome to Ireland, Bodog.


As I write this piece, the World Series is well under way in Las Vegas. By the time you read it, all the events will have been completed, apart from the $10,000 main event which now has a completion date in November! Many Irish players are already in Vegas trying their luck and I wish them all the best. I will be joining them shortly. There is no news yet of any final tables with an Irish interest although there have been some minor cashes by Irish players. Hopefully there will be many more to come.


Dublin’s Colossus Club has gone to 24 hour operation. They will be holding a €100 cash game at 10 pm every Saturday night in a private room upstairs. The game is for sober players only with free food available. Any player with a good tank will be directed upstairs so there will be a steady stream of fresh players coming into the game. For further details, call 01 478 5858 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01 478 5858 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The Sporting Emporium Casino in Dublin is holding a €400 + 40 freeze-out on Saturday 19th July with a 10,000 starting stack and 40 minute levels. For further information call the poker room on 01 703 0600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01 703 0600 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or check out their website.


Also in August comes the popular Irish Classic Festival at the Macau Club in Cork. Running from Monday 11th August to Sunday 17th, the festival features a three day main event with a buy-in of €1,500 + 100 along with a full schedule of support events and satellites. The main event will feature a very player friendly 15,000 starting stack and 75 minute levels and has a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000. A host of well known visiting players are expected including WSOPE £1 million winner, Annette Obrestad. So, if you want a shot at playing against the mini girl wonder, make your plans for Cork now. Numbers are capped at 200 so book now to be sure of a place at the tables. For those interested in taking part in a much bigger event, a super satellite for the 2008 WSOPE will be part of the festival at the Macau. The event sponsors, Betfair, are running online satellites for the Irish Classic Festival now. Green Joker Poker are also running online satellites for the main event. For further information, check out the Macau Club website.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Saturday 7 June 2008



By Mick McCloskey

First things first. I just can’t wait to share my good news. I am as happy as a footballer, lacking a sick parrot and with access to a space vehicle travelling to the moon. I have just won an online package to this year’s WSOP. I will be heading to Vegas towards the end of June along with thousands of other hopeful punters. Unlike many of the others, I will have access to the Ladbrokes Lounge in The Rio, a big plus for any player taking part in the main event. The Lounge is close to the playing area and has lots of useful facilities for Ladbrokes qualifiers and their guests. It’s almost like a home from home, a friendly haven for the duration. I’m looking forward to meeting up with old, and new, acquaintances in Las Vegas. To all the Irish players going to the WSOP, I wish you all the very best. Enjoy.


At the recent JP Poker Irish Masters tournament in Dublin I met an Irish couple who run regular poker tournaments in their pub in Gran Canaria. Derek Watson and his partner, Deborah, own The Irish Fiddler in Arguinigan and had organised satellite games to bring some of their customers to Dublin for the weekend. In all, ten of them made the trip to Ireland. One of them though almost didn’t make it and arrived a full day after the rest of the party. The group had flown from Gran Canaria to Madrid to get a connecting flight to Dublin. As they were going through the police control point one of them was pulled to the side for further enquiries. It turned out that he had a four year old unpaid parking or traffic fine amounting to €150. Despite offers to pay the fine and any other penalties in cash there and then, the guilty party was marched off to the prison cells, where he spent the night. He was released the next day, after settling his outstanding fine, and travelled on to join up with the rest of the group. So, if you are planning to travel to and from Spain, don’t forget to pay off any debts to the state before you leave the country. For anyone going for a break in Gran Canaria, if you fancy a little poker in the surrounds of an Irish bar, you can contact The Irish Fiddler by email to derekwatson1@eircom.net


I have just heard that the televised final of the Party Poker World Open has come to an interesting conclusion. The six seater final table ended in a heads up match between current Irish Open Champion, Neil Channing and his predecessor, 2007 Irish Open Champion, Marty Smyth. In the interests of those who want to watch the television programme when it comes to our screens, I will not reveal which Champion came out on top. Congratulations to both of them for getting to that position.


In what is reported as an amicable parting of the ways, Blonde Poker will no longer be involved with Big Slick Events in running Irish based tournaments. The event planned for The Majestic Hotel, Tramore, Co. Waterford will go ahead as planned from 12th to 15th June with a new sponsor in the form of internet poker site, Bodog. The €550 three day main event has a guarantee of €50,000 which I am sure will be well surpassed. For full details, check out the Big Slick Events website.

The Gold Club in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal are to run their first ever Summer Festival from 3rd to 6th July. This will be a European ranking event with a €540 buy-in, a 15,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels. The festival will kick off with a €50 super satellite with re-buys, on Thursday evening. The main event will start on Friday evening with smaller support events being held on Saturday and Sunday. Satellites for seats to this event are available on Green Joker Poker. For further information, log onto www.goldclubcasino.ie or call 00353 7491 28707 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 00353 7491 28707 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The Irish Classic Poker Festival is scheduled to run in The Macau Club, Cork from 11th to 17th August. The €1,500 + 100 three day main event has a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000. Check with your local club for live satellites. Watch out for online satellites on Betfair Poker and on Green Joker Poker. For further details, check out the Macau Club website.

Big Slick Events, in association with Cue Club Events and Ladbrokes Poker, have announced details of the €250,000 guaranteed Killarney Poker Festival to be held from 2nd to 5th October at the INEC, Killarney. The Festival will kick off with a €50 +10 super satellite on Thursday 2nd October with 20 main event tickets guaranteed. The €550 three day main event will have a 15,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels. €300 and €170 support events will also be held. For full details, log onto www.bigslickevents.net.

If you have any news, views or events you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Thursday 8 May 2008


By Mick McCloskey

Congratulations to Neil Channing, 2008 Irish Open Champion.
The Open was as good as ever this year and maybe even better than before. However I did notice the absence of a number of regular players from past events and I have to put this down to the increased cost of the buy-in. The numbers were down on last year and Paddy Power had to stump up an extra €200,000 to cover the guarantee, and fair play to them for doing so.
It takes a good man, or organisation, to admit to a mistake but I think that Paddy Power have learned something from this year and are big enough to do something about it. I hear that they are considering a reduction in the buy-in next year, back to something in the region of 3,000 to 3,500 euro but, and this is the best part, maintaining the guarantee at €3 million!! This would be an excellent deal if it comes to pass and, I believe, would attract a bigger field in 2009.
I will give credit to Paddy Power where credit is due but I still have a major problem with their payout structure for the main event. I have aired my views before about the lower end prizes and will keep on doing so until things change. At present, the Irish Open is the only major tournament I can think of in which players can make the money and not make any profit on their investment. 72 players were paid this year and those who placed 72nd to 64th got exactly their entry money back. I think this is unacceptable as players in these positions will have played their hearts out for a full two days to reach this stage and will probably have run up substantial bills for travel, accommodation and food and drinks. To make the money in the Irish Open is quite an achievement and certainly deserves more reward than the mere return of the player’s entry fee. There is nothing I would love more than to give the Paddy Power Irish Open a totally excellent review but the payout structure is a major sticking point for me. Please Paddy Power, have a look at it, think about it, discuss it and see if you can come up with something better in the future. I think it is only fair.


It has been announced that last years Irish Open Champion, Marty Smyth, has secured a sponsorship deal with Boylesportspoker.com for the rest of this year. Congratulations to Marty. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.


The Irish poker tournament calendar is rapidly filling up with the announcement of more major events.
It looks like the end of the road for the European Poker Tour in Ireland. Paddy Power Poker, in conjunction with The Jackpot Club in Dublin, have announced details of the Irish Winter Festival over the Halloween bank holiday weekend from 25th to 27th October, the traditional time for the EPT event. The venue is the City West Hotel and the main event is a €1,500 + 150 three day NLH tournament, with two smaller support events. Online satellites for a main event package are already underway on paddypowerpoker.com
I spoke to EPT founder, John Duthie, who confirmed that Ireland will not figure in next season’s EPT schedule. John said that this did not preclude a return to Ireland for the EPT in the future. Finding his own silver lining in the situation, John told me “At least now I can have a lot more fun when I come to Ireland as I can come to play rather than to work”

Details have been announced of the May Festival at The Sporting Emporium in Dublin, a week of tournaments and satellites culminating in a €1,000 + 100 three day main event. The structure looks good with a 15,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels on day one, increasing to 90 minute levels for days two and three. The Emporium has also announced a WSOP satellite for Saturday 14th June with a buy-in of 150 +15 and one re-buy or top up. One package will be awarded for each €10,000 in the prize pool. A cash alternative to the WSOP package will be available. For further details, check out the Sporting Emporium website.

Then comes the Blonde Poker Summer Festival, in association with Big Slick Events, being held in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, Co. Waterford from 12th to 15th June. The main event has a buy-in of €550 and a guaranteed prize pool of €50,000. At the time of writing, 180 seats have already been reserved so it looks like this three day tournament will pay out nearly double the guarantee. For full details or to reserve a seat, check out the Blonde Poker or Big Slick Events websites.

The ever popular Macau Club in Cork has announced dates for the week long Irish Classic Poker Festival. It will run from 11th to 17th August. The three day main event, with a buy-in of €1,500 + 100, has a guaranteed payout of €150,000. The festival will also include a ladies event and a team event. Details of online and live satellites will be announced later.

Big Slick Events, in association with Cue Club Events, has announced details of another well structured three day tournament at the Gleneagles Hotel, Killarney from 2nd to 5th October. The festival will be sponsored by Ladbrokes. For full details, log onto www.bigslickevents.net

If you have any news, views or events you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Monday 7 April 2008

VEGAS 2008

VEGAS 2008
By Mick McCloskey

I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas and bring news of what visiting poker players can expect during this year’s WSOP. The tournament is, as usual, being held in the Rio Casino but this year organisers will do away with the hot and heavy temporary pavilion and will open up more of the interior convention space for extra playing areas. Also at the Rio, regulars may be alarmed to hear that the “Tilted Kilt” bar is no more. It has been replaced by an Irish themed bar called “McFadden’s”
The huge new city centre development beside the Bellagio is gradually taking shape and will probably be completed before the end of the year. This comprises a mix of commercial, retail and residential property. Other building nearing completion are new hotel towers at the Wynn and the Venetian. When completed, this will make the Venetian the biggest hotel in the World. Onwards and upwards.

Interesting developments are taking place Downtown and many of the smaller “rollers” may want to make their base there to take advantage of the more realistic prices for food, drinks and accommodation. There will certainly be plenty of poker action as both the Golden Nugget and Binions have announced details of a series of poker tournaments to be held during the WSOP. Indeed, Binions could be regarded as having a mini WSOP as their events are based on the WSOP programme. The main difference being that Binions tournaments run the day before the WSOP events and are 10% of the WSOP buy-in. The Golden Nugget tournaments range from $200 to £1,000 and include HORSE and Omaha events being held in a convention room containing 50 tables. The action will be 24 hour, spread over a month from 6th June. Also new at the Nugget is a bar and night club called “Gold Diggers” which has an outdoor balcony area overlooking Fremont Street. Fremont itself seems to be buzzing with activity and is pulling in the crowds with outdoor shows and music every night, in addition to the usual light shows of the Fremont Street Experience.

Other news is that Binions has been taken over by the owners of the neighbouring 4 Queens Casino. The word is that they intend to either renovate the whole place or raze it to the ground and start from scratch. Either way, big changes are in the pipeline.


I went to the Wynn one day to play one of their tournaments. I’m only in the place about five minutes when I run into Keith “The Camel” Hawkins, who tells me that he is thinking of giving up poker to take on a new challenge. But not just yet as he had signed up for the tournament as well! I have just settled into my seat in the tournament when another well known face sits down at my table. It is none other than “Big Al” Kelleher, all the way from Cork, who is in town for a few weeks with his buddy, Jim Kelleher. There are over 300 runners in this tournament and he lands on my table? Our American table mates must have wondered what language we were using to speak to each other after our unexpected meeting. Down at Binions I ran into a couple from Edinburgh, who I had first met in the same place a couple of years ago. Also in Binions, slumming it for a night away from his suite at the Wynn, I ran into Dave O’Neill and his wife. Dave was formerly a partner in the Jackpot and Merrion Clubs in Dublin and is currently tournament director for the Irish Open. A small world indeed.


JP Poker has announced details of The Irish Masters tournament to be held in the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin from 2nd to 5th May. The main event has a buy-in of €750. Full details can be found at www.jppoker.ie

The Waterford Open takes place in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, Co. Waterford from 12th to 15th June. The tournament is being run by Big Slick Events and Blonde Poker. If there is enough demand for the main €500 event, the tournament nay be extended to include an extra starting day. For up to date details, check out either the Big Slick or Blonde Poker website.

The Macau Club has announce the dates for this year’s Irish Poker Classic in Cork. The festival will run from 11th to 17th August. The main event will have a two day start, a buy-in of €1,500 and a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000. Further details will be published in future issues.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Friday 7 March 2008


By Mick McCloskey

I’ve been playing tournament poker in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA for quite a few years now. During my travels I have met and got to know many of the regular players on tour. With the huge growth of poker in the last two or three years, fuelled by the internet and televised events, it has become harder and harder to keep track of the new players coming onto the scene. This is no bad thing and I am certainly not complaining. The new younger players have brought a fresh attitude to the game of No Limit Hold’em which, to my mind, has changed the whole approach to modern tournament poker. To me, one of the driving forces behind these changes has been the success of John Duthie’s brain child, The European Poker Tour, supported from it’s inception by Poker Stars.com. I have been following the live updates from the latest EPT in Dortmund, Germany. I believe that Germany is a major growth area for live and online poker right now and this was reflected in the large number of local players who took part. Looking through the player list for Irish, British and European names that I recognised, I was not having much success. When the tournament got down to the final table, any of the few names that I did recognise had been eliminated. The new order had taken over. The only finalist who had any previous form, in the way of recorded live results more than a couple of months old, was Claudio Rinaldi from Switzerland. Indeed, I believe that some of the finalists were playing in their first live tournament! The winner of almost a million Euros, Canadian Mike McDonald, has barely finished celebrating his 18th birthday.
With the increased buy-in to EPT events, I suppose that this was bound to happen. Most of the regulars I know have been priced out of these tournaments and the field has been left open for the handful of sponsored players, the internet whizz kids and the well heeled recreational players. Even trying to qualify online for these events has become an expensive and time consuming business. I know many players who played in Seasons 1 and 2 of the EPT, who have now basically lost interest in the whole thing. The fact that it is now cheaper to play in the main event of the WSOP in Las Vegas is perhaps a telling factor.

With the Irish Open coming up this month, expected to set new records, I hope that the organisers have done with increasing the entry fee, for the time being. One of the attractions of the Irish Open has always been the social side of things. Over the years it has become an annual meeting place for all serious, and some not so serious, Irish players. The amount of the buy-in has always been within reach for the majority of the regulars. However, the buy-in has increased three fold since 2004 and is beginning to squeeze some of the long time participants. The growth of the Irish Open under the sponsorship of Paddy Power.com has been amazing. I feel that there is a fine balance between growing the Irish Open into a major international event and keeping the original feel of the tournament as Ireland’s favourite national poker event. Perhaps that point has been reached. I, for one, would not like to see the Open going the way of the EPT, where I struggle to find anyone I actually know playing in some of the heats. I think that the numbers playing in the Dublin heat of the EPT last October, where only one Irish player made the money and none made the final table, and the numbers expected to play this month in the Open, will tell their own story. Please Paddy Power.com, don’t let the Irish Open go the way of the EPT in Ireland. Keep it real.


The Munster Poker Tour, in association with Irish Eyes Poker, organised the Lakes of Killarney Festival in January. The €500 main event attracted 163 runners and paid out €81,500. Noel Magnier from Cork took €19,000 with Adam Fallon from Dublin getting €17,000. Third spot and€10,000 went to Eoin Dixon from Cork. Congratulations to all who cashed in this event.

For anyone out there who has been living in a cave, The Irish Open takes place in the City West Hotel, Dublin, from 19th to 24th March.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Sunday 3 February 2008


Cork is an interesting city. It’s partly built on the side of a hill overlooking the River Lee and must have some of the steepest streets in Ireland, outside of Derry City. I just love my visits to the city for the poker festivals at the Macau Club. However, it is not like other Irish cities I have been to. For a start, it has its own dialect which is pretty much like a foreign language to most visitors. I find myself nodding and smiling a lot when some of the locals are talking to me. For visitors from the UK or Europe it must be even more difficult to communicate with the locals. The city centre has its fair share of shops and pubs, much the same as most Irish cities. Walking around however, I noticed a marked difference in the type of some of the premises. There seem to be more traditional barber shops in the city, offering a full cut throat razor shaving service, than any where else I have ever been to. I was also amazed at the number of music shops I came across in the city centre area. When I say music shops I don’t mean record or CD shops. I mean shops selling a full variety of musical instruments. They are everywhere. Cork must have some of the most well groomed and best equipped musicians in Ireland!
The last time I visited, I booked one of those cheap flight deals and flew in from Dublin. The parking charge at Dublin airport cost more than the flight. Flying into Cork, you land at one of the most modern and attractive airport terminals in Ireland. The people at Dublin airport must be green with envy. I’m not sure of the relationship between the people of Dublin and Cork and how they view each other these days. All I can tell you is that when the flight from Cork arrived back in Dublin, all the passengers had to proceed through passport control and Customs. What does that tell you? And there was me thinking that Cork and Dublin were part of the same country. Didn’t I tell you that Cork was different!


So, who is it gonna be? Where is it gonna be? Who will be first to organise a reasonably priced HORSE tournament in Europe? I know that there was one in London this year as part of the WSOPE but that was hardly in the reasonable price range. Are you, like me, getting a little jaded with all the No Limit Hold’em tournaments on offer around Europe? Would you like a bit of a challenge in trying to master the mixed games contained in HORSE? The games are all played with limit betting and consist of rounds or levels of Hold’em, Omaha high low eight or better, Razz (Seven Stud lowball), Seven Card Stud and Stud high low eight or better. Whoever decides to take the plunge and try something different during their 2008 festival, please reserve a seat for me.


Big Slick Events and Blonde Poker continue their collaboration in promoting poker in Ireland with two events in February. The first is the four day Coursing Festival running from 3rd to 6th at the Minella Hotel in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
Following that, they are organising a team event in the Woodlands Hotel, Waterford from 22nd to 24th February. Each team consists of four players and the buy-in is €210 per player. The players start the tournament with a 10,000 chip stack each. Support events will run on the Saturday, €150 + 20, and on the Sunday with a €100 + 20 freeze-out. More details can be found on the Big Slick or the Blonde Poker websites.


The much anticipated Green Joker Poker European Deep Stack Championships takes place in the Drogheda Poker Club from 2nd to 10th February. Drogheda Co. Louth is about a 20 minute drive north from Dublin Airport. Following six handed NLH and Pot Limit Omaha support events, the main event has a two day start on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th and continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For their €1,400 + 100 entry fee, each player starts with a massive 50,000 chip stack and 60 minute levels, starting at 25-50. Full details can be found on the Green Joker Poker and on the Antes Up websites.


The build up to Ireland’s premier poker event, the Paddy Power Irish Open, continues. Live and online satellites can be found at various venues and sites. The main event is guaranteed to pay out at least €3 million and anything up to 1,000 players, and possibly more, from all over the world, are expected to take part. The action kicks off at the City West Hotel, Dublin, with a €300 super satellite (re-buy) on Wednesday 19th March. Day 1a of the €4,500 main event starts on Thursday 20th with day 1b starting on Friday 21st. Friday also sees the €300 + 30 Ladies Irish Open Tournament. The first support event is a €1,500 + 150 two day freeze-out starting on Saturday 22nd. A €400 + 40 Pot Limit Omaha re-buy starts on Sunday 23rd and the final event is a €300 + 30 Double Chance Scalps (€30) tournament on Monday 24th March. You can register and pay now for the 2008 Irish Open and find full details at http://www.irishpokeropen.com/

If you have any news, views or events you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com

Monday 7 January 2008

Rules R Rules

Rules R Rules
By Mick McCloskey

As I travel around different venues for poker tournaments, I come across all sorts of local rules which vary from place to place. Even the most experienced and attentive players can be caught out. A situation came to my attention recently in a card room, which shall remain anonymous. A player, who for the purpose of this story I will call John, was involved in a No Limit Hold’em cash game. He got into a pot with two other players, holding a pocket pair. The other two players were all in and John had money back. When all the cards on board had been dealt out John waited for the other two players to declare their hands. They both had big cards and both missed the board. John then picked up his cards and turned over his winning pocket pair. One player piped up and declared that John’s hand was dead as it was placed face down “over the line” A ruling was called for and the Floor man ruled the hand dead. Now I know that the ruling should be final but, whatever rules are in force the rule of fairness to the player should always take precedence. To my mind there was a major flaw in this ruling. Because the card room was running a major festival, they had borrowed some card tables to cope with the extra numbers. Their own tables were all of the same design and had a clear action line around the table which was at least 12 inches in front of the players. The borrowed table, on which this incident took place, had a line which had at most a 6 inch space and in some places was only around 4-5 inches in front of the player. With chips placed in front, it was difficult for any player to keep all of their cards behind this line. The visiting player may have had his cards placed face down in front of this line but they were never in the muck or touching any mucked cards. Common sense and fairness should have ensured that John should have won the pot. Until all card rooms adopt a common set of rules, travelling players should, within reason, be aware of local rules. Even the most astute are liable to be caught out some times so be very, very careful.

While on the subject of rules, conformity and common sense, a couple of dealing incidents took place which didn’t make a lot of sense. I was playing in a couple of fast structured satellites when some situations came up. Incident no. 1 came up on a board of 10, J, Q, K. Two players got involved and all the chips ended up in the middle. The cards were turned up and of course each player held an Ace for the top straight. Neither player had a re-draw to a flush or better on the river so the only possible outcome could be a split pot. Despite this, the dealer insisted in counting out and matching up the chips and then pushing them all together into the pot. Then the dealer had to separate and split all the chips between the two players involved. What a waste of time. I saw the same situation occur at another table where two players were all in with A, K each. Surely dealers can be trained to leave the chips separate in these situations. If by chance one player happens to hit a flush the pot can be sorted out afterwards. In most cases, there will be a split pot and it is usually a waste of time to match up and push all the chips into the centre. Maybe the card room managers could do us all a favour and make a New Years resolution to eliminate this time wasting nonsense.


Neill Kelly’s Big Slick Events Company seems to be upping the ante in running reasonably priced poker events outside of the Dublin area in 2008. The first of these takes place, in association with Irish Eyes Poker, from 10th to 13th January. Entitled The Lakes of Killarney Hold’em Festival, the action takes place in the Killarney Avenue Hotel, Co. Kerry and kicks off with a €50 super satellite with one re-buy and one add-on. The three day main event starts on Friday 11th and features a 15,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels. The buy in is €500 + 50. There are two support events costing €200 + 20 and €150 + 20 with the €200 event being played over two days on a 40 minute clock with 10,000 starting chips.
The following month Big Slick moves to Clonmel, Co. Tipperary for the four day Coursing Festival running from 3rd to 6th February. The venue is The Minella Hotel and entry fees range from €100 to €250.
They then move to Waterford for a team event, in association with Blonde Poker. The venue is the Woodlands Hotel and the dates are from 22nd to 24th February. Each team consists of four players and the buy-in is €210 per player.
Further events are planned, including The Irish Series of Poker, featuring a €1,000 main event.
For further details, log onto the Big Slick Events website or Blonde Poker’s website.


Another major event coming up in February is The Green Joker Poker European Deep stack Championship running from 2nd to 10th in the Drogheda Poker Club, about 20miles North of Dublin Airport. Players will start with a massive 50,000 chips with 60 minute levels played over 4 days. The entry fee is €1,400 + 100 and qualifying satellites are running on Green Joker Poker and Bluesqpoker.
There is a full schedule of support events including Short Handed Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha events. The main event is restricted to 300 players and the support events are less than half that number so early booking is recommended. For full details of the schedule and local hotels etc. check out the Green Joker Poker site or the Antes up website.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to mickymccloskey@hotmail.com.