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 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
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

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