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