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