Friday 3 April 2009


By Mick McCloskey

OK, I’ve got a bone to pick and I’m not really sure who I should approach to get a definitive answer. The two separate organisations involved are the ipoker network and My problem relates to the cost of hotel rooms in the City West Hotel, venue for the upcoming Irish Open. There has been a huge advertising hoarding close to the hotel, on the main N7 route out of Dublin to the South and West of the country, for at least six months. This hoarding is promoting rooms at the hotel from €88 per night, for two people, including breakfast. Various poker sites on the ipoker network have been running satellites for Irish Open packages worth $6,500, which include entry into the main event, worth $4,700, plus $1,000 for expenses and $800 for a room at the hotel for 5 nights. This works out at $160 or around €120 per night for the room. I’m not going to quibble about exchange rates; that’s a whole different ball game which I have touched on before. Let’s just look at room rates. Despite the generally advertised rate of €88, Paddy Power has negotiated a “special rate” for players. According to their website, the room rate is €100 for a single and €115 for a double, no breakfast included. This is a little different from the ipoker package rate, including the packages available on the Paddy Power’s own poker site, of €120, presumably for a double. So, for a start, we have three totally different prices and packages. Now, let’s look at what’s available on the internet as I write this piece, about 4 weeks before the tournament. I have found at least 5 different websites offering a single room, breakfast included, for the Irish Open dates, ranging from €80 to €90 per night. The cost of a twin or double room, breakfast included, ranges from €80 to€100 per night. All these prices are significantly cheaper than those negotiated by Paddy Power or ipoker. Surely, with the number of players expected to stay in the hotel over 5 nights, Paddy Power, or ipoker, should have more than enough purchasing power to negotiate a better rate for its players than the ordinary man in the street can get on numerous internet sites. Apart from all the rooms being sold by the hotel, they must make thousands in profit from food and drink sales and the letting of their function rooms during the Irish Open. Surely they should be welcoming the amount of business they are getting on a holiday weekend in these times of financial uncertainty and should be willing to match their own advertised rate of €88, at the very least.

If anyone from ipoker or Paddy Power wishes to offer an explanation, Poker Europa will be more than happy to publish it.

In the meantime, I would advise anyone who wins a package to arrange their own hotel bookings. If you do, the poker site will give you back the cash for your hotel and you should find yourself with a nice little surplus in your pocket. I managed to get my room at City West for about half of the money I got refunded from my package, a nice little bonus of almost €300 for me.



The premier poker event on the Irish calendar kicks off with a €200 re-buy super satellite on 9th April with the main event starting the following day and running until a finish on Monday 13th. A full program of support events is in place, including a closing charity event on the final day.


If last year’s experience is anything to go by, this tournament is a must play event. The structure is about as good as it gets for a €750 (75 reg. included) event with a 15,000 starting stack, 60 minute blinds for 10 levels, increasing to 90 minute levels after that. Sponsored by, the action kicks off on Thursday 7th May in the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin, with a €75 + 10 super satellite with 2 re-buys or 1 re-buy and a top up for €50 each. There is a full program of support events over the weekend. The main event has a guaranteed €100,000 prize pool. Full details can be found at


For the short handed specialists, Green Joker Poker is running a series of events from 4th to 7th June at the Ballsbridge Inn, Dublin. The main event is a €1,000 + 100 freeze-out with a 20,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels. The prize pot is a guaranteed €150,000. All tables, including cash games will be 6 handed. Full details can be found on The Green Joker Poker website.


Boylesports have been very active on the Irish poker scene since Paul Spillane took over the reins running the poker side of the business. They have taken on a number of players on various sponsorship deals including Irish stars Marty Smyth and Padraig Parkinson. I’ve also seen a number of English based players sporting their logo. The latest of these appears to be “Mr. Cool” Marc Goodwin, who topped the European rankings in 2008. We can expect to see Marc playing more events in Ireland in future.

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