Wednesday 15 July 2009


By Mick McCloskey

For the past few years Ireland has built up a well deserved reputation for well run, well structured poker tournaments in various, mostly nice hotel, venues around the country. The thought occurs to me that even more tournaments can take place here in future. The reason for this line of thought comes after the editorial in the June edition of Poker Europa relating to the introduction of what is effectively a poker tax in the UK. For the first time, casinos and card rooms will be liable to a tax on tournament registration fees as well as a tax on cash game rake. Will this make tournaments and cash games less viable in future in the UK? In effect, some operators will find that they have to hand over up to 50% of their revenue to the tax man. Does this mean that they will need to double their charges, just to generate the same level of profit, or in the case of some tournaments, their level of loss? Will major tournaments remain a viable option in the UK in future? I’m not really sure what the future will bring, but this may be an opportunity for tournament organisers in Ireland to step in to offer much better value than their UK counterparts. It is just a short hop for UK players to travel over to Ireland for a tournament. Even players from further afield may end up here. Due to legal restrictions in their own countries, players from Norway and Greece already hold their national championships in the UK. It may not be viable to do this in future. This of course depends on the Irish tax man not going down the same route here. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.


No, I don’t mean taking a break from poker. What I am suggesting is that players from the UK and Europe may want to consider taking a break in a scenic part of Ireland, when the weather is likely to be good, combined with a chance to play in a well structured poker tournament as part of their itinerary. Two opportunities to do just that are available this summer. The first of these is scheduled to run from 24th to 26th July in the seaside resort of Tramore in Co. Waterford. The Waterford Masters, sponsored by Brucepoker, has an entry fee of €400 + 40 and has a guaranteed €40,000 prize pool. The venue is the Grand Hotel in Tramore. The resort is family friendly with a funfair close to the long golden sandy beach, for any player who wants to bring the kids for a weekend break. For any further information, call Brian O’Keefe on 00353 861 035798 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 00353 861 035798 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

For the slightly bigger bankroll, The Irish Classic Poker Festival is scheduled to run from Monday 10th to Sunday 16th August at the Macau Club in Cork City. The 7th edition of this quality festival features a buy in of €1,000 + 100 for which you get a starting stack of 15,000 with 75 minute levels and a €100,000 guarantee. This year, for the first time, there will be two starting days and a further two days to complete the tournament. As an added bonus, anyone who plays in the main event qualifies for a live free roll for the Betfair WSOP Europe Free Million Dollar Game. The idea behind this promotion is to give Betfair customers a chance to play for a $1million top prize in London as part of the WSOPE in September. A series of regional qualifiers are being held throughout Europe, the UK and Ireland to find a winner who will get an all expenses paid trip to London to take part in the final. The winner of the Cork live heat will return to Cork at the end of August for the Irish regional final to compete against 18 online qualifiers for the right to represent Ireland in London and a chance to win the million dollar first prize.
The festival week includes a variety of events and satellites including a Pot Limit Omaha tournament, a ladies event, a charity event in aid of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the week rounds off with a pub challenge event. This event is the final act of a series of local pub qualifiers and, if my past experience is anything to go by, is quite lively and a lot of fun. Anyone can buy in direct to the pub challenge final. In fact, the whole festival is usually a lot of fun and is definitely one of my favourite annual festivals. The tournament structures are excellent, the casino staff friendly and helpful and the nightly buffets are about the best to be had on these islands, with free wine and beer thrown in for good measure! All this and a free shot at the Million Dollar Game, how could you miss it?


The €30,000 added Team Championship of Poker takes place at the City West Hotel, Dublin, from August 20th to 23rd. The event is open to teams of 6 with a buy in of €400 (includes €40 reg.) for each player. Individual players who wish to take part and do not have a team to play for can register an interest and be teamed up with other interested players in the same situation. There will be individual as well as team prizes. Full details and contact information can be found online at

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