Wednesday 2 September 2009

WSOP 2009

WSOP 2009
By Mick McCloskey

Probably the biggest Irish interest story to come out of this year’s WSOP was not really related to poker at all. It was in fact the wedding of Padraig Parkinson and his long time partner Veronique on Sunday 5th July in Las Vegas. They managed to squeeze the wedding in after Padraig played his first day in the main event and before he had to return for his second day. After a private reception in the new M Casino, the wedding party moved to the bar right outside the poker room in the Bellagio for drinks in the evening. The only man in the place wearing a suit and tie was doing the honours at the bar. I had to look twice at this guy before I realised that it was Rory Liffey. Gone were the trademark flowing red locks to be replaced by a very short crew cut hairstyle. What a makeover!
Congratulations to Padraig and Veronique and best wishes for the future.

Back to the business of poker, there were no really huge cashes nor bracelets for the Irish contingent this year. Andy Black and Sligo’s Paddy O’Connor did make final table appearances in some of the side events and a few of the Irish players made it into the money in the main event and some side events. Congratulations and well done to all of these guys.


September seems to be holiday time for Irish tournament promoters as I have no news of any major events during the month. October, on the other hand, has more than it’s fair share of major events. First up is the Ladbrokes Irish Poker Festival in Killarney running from 1st to 4th October with a €500 + 50 main event with a €250,000 guarantee. Seats are limited (see my column in the August edition or check out my website for more details.) so don’t turn up expecting to pay in to the main event on the day. Ladbrokes are currently running online satellites for Killarney hotel and tournament packages. If however you have already secured a seat, you can expect a great weekend of poker in the beautiful surrounds of Killarney, in a great venue, the INEC at the Gleneagles Hotel, with well structured tournaments and an excellent facility in the form of the players lounge, courtesy of


Next up comes the Boylespoker International Poker Open at The Regency Hotel Dublin from 16th to 18th October. Although not a big buy in event at $250, this event set a new European record for entries last year with 1,300 players taking part. A similar number of players are expected this year, including a liberal sprinkling of well known poker pros and sports stars so, if you want to be part of a fun weekend, sign up now. Players last year included Andy Black, Marty Smyth, Padraig Parkinson, Jesse May, Ken Doherty, Ian Frazer and “Mad” Marty Wilson. Seats are already going fast and, as I write, I hear that Day 1b has already been sold out. The only way to enter is to sign up for an account and pay online through or by qualifying in an online satellite. By playing a little online and earning player points, you can also top up your starting stack in the main event. Full details can be found on Boyle’s website or on


Later in the month, the Irish Winter Festival takes place in the City West Hotel, Dublin, from 24th to 26th October. The main event has a buy in of €1,500 +150 and last year attracted 423 players with a top prize of €150,000. Co. Clare airport worker Fiachra Meere took the title in 2008. Sponsor, Paddy Power is currently running online satellites for packages and seats to the main event.


J.P. McCann has come up with what looks like another cracking new event at the start of November in Tallaght, Dublin. J.P. has been steadily building a reputation for putting on some of the best and most innovative poker tournaments in Ireland over the past couple of years, after serving his time running many smaller pub based events around the Dublin area. His latest idea is based on running a “Mini WSOP” for those operating with a smaller bankroll than it takes for the real thing. For a buy in of €350 you can sit down to play in a three day event with a starting stack of 30,000 chips and a 45 minute clock for the first 10 levels, increasing to 60 minutes after that. There will be a full schedule of deep stacked support events over the weekend, with the smallest starting stack being 15,000 chips. The tournament takes place in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght fro 6th to 8th November. Numbers are limited to 250 so you might want to book your seat in good time. Full details can be found on J.P.’s website at


Congratulations to Ken Corkery and his team at The Macau Casino, Cork, for winning the Best Poker Tournament Award for their Irish Classic Poker Festival at the Irish Sports Betting Awards, held recently in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

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