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A Look Back at 40 Years of the Irish Poker Open

763 Views on 17/3/21

The Irish Poker Open is one of the most popular events on the calendar

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The Irish Poker Open is one of the most popular events on the calendar. Not only is there a boatload of cash up for grabs but Dublin is one of the best cities in the world for a night out(or several). There’s really no downside for players travelling to this event.

The story begins in 1980 when a bookie named Terry Rogers decided to organise a poker tournament in Dublin's Eccentric Club. Little did he know that 41 years later it would be Europe’s longest running live poker festival, only surpassed in the world by the WSOP.

After running games with as many as 300 people during the late ‘70s, Rogers came across a high stakes game in Las Vegas during his annual business trip. Benny Binion happened to be nearby, and, as they say, the rest is history.


Inevitable Change

For many years nothing much changed. The event became a traditional fixture on Easter weekend where one could expect to see world-class talent fighting for the spoils.

Terry Rogers died in 1999, after his creation had been taken over by his close friend, and fellow bookmaker, Liam Flood.

After a few years of no festival, Flood moved the event to the Merrion Casino, seemingly in anticipation of poker’s booming popularity a few years later, and long before we saw any online casino games in Ireland.

In 1995 it all kicked off again, with a decade buildup to the takeover by gambling heavyweights PaddyPower. In 2005, in perfect timing with the poker boom fully up and running, the Irish Poker Open, was truly one of the major events on the world poker circuit.

By now the Merrion Casino wasn’t big enough, and so a few years of constantly changing venues took place until a suitable replacement was found.

In 2016, IPF Limited bought the gig from PaddyPower after a few years of declining numbers following the travesty of Black Friday. The festival returned to CityWest Hotel for a scheduled full week that culminated in a €500k Main Event. The Irish Poker Open was firmly back on the map.

Since 2016, the Irish Poker Open has continued to grow to where the organisers now promise a whopping €1 Million guarantee. In 2019 the main event prize pool actually reached €1.8 Million. The good times are coming back.

Sadly the 2020 running was a wash out due to the COVID-19 pandemic killing off live poker for the year and so this year, just like last year, it will be held on the partypoker platform.

All being well, by next year everything will be back to normal and we still have the best year of the Irish Poker Open in front of us.

Author

Mark Patrickson

Mark Patrickson is a professional cash game player grinding stakes up to 100nl 6 Max NL Hold'em13 years experience of poker, across MTT SnG and cash, FL PL NL.Currently living in South East Asia and trying to make it back to mid-stakes befo ... Read More

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