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Irish News

by Roy Brindley |  Published: Aug 01, 2005

Teddy Sheringham (left) and Macker McCarthy

New Casino for Dublin

One of the worst kept secrets in Ireland is out in the open, with confirmation that the billionaire financier Dermot Desmond is opening a grand casino in the heart of Dublin.

Desmond, a close friend of the legendary racehorse owners J. P. McManus and John Magnier (who, between them, own Barbados' famous Sandy Lane Hotel), is one of Ireland's richest people. Desmond is the majority shareholder of the Celtic Football Club, and owns both London City Airport and the betting exchange Betdaq.

Betdaq is based in Dublin's International Financial Services Centre – the 1987 establishment that was itself Desmond's brainchild. It has revitalised the once intimidating Dublin docks area, similar to the way in which Canary Wharf has revived east London.

It is believed that the new casino, the first such venture by Desmond, will offer all the traditional forms of gaming, including a cardroom to outshine all others. It is expected that Betdaq terminals will feature prominently.

Poker in Print

The cardroom manager at the Merrion Casino, Mags Manton, was recently featured in the Irish women's magazine Prudence, alongside other casino regulars Vera Duffy, Ann Roland, and Monica Freyne.

The article, supported by a fine collection of glossy pictures, gave a good account of the ups and downs of being both a poker player and a woman in Ireland.

World series of poker Ticket Winners

Three tickets for the World Series of Poker main event were won at the Macau Casino's Viva Las Vegas satellite. Zeke Tuit, Namir Mohamed and Pat Browne – the latter boasting just three weeks playing experience at the time – are now firmly on the trail of poker's holy grail after winning $11,000 packages.

TV 3 Poker Graveyard Documentary
The documentary about the Irish poker scene, filmed during the 2005 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open, has made its television debut. Sadly, the Irish broadcaster TV 3 transmitted the show in a graveyard slot at 1:30 a.m. on a Monday morning. Reruns on satellite stations are thought to be a distinct possibility.

Macker Meets His Idol
59-year-old "Macker" McCarthy recently had a day to remember in Dublin, where he played poker alongside his idol, footballer Teddy Sheringham.

The retired detective from Co. Monaghan, and married father of three, was so excited about having played against the footballer that he declared it one of the highlights of his life.

"It's right up there with winning the All-Ireland poker tournament back in 1985 or 1986, which was the first one run by Terry Rodgers, in the Eccentric Club," he explained.

"Macker," a familiar face in Dublin's cardrooms, says he has been a lifetime fan of Manchester United, and was in Barcelona the night Sheringham turned a 1-0 deficit against Bayern Munich into a 2-1 victory in the 90th minute.

Despite being weaned on five-card-draw, "Macker" says he loves hold'em, and endeavours to play three times a week.

His All-Ireland win gave him a seat in the World Series, although he has no immediate plans to return to Vegas, and says that all his remaining ambitions in life were fulfilled when he "sat next to Teddy playing poker."

Tier at the Tables

Another Dublin character, Irene Tier, is back at the tables after undergoing heart bypass surgery. Despite being a formidable opponent with several tournament wins to her credit, including the Irish Open, it's good to have her back in circulation.

Ken Cockery

Date Changes
Cork's Macau Casino has changed the dates of its Irish Poker Classics (originally planned for July 28-31), following the announcement of a rival festival that directly clashes with the Irish event.

Having declared the Irish Classics dates some six months ago, and having recently printed brochures and advertised the event, organiser Ken Cockery is understandably "upset and a little disappointed" that the change has been forced upon him.

He stated, "We've planned all year for the Irish Classics, upping the entry fees to €1,000 and finding a sponsor to add decent money to the prize pool. There are four poker sites that are running satellites for us, and we have negotiated an excellent hotel rate during a traditionally busy time of the year.

"We were always aware of a slight overlap with the Paris WPT event (which concludes July 29) but inasumch as that is a €10,000 entry event, we believed that our tournament would cater to a different audience and had been planning for more than 100 runners.

"Considering this clash, and the proximity to both the VC Cup (Aug. 1-5) and the European Championships (Aug. 1-7), it appears best for us to bring things forward a week to July 21-24, and let everyone else fight overthe players."

The new dates/details for the Irish Classics are as follows:

July 21: €100 bonus supersatellite for main event (two free tickets added) with rebuys for 60 minutes and double add-on

July 22: €250 no-limit hold'em freezout

July 23: €1,000 no-limit hold'em freezout main event (two-day event)

July 24: €150 no-limit hold'em with rebuys for 90 minutes and double add-on

Contact the Macau for further details on: 00353 (+) 21 4530477.

Serial tournament winner Roy "The Boy" Brindley is sponsored by and writes courtesy of