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Irish Festival Madness

by Brendan Murray |  Published: Dec 31, 2008


No one throws a poker party like the Irish. On foot of the success of the Ladbrokes Irish Poker Festival in early October, which attracted a capacity-busting 832 players, the International Poker Open and Irish Winter Festival rounded off a record-breaking month in the Emerald Isle.

The €135 + €15 buy-in International Poker Open set a new world record for field size outside the U.S., attracting 1,300 players. The prize pool swelled to €205,000 with €32,000 added by the sponsor, and a host of big names showed up for the event, including BoylePoker pros Marty Smyth and Padraig Parkinson, Andy Black, Neil Channing, Ian Frazer, Scott Gray, Jesse May, and former Eastenders actor Ray Panthaki.

Ruari Coy won the €37,530 first prize.

One week later, the €1,500 buy-in Irish Winter Festival main event attracted 423 players, including Ciaran O'Leary, Andy Black, Neil Channing, Trond Eidsvig, and Pascal Perrault, to the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, creating a prize pool of over €600,000. It was won by Irishman Fiachra Meere, who took home €150,000 for his victory.