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Card Player Poker Tour: Catching Up with Ian Simpson

Simpson Says the Irish Open Set Him Up For Life


Ian SimpsonThe Card Player Poker Tour is pleased to announce the addition of the Paddy Power Poker Irish Open to the Season II schedule. The Dublin event is the longest running poker tournament in European history and is second only to the World Series of Poker worldwide. Card Player had the chance to speak with 2013 champion Ian Simpson who has quite the history at the tournament. Simpson won the 2012 Sole Survivor promotion and then finished fourth overall. In 2013 Simpson not only became the latest in the long list of champions, he made further headlines when he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Emma seconds after his win.

The Paddy Power Poker Irish Open will take place April 17-21 at the Double Tree By Hilton (Formerly the Burlington Hotel) in Dublin, Ireland with a $2,716 + $340 main event. For a full list of events visit

First off, will we be seeing you at the Irish Open this April?

Absolutely. And every year for the next 50 years if I have my way.

Next, the proposal. It has been about one year now. Did you and Emma tie the knot?

The big day is August 16th and plans are well underway! The venue is sorted, DJ booked, etc. We both can’t wait. While we’re planning the wedding we’re moving into our new house together which is where a chunk of my winnings have been spent. Emma is having a lot of fun designing the ideal home for us to raise a family in. And I’m tolerating being dragged around every furniture shop in the northeast.

You finished second in October in the UKIPT main event for what looks like the second largest live cash of your career. Any other major results or cashes?

That was an amazing tournament, the final table was very tough and the eventual winner, Robbie Bull, is a player I’ve got a lot of respect for. My fourth place at the Irish Open 2012 was actually a bigger score if you take into account the value of the Sole Survivor package too. I’ve had some other nice pay days as well. I came close to a final table in a $3,000 event at the WSOP this year which got me $26,807 and I won a €2,500 high roller event at Unibet Open: Latvia. It only had 11 runners but it still bagged me around €13,000 which is pretty sweet.

You have had so much success in the Irish Open, from being the Sole Survivor winner to finishing fourth and then winning it. How do you think other players in the field will look at you this year given your history?

Everyone reacts differently. Some people will take it as a challenge and come after me while others will show more respect and avoid big pots with me. Away from the table though the Irish Open is a really welcoming place for me and Emma. The regulars at that tournament always greet us with smiles, handshakes and hugs. It’s really touching.

Again, this is a tournament where you have seen wild success, what does the Irish Open mean to you?

It’s hard to put into words. Coming fourth in 2012 and winning the Sole Survivor promotion ended up setting me up for life. It gave me the chance I needed to develop as a player, gain so much live experience and become the player I am now. Thanks largely to that experience I was able to come back and win it in 2013. More importantly of course, no matter what, it will always be the place I asked Emma to marry me. To say the Irish Open is special to me is an understatement.

When you sit down at the table this April will we see a different game from you? Have you changed your play at all over the past year?

Definitely. I’m still pretty loose aggressive, but if you don’t progress your game as poker evolves you fall behind. New strategies and tendencies are emerging all the time, if you don’t adapt to the changes you’ll get eaten up. I’m constantly on the lookout for new books and training videos to get ideas from different players with different experiences to mine so that I can add new plays into my game.

We have been told the atmosphere at the Irish Open is different compared to other tournaments. How would you describe this?

It’s amazing. You have to be there to fully appreciate it. Sometimes at a tournament I’ve sat down with eight other players and they barely say a word. The table chatter at the Irish Open makes for a really sociable game. It’s kinda like a home game that way. Except there’s a huge prizepool to play for! The after party is always brilliant too (granted I did have good reason to be celebrating the past two years). Everyone is in good cheer and there’s always plenty Guinness being drunk.

If players were considering a trip to the Irish Open but have not made a final decision as to whether to come or not, what would you say to them?

Easy decision, book your flights and get yourself to Dublin.