Raw Power

Raw Power

Monday, 26 August 2013

Nicky Power on the Irish scene.

The Irish Poker Championship

The Irish Poker Championship (IPC), back this month, is a tournament that, since its inception in 2006, has appeared in many different guises. The inaugural IPC had an €1,100 buy-in and was held in the Citywest with Boylepoker as sponsor. Cork’s Kieran “flipper” Walsh was crowned champion.

At the time this was the biggest field ever assembled for a poker tournament in Europe, with 391 runners. For me this was the benchmark tournament that heralded the beginning of a golden era for Irish poker events. The 2006 event showed what could be achieved and personally I’ve no doubt this was the most important single event in shaping the next five years of tournament poker in this country.

The event remained at Citywest for year two with an increased buy in to €1,500. Limerick’s John Clancy would take the title.

In 2008 the tournament moved to Galway and, with an increased buy in and national television coverage, became firmly established as Ireland’s second most prestigious poker event after the Irish Open. The winner this year was Galway’s own Jude Ainsworth.


In 2009 we had the odd occurrence of two IPC’s, one in January and then the following December. Rory Rees Brennan won the January offering. Then with a change of sponsors the Championship became the first event of the new UKIPT poker tour. The winner of Galway leg of the UKIPT would also hold the title of Irish Poker Champion. And what better person to hold that title than IPC2 2009 winner Mr Padraig Parkinson?

2010 saw a 50% reduction in buy-in with adopted son of Erin Nick Abou Risk winning. With the oddity of two IPSs in 2009 because of the alignment to the UKIPT there was no tournament for the calendar year of 2011.

In 2012 the IPC became a side event of the WPT Dublin with a reduced buy in of €750. Although the players turned out in force to support the 2012 event, there can be no doubt that this was the low point. I wrote at the time: “I don’t know where the IPC, as a tournament, goes from here, but I think we can assume it won’t stay the same as this year. The tournament has a wonderful legacy, and needs to find a new position in the calendar.”

Thankfully, that new position has been found. Galway will again welcome home its favourite tournament. As part of the monster UKIPT festival scheduled for two weeks over late July and early August, the IPC returns with the largest buy in of any major Irish tournament this year. The IPC will run for 2013 from the 5th to 9th of August with a €2,500 buy in. Welcome back!

Chieftain of the Tribes Galway

I’m not a very decisive person. Over the month of June I got up flights and accommodation for Vegas on my browser and hovered the mouse several times. And every time I did, the next day I felt happy for not clicking.

There’s always an internal niggling that I should have gone but, pragmatically, I know I’m not playing enough poker to warrant blowing €25,000 or more on what is realistically a massive punt.

I asked two good friends, Marty Smyth and Derek Murray if they were they going. Marty replied that he wasn’t and told me, “You’d be off you f***ing head to go.” Derek simply said, “No, I hate Vegas”. Two much more decisive people than myself.


The only poker I did play recently was a trip to Galway when the Eglinton hosted its “Chieftain of the Tribes” tournament. One hundred and twenty-seven players turned out for the €250 buy-in, two-day event.

The tournament was coming off the back of a two-week sportsbetting frenzy for me, with the US golf open followed by Royal Ascot. Neither went well but both could have been worse.

I needed a blowout and where better then Galway? The plan was to meet Derek Murray and Paul Carr in McSwiggans pub for dinner and a couple of pre-tournament pints. While the food never happened (bad move), the pints flowed.

If I were to tell you some hands now from day one, I’d have to make them up. What I can remember is that the Eglinton has introduced Heineken on draught, which kept me occupied until play ended around 1.30am.

We retired, eventually, to the Radisson for some well-deserved post-game drinks that ended around the 8am mark. Upon waking, Paul Carr informed me I had a load of chips in the tournament. I felt like Thomas ‘the bomber’ Nolan! When I got to the casino, Donal the tournament director told me I had done a fantastic drunk Padraig Parkinson impersonation during the previous night at the tables.

My position on the chip counts was 7/51, holding a little over twice the average, which was 90k in chips. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to mirror Padraig’s famous 2009 Irish Championship victory, when I exited in a very boring kings into aces scenario a couple of hours into Sunday’s play. There were still 35 players left, and, with 13 paid and at least six hours play to the money, it felt like a mercy killing.

The three-hour drive home felt like 30 and the hangover lasted two days. The most prominent thought in my mind for those two days is how the hell anyone will survive the two-week festival that takes place in Galway next month.

Tourney Pick

September the 5th to 8th sees the return of The Irish Classic Poker Festival at the Macau Sporting Club Cork. This is one of Ireland’s longest running festivals, having first taken place in 2003 and is without doubt the most successful casino-based set of tournaments over the year.

The Macau has been a happy hunting ground for me, and Cork is still my favourite county to visit for a game of poker. I’ve made many friends playing poker in Cork. In fact, it’s hard to visit and not leave with more friends than when you arrived.

This year’s festival has a full schedule of events running from Thursday through Sunday. The main event has a €500 buy-in of which €80 will be awarded to bounties. I guarantee if you decide to visit this one for the first time, you’ll be back next year.

Tags: Nicky Pwer, Ireland, Jude Ainsworth, Marty Smyth