True Irish Baller: Can We Have Our Open Back?

True Irish Baller: Can We Have Our Open Back?

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Irish Open used to be one of the biggest events in the poker calendar, but is it circling the drain nowadays? The Baller stops by to give his two cents.

When this article comes out, The Irish Open will be just under one month away. Described on the Paddy Power website as “one of the world’s most prestigious live poker festivals”, I can’t help but disagree. For me, in the last few years, the Irish Open has regressed in stature every single year. In this day and age I find it hard to agree that it is “one of the world’s most prestigious festivals” and to be honest, I don’t see things improving anytime soon.

Firstly, I must say right off the bat, I personally don’t rate Paddy Power Poker as a brand. They have persisted with iPoker all this time, I have found their support grossly unhelpful and as for their Twitter account, the less said the better! I flat out refuse to play there - why should I? It has been shown to me time and time again that they simply don’t care about the customer. So I say fuck ‘em.

You only have to look at the schedule and spot the €10,000 side event to see just how little of a clue they have (I requested a price on the €10k actually taking place, but funnily enough they never got back to me). Frankly, even pretending to believe a €10,000 tournament will occur is nothing short of insulting to the intelligence of us players.

When I started off playing poker, the Irish Open was the dream. The legends of the game travelled to it. It attracted the crème de la crème, and winning it would have been the highest honour. Now? Not so. This year it clashes with EPT San Remo, making it less likely to attract the calibre of player that our biggest tournament deserves. To me, this seems like a real shame. Now, I won’t blame Paddy Power for this as they have always had these days; but it’s almost tragic to lose out on a chance for some of us to pit our wits against some of the real superstars of the game.

The lowering of the buy-in is another factor that has greatly annoyed me. The Irish Open deserves a big buy-in, and its reduction has devalued the entire tournament as a whole. The Negreanus and Hellmuths of the world aren’t going to bother travelling thousands of miles for a simple €-2k. I understand in the current economic climate there simply isn’t as much money out there. However, in no way should this be a reason to devalue Ireland’s biggest tournament.

In Ireland at the moment, there is a distinct lack of big buy-in games. The UKIPT does a great job of catering for a certain crowd. It gives the chance for your average recreational player to play a massive tournament, run by the world’s best poker company and a chance to win some massive money. However, after the pitiful death of the Irish Poker Championships, this country deserves a tournament that is recognised worldwide. The route Paddy Power have taken in the last few years seems to be diminishing our only properly major tournament on the calendar and that truly saddens me. I’d love to see the buy-in actually increased next year, and for the Irish Open to truly get back its spark.

I will sign off on some positives regarding the tournament and Paddy Power. Firstly, I will say the “Sole Survivor” promotion is fantastic and they do deserve a lot of praise for that. The craic created throughout the weekend is second to none and the hotel, Paddy Power staff and all the players deserve an ample amount of credit for the effort they put in. Finally, the media side of things and the stream are first rate and long may they continue. Credit where credit is due… but at the moment, it’s not enough.

Tags: True Irish Baller, Irish Open, columnists, Ireland