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Five of the Biggest Irish Poker Tournament Winners
The Irish have an affinity with all forms of gambling. Horse racing is massive in Ireland, some of the most successful trainers of all time are Irish. They love their sport and they love to gamble. They also produce some excellent poker players.
The Irish Open is a live poker event you have to play at least once in your lifetime. It is the longest-running event outside of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Seeing thousands of people around the world playing cards for huge sums of money, all while pints of Guinness are flowing, is a sight to behold. The Irish also run exceptional poker tournaments.
Ireland has produced some superb poker players over the years. Noel Furlong won the 1999 WSOP Main Event, for instance. Jude Ainsworth crushed online poker tournaments for years, Dara O’Kearney still does. But these are the five Irish stars who have the most tournament winnings of any other Irishman or woman.
Irish Poker Great Andy Black
Andy Black is the best-known Irish poker player thanks to also being the winningest. Black has won more than $4.88 million during a career that started back in 1997. The man from Dublin came close to winning the 2005 WSOP Main Event. He ultimately finished fifth for a career-best $1,750,000 score.
Black has won 15 live events to date but a so-called major still eludes him. Dozens of final table tell a story of a great player who’s luck runs out at the most inopportune moment. It’s fair to say Black best days were between 2005-2008 but he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
Irish Open and $10K PLO WSOP Champion Marty Smyth
Marty Smyth is second in the Irish all-time money rankings with a shade under $3.89 million. That only tells part of the story. Smyth has hardly played a live poker tournament since 2010.
People sat up and noticed this Irish star in 2006. Smyth finished sixth in the televised Poker Million V for $100,000. He won the 2007 Irish Open for €650,000 ($867,546) less than four months later. Smyth excelled in the Poker Million VI in December 2007, finishing second for $500,000.
Several other victories followed, including his one and only WSOP bracelet. Smyth won the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event in 2008 for $859,549. That was followed up by a $1 million score later in the year. Then things dried up. Smyth all but stopped playing major live events.
The Irish pro’s last two tournament cashes came in July 2017 and April 2019. They only cost £35 and €60 to enter.
Eoghan O’Dea: Son of an Irish Poker Legend
Eoghon O’Dea is the son if Irish poker legend Donnachie O’Dea. O’Dea Senior won a $1,500 PLO WSOP event in 1998. O’Dea Junior recently won a $400 PLO event online at GGPoker for his first bracelet.
The Dubliner has more than $3.2 million in live poker tournament winnings. Six of his scores are worth six-figures, the largest of those being for $388,532. This was O’Dea’s reward for a runner-up finish at WPT Marrakech in Morocco.
O’Dea won $1,720,831in 2011 when he finished sixth in the WSOP Main Event. It’s a matter of when not if he surpasses this huge prize.
Marc MacDonnell is One of Ireland’s New Breed of Player
Marc MacDonnell is one of the new breed of Irish players, one who is awesome live and online. Many Irish grinders excel in PLO – perhaps it’s their gambling nature – but MacDonnell shines in No-Limit Hold’em.
MacDonnell recently removed his online poker tournament results form tracking sites, but they exceeded a couple of million. He’s also won almost $3.1 million in the live arena. That impressive total is helped by MacDonnell’s willingness to travel for poker. He has currently cashed in 14 different countries, including Australia, Spain, Bahamas, and Canada.
Dermot Blain, The Former Full Tilt Poker Pro
Dermot Blain was the Irish representative for the now-defunct Full Tilt Poker. The former online poker site sponsored Blain because he always topped the Irish Player of the Year race. Blain has $2.44 million in live tournament cashes, and is consistent without being spectacular.
You’ll find Blain grinding side events and satellites at major poker stops. He does this during downtime from NLHE and PLO tournaments. The boy never stops working.