Few poker tournaments have a long history. Outside of the World Series, the number of tournaments that can count a decade long run is few and, outside of the United States, that count gets even scarcer. One that can almost equal the longevity of the World Series is the Irish Open, which will hold its 25th Anniversary event from April 14th to the 17th at Jurys Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin.
Terry Rogers is perhaps the one person who is most responsible for the growth of poker in England and Europe. During the 1980's, the World Series was visited by legions of players from Europe that were led by the Irishman and he was responsible for the creation of the Irish Open in 1981. Since then, the tournament has grown to be one of the "calendar markers" for poker players in England and Europe. Even after the death of Rogers in 1999, his friend and compatriot Liam Flood and the Merrion Casino Club have continued his vision and the tournament.
The tournament has traditionally been a stopping point for poker players in Europe and has drawn some big names in the past. Former World Champions Doyle Brunson and the late Stu Ungar have been competitors at the tournament and this year's event promises to be well attended also by players from Ireland, Britain, Europe, the United States and beyond. To mark the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the 3000 Euro Championship Event will have a guaranteed prize pool of one million Euros for the first time in its history.
Four tournaments will make up this year's event. There will be a 400 Euro rebuy event on April 14th that will get the action started, with the 3000 Euro Championship Event kicking off on April 15th. While the survivors continue to battle on April 16th, those already out of the tournament or with a smaller bankroll will be able to take part at the Irish Open in a 300 Euro freeze out tournament (April 16th) and another 150 Euro rebuy tournament on the 17th, when the final table will be wrapping up.
The winner of the 2006 main event will be presented with the specially commissioned Terry Rogers Perpetual Trophy, in commemoration of the colorful character who started the event and pioneered poker in Europe. In addition to that prize, the online qualifier who makes it the furthest in the tournament will receive a buy in to the World Series in Las Vegas this August, complete with travel expenses that make it worth $12,500.
Last year's event was won by John Falconer and featured such excellent poker players as Dave Colclough, Simon "Aces" Trumper, Padraig Parkinson and former World Champion Noel Furlong among the 172 competitors. Satellites for this year's tournament will be held in card clubs and casinos throughout Britain, Ireland and Europe. There are also qualifiers going on at paddypowerpoker.com, with entry fees that start at ten Euros. All in all, it should draw together some of the best poker players from around the world to one of the venerable tournaments in the poker world. For more information on this year's renewal of the Irish Open, be sure to visit their website at irishpokeropen.com.