Many of us got our start playing poker in home games or pub games. Many professional poker players still love the game they consider a career enough where they like getting back to their roots and still play poker for fun.
While pub poker has been an entry point for many poker players, no place is this closest to the truth than in Dublin, Ireland. Because in Dublin it is just natural for poker and a few pints of beer to go together.
Although one never expects to see anyone famous when enjoying playing pub poker with a few strangers, that is exactly what happened when former World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Niner Kelly Kim joined a popular Monday night game at The Eden in Rathfarnham.
While Las Vegas, Nevada native Kelly Kim isn't exactly a household name in Dublin, he is known worldwide by many poker enthusiasts for his impressive run in the 2008 WSOP Main Event when he became a millionaire after winning $1,288,217 with his eighth-place finish. According to The Hendon Mob, Kim has almost $2,000,000 in total live cashes.
So why was a top poker player such as Kim playing poker in a pub in Dublin? Apparently, Kim was in the city to visit a friend when he decided to enjoy a fun night of poker in a pub instead of going for the hustle and bustle of a casino.
Stephen Loane, who operates The Eden, elaborated, "I met Kelly in Cyprus last year while working on the live stream for the World Poker Tour (WPT), so when he came to visit Dublin, I couldn't resist the chance to have him play one of my games."
Most likely not many pub players recognized Kim, and Sloane was debating if he should let his players know about them playing with a poker superstar. "I was torn about telling my players about him coming as I didn't know if it would put anyone off playing because it's all about keeping as many people as possible in the game."
Sloane's decision was made easier when Kim asked to remain incognito. Also, no matter how famous you might be, sometimes you might need a reminder of the rules.
"I think keeping it quiet was the right thing to do," said Loane, "especially when Kelly received a warning from the dealer over an alleged string bet, which I'm sure would not have happened if I had explained who the mystery newcomer was."
While Kim fell short to winning the game's top prize, he did walk away with a €150 min-cash, which should have at least covered his bar tab for the night.
Kim plans to also enjoy another round of pub poker in a ClubPoker Rathmines, another Dublin pub operated by Sloane. The next time you find yourself playing pub poker, look around, maybe you are playing with one of the game's big names.