The first couple of weeks of the New Year are usually quiet in the United Kingdom and Ireland poker worlds due to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Aussie Millions festivals running concurrently, but that's not to say nothing goes on, as you'll see below in the first UK & Ireland PokerNews Round-Up of 2016.
It's never easy to write about the death of characters from the poker world, but it does happen occasionally and this week was one of those sad times.
Neale "The Wheel" Butler passed away over the weekend due to complications associated with a rare form of bladder cancer. While I didn't know Butler personally, nor had our paths ever crossed, I felt compelled to write about him after reading of his amazing story. You can read about it via this link.
There was some happier news at the start of the week when the British PokerStars player known as "Cheeky4714" was involved in a four-way chop in the Sunday Warm-Up. Cheeky4714 went on to be the runner-up in the tournament and add a welcomed $46,276.82 to his bankroll, which helped him kick off 2016 in style.
You can read more about the exploits of UK & Ireland's players in the various online Sunday Majors, here.
Another player who was a runner-up in a big Sunday tournament was the popular Irishman Kevin "SuitedAcesBaby" Killeen, whose name appeared in second place in the PokerStars Sunday 6-Max, a result that bagged the Dubliner $14,801. It was also a result that added a couple of hundred points to his PocketFives.com leaderboard score. While Killeen is still in second place in the Irish online poker rankings, he's closed the gap on runaway leader Sergio "EV4dGloryOMC" Garcia who looked uncatchable during 2015.
Check out the top 20 ranked players from the UK and Ireland in our rankings update.
The other rankings that poker players love being part of are the Global Poker Index, the authority for live tournaments rankings. Stephen Chidwick is still the man to catch in the UK's GPI, leading from Jack Salter, Simon Deadman, and Niall Farrell.
Chidwick won the 2015 UK Player of the Year, with Marc Macdonnell taking down the Irish equivalent; Macdonnell also leads the top 20 of the Irish GPI standings and is the only Irishman to feature in the GPI worldwide top 150.
The remainder of the week's most popular stories revolved around upcoming live and online events and business news.
partypoker has been in the news this week, first announcing its net revenue rose by 5%, then announcing four-time world champion boxer Carl Froch will be competing in a $100,000 bounty tournament at the end of January, and doing so with a $2,000 bounty on his head. The site will also be sponsoring the Grand Prix Poker Tour that heads to the home of Manchester United, Old Trafford, this weekend for a £60+£10 buy-in £250,000 guaranteed event.
There's another live festival taking place this weekend, this one being across the Irish Sea and into Dublin. The inaugural All Ireland Poker Championships calls the Regency Hotel home for the weekend and features five special tournaments that are only open to Irish passport holders or residents of Ireland.
Lastly for this week's round-up is a little bit of business news where William Hill announced a fall of 1% in its net revnues while soon-to-be-owners of bwin.party, GVC Holdings, revealed business is booming with an 10.2% increase compared to the previous year. If the gambling industry's business is something that appeals to you, click this link to check it out.