Irish Open 2017: Q&A with Paul O’Reilly

Last year’s Irish Open was a triumph, with a reduced buy-in attracting 802 entries and an unbeatable atmosphere. This year’s is bigger and promises to be even better – we get the lowdown from the man with the plan

You must have been delighted to get 802 runners at last year’s tournament. It felt like the event had been given a new lease of life.

It was absolutely terrific but not surprising. We knew from the uptake from clubs around Ireland and the UK that there was a huge interest in the Irish Open and the new buy-in of €1,150. We had queries from as far as New Zealand looking to run satellites. We also had a lot of support from online sites who were all delighted with the feedback from players.

It must have been great to get players from all across Europe in the Main Event – and still end up with two Irish players playing for the trophy?

It was nice to keep the new IO trophy at home but in fairness the Europeans have had their fair share of wins. The mix of nations is part of what makes the event so great. Last year we had
a total of 49 different nations represented at the Irish Open, which was phenomenal.

It certainly made the atmosphere pretty special…

The craic never stopped for the week. There was a great build up from Day 1 to the last day. We had entertainment on every day, the bars were open and the poker was flowing.

What was your favourite bit from last year’s event?

Seeing 802 players on the screens and smashing the 500K Guarantee.

What feedback did you get from the players?

They loved the new buy-in of €1,150. The revised structure and 30k stack gives players loads of play. We had a lot of seasoned pros compliment us on the set-up and professionalism of the event, and for a €1,150 buy-in you couldn’t ask for more. The choice of tournaments and cash games went down a treat too.

What changes have you made to the Irish Open this year?

The big change is that we’re not running across Easter weekend, but we had to shift it this year to get in at the Citywest Hotel. We had to have a venue that could facilitate large numbers of players and obviously a very large amount of bedrooms. We’ve already put pen to paper to secure the long-term future of the event, which will be returning to its historical Easter weekend spot from 2018 onwards.

As far as the poker goes we’ve got 34 events this year, including PLO, a seniors event, heads-up, turbo events, deep stacks and much more. We’ve also got the old favourites returning, including the Liam Flood Memorial, the Irish Open Mini (€275 buy-in) and the €2k High Roller. There’ll be cash games running throughout and the usual Irish Open craic.

When do satellites start?

Satellites have been running now for a few months on Paddy Power Poker, Betfair Poker and partypoker. From the start of January satellites will be kicking off on the iPoker Network and they’ll be offering €2,500 guaranteed packages (including entry, accommodation and €800 Spending money). If you prefer to play live, local card rooms in Ireland and the UK are starting satellites from January.

Is there any other vital information that players need?

All information regarding the event can be found at You can get info on registration and buy-ins, the full schedule, satellites and venue information. You can also pay online for a large number of the events that are on offer this year.

If anyone’s in two minds about whether to play or not, what would you say to convince them to come?

We’ve got several different poker tournaments on every day, dozens of different sized cash games to suit all pockets, world-class staff, entertainment every day and night, a hotel that boasts several bars and restaurants, and a train around the corner to bring you to Dublin City in 30 minutes if you need a break.

Every Player will receive the traditional ‘Cead Mile Failte’ (hundred thousand welcomes) to Ireland and its premier poker festival. You will not be disappointed and you will see why poker players from around the world return year after year.

The 2017 Irish Poker Open is at Citywest Hotel, March 27 – April 3. Get all the latest info at and watch this interview with last year’s champion:

To get all the details about the 2017 Irish Open just click here


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