Irish Open begins Thursday in Dublin

Marty Smyth, 2007 Irish Open winner.

Players from around the world will converge on Dublin, Ireland Wednesday for the Irish Open, Europe's largest and oldest poker tournament.

The Irish Open was started in 1980 by Terry Rogers at his Eccentric Club in Dublin. Since then it has switched venues to the Citywest Hotel to accommodate the growing playing field, and the prize pool has reached a guaranteed €3 million.

The 2007 Irish Open saw a 708-player field that included European pros such as Max Pescatori, Andy Black, Roland de Wolfe and Dave Colclough.

Making their way across the Atlantic for the event were Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke, David Plastik, Mike Sexton, Chad Brown, Jennifer Tilly, Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Shane "Shaniac" Schleger and Dan Harrington.

In the end it was Marty Smyth, from Northern Ireland, who pocketed the €650,000 top prize. He defeated a final table that included Sorel Mizzi, Nicky Power, Thomas Finneran, Danny McHugh, Brian O'Keefe and Roland de Wolfe for the win.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Prize
1st Marty Smyth €650,000
2nd Roland de Wolfe €325,000
3rd Sorel Mizzi €210,000
4th Daniel McHugh €175,000
5th Brian O'Keefe €130,000
6th Nicky Power €100,000
7th Thomas Finneran €75,000

A few hundred players are already registered for the 2008 Irish Open main event. Smith and de Wolfe will both be back for another run at the title, playing on Day 1a along with John Duthie, Doyle Brunson, JJ Liu, Padraig Parkinson, and others.

Day 1b will see Sorel Mizzi return, with the likes of Roy Brindley, Barney Boatman, Bruno Fituossi, Ian Frazer, Mel Judah, Steve Zolotow and more also due to sit down.

There will be plenty of online poker players heading to the live event as well. Titan Poker awarded seats to the Irish Open to 18 of its players, while Irish Open sponsor Paddy Power Poker is sending 73 players to the event.

There were 64 players from Paddy Power Poker who qualified via the Grand Final satellites. If any one of them should happen to win the Irish Open, they will have their buy-ins covered for the next half decade as a Paddy Power Poker player.

The qualifier from their site who lasts the longest in the tournament will also win free entry to the 2009 Irish Open, even if they don't win the event.

Six players from Paddy Power Poker also earned their free seats through the poker site's VIP Go Free promotion in which they had to earn 750,000 Paddy Points.

Two more players won their seats through special giveaways on the Paddy Power site.

The Irish Open begins at 2 p.m. Thursday and will be on the scene to bring you live coverage of the Emerald Isle's best poker action from start to finish. Check it out in the Live Tournament section.

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