Poker Dispatches: Croatia, Ireland, India, Degrassi St.

jelena glisic
Controversial Croatian tourism ad.

It’s a big poker world out there and we’re trying to cover as much of it as we can – particularly the places where we might not expect to find it.

This week we tracked down reports from Ireland, Croatia, India (again) and the most famous street in Canada – Degrassi Street.

There's also a bonus honorable mention for Mexico.

Croatia – Moneymaker Effect in Effect?

Chris Moneymaker
Moneymaker has landed.

Croatia’s known more for its most famous poker export (see Tatjana Pasalic) than for a burgeoning live poker scene in-country, but that changed a bit this week with the first-ever Eureka Poker Tour event in Zagreb.

The €800 buy-in tournament didn’t bring a ton of big names into the city, but it did bring one of the most prominent names ever: Chris Moneymaker.

And if there was ever a guy who could singlehandedly increase poker’s presence in a country, it’s Moneymaker.

Croatian news site has its take here, including a recap of Moneymaker’s story and an upcoming charity tournament featuring Croatian athletes Zoran Primorac, Martina Zubcic, Danila Biric and former NBA player Gordon Giricek.

On a side note, who knew Croatia had a ladies poker team and a controversy over a tourism commercial featuring the butt of former Miss Croatia Jelena Glisic?

Ireland - Hold 'em, Fold 'em and Deal

Here’s what most poker players are doing wrong:

Jude Ainsworth
Ainsworth: Something in the water.

They’re not all living on the same street.

Three poker pros - Jude Ainsworth, Derek Murray and Fintan Gavin - who live in in the same neighborhood in Claregalway, Ireland, this week for their collective $6m (€4.2m) in winnings through live and online poker tournaments.

A coincidence mostly, Ainsworth says, but still:

"There must be something in the water in Claregalway … I don't think there are many places in the world outside of Las Vegas where you would have three successful poker players living so close to one another.”

They don’t have the strategy sessions you might find among the young pros at Panorama Towers in Vegas, but Ainsworth and Murray did get their start playing home games together before finding online poker.

Gavin has the most recent notable score, winning the title and £61,500 at the latest stop on the UKIPT in Edinburgh this month.

India – Go Mumbaikar Go

We weren’t kidding around when we said India is on the cusp of a real poker boom.

Boom is coming and it's starting in Goa.

Two more recent articles, from the Times of India and, have looked at India and poker a little closer and come to a similar conclusion.

It’s still a few years away, and dependent on casino and gambling legislation in India getting an overhaul, but it’s definitely coming.

From CNNgo:

“Ask any Mumbaikar between the ages of 25 and 40 if he plays poker in India and you’ll be on the receiving end of a proud smile.

“He’ll talk about his regular game, his high-stakes game and the tournaments he’s won. You’ll be convinced that the Indian poker boom has arrived. But has it?”

For any grinders looking for a tropical getaway and a soft tournament to play, more on the upcoming Poker Guru event in Goa here.

Degrassi Street

You know poker has truly infiltrated the mainstream when it usurps abortion, drinking and driving and make-out parties as the elephant in the room on a recent episode of Canada’s most famous television export, Degrassi.

Degrassi St. hasn't been the same since.

According to the episode summary:

“Alli is scary good at poker. But she's not just gambling cash anymore; she's gambling her relationship with Dave... and her future."

In this clip, “Alli debates the nuances of card counting v. being really good at poker with her rivals, who would prefer to argue with their fists.”

Even a fake shot of 2+2 shows up on the episode, which is really plumbing the depths of teenage fear mongering. No one wins if a teen gets trapped in an NVG photoshop spiral.

Honorable Mention: Mexico

Speaking of living in close proximity to other poker players, as soon as Shuan Deeb finds his passport he’s headed to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico to continue his online poker career.

Not that he needs it, but he could spend some time debating hands with fellow pro Jonathan Aguiar who has reportedly already made the move to Playa Del Carmen.

Adding in a bunch of other pros who have already moved to Mexico, including Jesse Knight and his wife moving to Tijuana, the Black Friday exodus of American players South of the border ... to work ... is starting to read like an Onion headline.

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