There is nothing more exciting than playing a Texas Hold’Em tournament. When you add in huge prize pools, celebrity and pro players mixing it up with hobbyists, and a trip to one of the most popular city break locations in Europe, you have the perfect combination. We’re talking about the Irish Poker Open.

A little bit of IPO History

The Irish Poker Open was first held in 1980 (about ten years after Benny Binion put on the first World Series of Poker). It was put together by an Irish bookmaker named Terry Rodgers. He had been holding charity poker tournaments for years already at that point. Modern players might be surprised to hear that the game of choice then was five-card draw, not Texas Hold’em as it is now. Players bought in for a few hundred pounds, and the events would get between roughly one and three hundred players. But that all changed with a Vegas trip to Binion’s in 1979.

Rodgers not only saw the power and excitement of Texas Hold’em (as opposed to draw or stud), but he also saw the opportunity to serve as bookmaker for the events. He offered odds on players and let bettors place wagers on who would win it all. He also went home with a plan to host his own similar event in Ireland. The Irish Poker Open was born.

Since then, the IPO has been Europe’s longest running poker tournament. The Main Event attracts great players from all over the world. In 2023, they will battle it out for a share of a guaranteed €1 million prize pool.

Irish Poker Open tournaments, structure, and events

For 2023, IPO events ran from April 3rd to 10th at the Royal Dublin Society. There were around 40 separate events taking place.

The most important was the €1,150 buy-in Main Event. Each player got 30,000 in chips and could re-enter once per starting day. Blind levels changed hourly. Breaks were scheduled between 2-4 hours in between play sessions. And at the end of the day, chips were bagged and tagged so players could get a little rest before the noon start time the next day.

Aside from the Main Event, players could also find the following tournaments on the 2023 official IPO schedule:

• €115 satellites to the Main Event.

• No Limit Heads-Up tournaments, where players could go one on one.

• Pot Limit Omaha events (four hole cards dealt, higher ranked hands needed for showdown value, bets capped at pot size).

• Niche tournaments like the America’s Cup, Hendon Mob Championship, and the Ladies’ Tournament.

• Bounty tournaments, where players received additional prize money for knocking out other players.

• Some deep stack turbos to close out the fun!

Notable Moments in Irish Poker Open History – IPO fun facts

Fun Fact #1. The 2022 winner was Steve O’Dwyer, an American-born poker pro with over $30,000,000 in lifetime cashes! He won the top prize of $345,822.

Fun Fact #2. The first ever Irish Poker Open was a 5-card stud game. A woman named Colette Doherty was the tournament’s original champion, winning approximately £22,000!

Fun Fact #3. In an early IPO event, famed poker pro Amarillo Slim rode out of the airport on a horse! How’s that for IPO fun facts?

Fun Fact #4. The tournament has seen poker royalty like Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Phil Laak, Daniel Harrington, and many others participating.

Fun Fact #5. In 2007, the final battle saw two hours of heads up play between eventual winner Marty Smyth and poker champ Roland De Wolfe. Smyth cashed a first prize of €650,000!

Fun Fact #6. If it were not for the IPO, there’s no telling where poker would be today. The Irish Poker Open was an instrumental pioneer event that helped build the foundations of the game’s popularity in Europe and around the world.

Fun Fact #7. The event routinely attracts Irish and European sports heros like Irish soccer player Tony Cascarino, former Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham, rugby legend Reggie Corrigan and former snooker world champion Ken Doherty.

Fun Fact #8. Niel Channing won the 2008 IPO, taking home over €800,000. He boosted this by £50,000 betting £500 on himself to win at 100 to 1 odds!

Fun Fact #9. The 2010 winner was just 20 years old. Englishman James Mitchell won a €600,000 first prize for his “college fund.”

50 Ignition players headed to the 2023 IPO

The Irish Poker Open and Ignition Casino crossed paths this year. 50 Ignition poker players headed to Dublin because they won our satellite tournaments during the Win your Way to Dublin online poker tournament. Over a thousand players entered the satellite tournaments.

Each satellite winner earned a €1,150 Main Event buy in, as well as expenses paid for travel, airfare and hotel. Ignition players from around the world were ready to battle it out hopefully at the final table. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were on the line.

Team Ignition pro CrazySixes, your IPO insider

Team Ignition pro Shaundle Pruitt (aka “CrazySixes”) was at the IPO and offered daily tournament recaps. That way, we could all be a part of Ignition players’ run, from beginning to end. We heard of hard calls, big bluffs, and a tournament experience that  guaranteed to get everyone’s heart doing a jig. It definitely took a Jameson or two to relax after an event like this.
Shaundle also hosted a tournament giveaway with a ticket to a satellite to the Irish Poker Open. Journalist Marc Laroque snagged the satty ticket and took first place in the tourney. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to Dublin this year.

#IPOxIGN – Don’t miss out on the action

Second only to the WSOP, the Irish Poker Open is a tourney to remember. If you want to get in on these legendary poker tournaments, stick around at Ignition for events like the Golden Spade Poker Open, The $200k Guaranteed, and the Black Diamond Poker Open. There’s also huge guaranteed prize pool events happening monthly, so don’t miss a moment.