Bragging Rights – The Irish Omaha Championship

Andy Black

Make no mistake about it, whoever wins the €2,500 buy-in Irish Omaha Championship in Killarney may regard themselves as the most accomplished and even the most talented poker player in Ireland. Maybe with good reason as he will be in illustrious company.

The biggest cash games over the past four decades of Irish Poker have almost exclusively been Omaha. Only the sadly missed Noel Furlong’s Main event WSOP bracelet was in Hold’em. The other 3 World championships that Irish players have won were all in Omaha.

Marty Smith won the blue ribbon $10,000 dollar Omaha with Tom Hanlon (maybe the favourite for this event) watching on at the final table.

Alan Smurfit RIP was the happiest man on the planet when he won his bracelet, which, until his death a few years ago, he proudly displayed as it accompanied him in every tournament he played after his win. This was not arrogance but simply a quiet pride in what he had achieved.

For me, though the most exhilarating win I witnessed personally was Donnacha O’Dea beating Johnny Chan heads up for his bracelet. The Don denied The Master.

There is both history and huge pride at stake for the highest-stakes players in the country. This is their main event, their Gold Medal.

So what about me?

Well, normally I don’t play the Omaha at Irish festivals, instead focusing on hold’em or cash games. At the WSOP I have made a few final Ohama tables, I remember one in particular, having knocked out Johnny Chan along the way, I felt the tournament was mine to win, but unfortunately, the poker gods decided differently.

Many years ago I won a big Omaha tournament in Ireland quite intoxicated, I got €30,000 (First was 40k second was 20k) but we did business and ended the tournament there and then, which in the condition I was in, I was more than happy to call it a night.

Like so many other players I am looking forward this year to pitting my skills to achieve the status of being crowned the Irish Omaha Champion. I am always happy to be participating in a sport that has brought so many highs and lows to my life, so much travel, so many interesting characters, and memorable occasions, it is a sport that I love and am passionate about and will always promote it to the best of my ability, especially in Ireland.

Andy Black will be leading 2 events in Killarney

1. Speed coaching Friday 11 am
-10 individuals, 5 mins each, back to back

2. Awaken the Poker Player Within
Saturday 11 am

Group interactive prep/coaching session

All welcome

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Born in Belfast and resident in Dublin, Andy Black is probably Ireland's most famous poker player on the world scene.

Currently sitting 2nd on the Hendon Mob for Irish players with €4.9 million in live earnings, his largest scoring coming from a 5th place in the 2005 WSOP Main Event.

A regular supporter of all IPT live events for many years, Andy will be attending all future Irish Poker Tour festivals providing support and in-person training to players.

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