Thursday, 15 July 2010


By Mick McCloskey

I recently heard the news that Paul Spillane, head of poker at for about the last two and a half years, is to leave the company. He intends to spend the summer in Las Vegas and in Spain before making a decision on his future.
I first met Paul in the late nineties or possibly the year 2,000, playing with him in various poker tournaments, mostly in Birmingham. At that time the Rainbow Casino in the city was one of the very few places in the UK that ran poker tournaments on a fairly regular basis. The Rainbow was the home of the Great Britain Poker Championship, one of the most prestigious titles to be had at that time. If memory serves me correct, it was a Pot Limit Hold’em affair. The Rainbow closed its poker room just around the time that poker started to boom in the UK and Europe. Perhaps it was a good thing that they did close as the premises were pretty cramped even in those far off days and would not have been able to cope with many more players coming through the doors. Anyway, Paul served his time playing on the poker circuit and came to Boylespoker with all that valuable experience under his belt. He knew many of the top UK pros at the time and shared a house/flat with Neil Channing, among others, for a time. He was able to use this insight into the mindset of the journeyman poker pro, and the contacts he had built up, to help develop the business of Boylepoker in Ireland and further afield. had been involved in sponsoring some tournaments in Ireland before Paul joined them but, I think they would themselves admit that this sponsorship was not that successful. With Paul’s involvement in a new sponsorship venture, all that went before could be forgotten. Boylespoker took on an existing event, organised by Stephen McClean, and transformed it into one of the most popular tournaments in Europe. I refer of course to the International Poker Open, held in October each year in Dublin. From the outset, it set new records for attendances at European poker events but it was more than just a numbers thing. Paul used his contacts to persuade a good number of top UK and Irish poker pros to come and play in an event they would never otherwise have considered attending. It gave a lot of aspiring amateurs the chance to play against top pros in a pretty well structured and very well run two day event, for the price of a buy-in to their local monthly club special. In addition, all the pros and invited celebrities had a bounty on their heads and could be identified by the Sunderland football tops they all had to wear. It also gave the pros the chance to relax and mix with each other, and with all the players, at one of the most fun weekends of the year. The hotel bar always does brisk business over the weekend.
The other thing that was new to Boylespoker was the sponsorship deals given to a number of top Irish players, the first of which was Marty Smyth. Boyles made the inspired decision to sponsor Marty shortly after his win at the Irish Open. He managed to repay their faith in him by going on to win a WSOP title and the live televised Poker Million, wearing the Boylepoker logo. They also got involved in sponsorship of the Poker Show, featuring Jesse May and Padraig Parkinson, and in Irish Poker Rankings. With all this and player blogs and player videos on their website, it gives the feel of a poker community, giving users the chance to leave comments on the website.
In a way, I think Paul and his team have managed, in a pretty short space of time, to transform the Irish poker scene for the better and, to my mind, has brought to the forefront of Irish poker and left the company probably in a much healthier state than before he came along. I personally, and all here at Poker Europa, want to thank Paul for all his work in the past and to wish him well in the future in whatever he decides to do.



With the main event of the WSOP kicking off on 5th July, those who can’t make it to Vegas can have a go instead in Waterford where the Irish Series of Poker gets underway on 6th July. The organisers are Big Slick Events and the venue is the Tower Hotel, where special room rates have been negotiated for players. The schedule includes a PLO event and a Ladies tournament. The main €500 (10% reg included) event starts on Friday 9th July and features a very good looking structure with a 20,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels, rising to 75 minute levels for day 2 and 90 minute levels for day 3. Full details can be found at


Another festival takes place in the seaside resort of Tramore, Co. Waterford from 22nd to 25th July. The event is sponsored by in association with The Olympus Casino and The venue is the Grand Hotel, where a special deal has been negotiated for players. The main 3 day event has a buy in of €400 + 40 and features a 15,000 starting stack and 60 minute levels. Full details can be found in the Irish Festivals section of
For any queries, call Brian O’Keeffe on 086 103 5798 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 086 103 5798 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to

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