Poker on St. Patty’s Day: Greatest Irish poker players ever

Jon Sofen
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Posted on March 17, 2021 5:03 pm EDT

In honor of one of the world’s greatest holidays, St Patrick’s Day, we take a look at the best poker pros ever from Ireland.

Poker is a popular game in Ireland, and the country has produced many excellent poker pros over the years. Perhaps none better than Eoghan O’Dea and his father, Donnacha O’Dea.

Many old-school gamblers consider the elder O’Dea the top Irish poker player ever, and they just might be onto something. He’s a legend of the game in Europe, having competed in cash games for many years among the best pros around.

As a tournament player, Donnacha has $1,340,000 in live tournament cashes. That includes a 1998 World Series of Poker bracelet in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha tournament for $154,800. He beat the great Johnny Chan, who ranks 2nd all-time with 10 WSOP bracelets, heads-up for the title.

Donnacha also reached the WSOP Main Event final table in 1983, a 6th place finish for $43,200. His son has followed in his footsteps, having reached the WSOP Main Event in 2011 (6th place for $1,720,831). And this past summer, in the WSOP Online Bracelet Series on GGPoker, he won his first bracelet in a $400 no-limit hold’em tournament for $100,945.

Eoghan O’Dea has more than $3.2 million in live tournament cashes, good for 3rd on Ireland’s all-time list. In 2nd place is Marty Smyth ($3,885,000), who won $1 million for taking down the Sky Sports Poker Million in 2008. Eoghan O’Dea finished in 2nd place in that event for $260,000.

Saving the best for last

Ireland’s winningest tournament player, Andy Black, is perhaps the most famous Irish pro worldwide. Black appeared numerous times on televised poker shows and on ESPN’s WSOP coverage during the poker boom era. He has over $4.8 million in career live tournament cashes, which ranks him 266th in the world.

Black, who hails from Dublin, has had great success at the World Series of Poker over the years. He has 36 cashes in bracelet events for a total of $2.5 million. Most poker fans around the world remember him from the 2005 WSOP Main Event in which he finished in 5th place for $1,750,000. The Irish poker legend has always been great for poker on TV, given his charisma.

Black was previously a Full Tilt Poker pro, which was quite an honor during the poker boom era. Many of the top poker players in the world sported the FTP patch from 2005-2011 until Black Friday struck.

Featured image source: Flickr