Stacks of craic: The ultimate guide to the Irish Poker Open

The busy tournament floor at the 2023 Irish Poker Open
Author Adam Hampton
Adam Hampton
Posted on: March 21, 2024 02:04 PDT

Going back almost as long as the WSOP, the Irish Poker Open (IO) is the oldest regular tournament series outside the USA. Not only does it have history on its side, it’s also renowned as one of the most friendly and fun series in the poker calendar.

Whether you’re one of the many players who return each year, or making your first trip to the jewel in Dublin’s poker crown, we’ve collected everything you need to know to make your IO experience as silky smooth as a pint of the local Guinness.

The When

The action begins on March 25. The venue will open at noon and the registration desk at 1pm, with the first tournament - the €350 NLHE 6-Max - starting at 2pm.

Multiple tournaments are running every day from March 25 to April 1, with the final tourney on the schedule being the €150 NLHE Turbo (single re-entry) at 8pm on the last day of the series.

The €1m GTD Main Event kicks off at noon on March 27, with more starting flights at the same time on March 28 and 29 (when there will also be a turbo Day 1D at 8pm). Day 2 will be played on March 30, Day 3 on March 31 and the final on April 1.

The Where

The Irish Open takes place at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) in Ballsbridge, Dublin. If you’re using a maps app, ‘Dublin 4, D04 N2A4’ should get you there, and secure parking is available for €10 a day.

The RDS Main Hall will host all tournaments, housing 130 poker tables, the registration desk, cash desk, along with drinks and snacks concessions.

Cash games will be found in Hall 3, with almost 50 poker tables and more drinks and snacks available.

Hall 6 will house the ‘Jokers Lounge’: a special entertainment area offering the likes of beer pong, karaoke, foosball and much more, as well as live music every night. More fun can be found in the Centurion Bar.

A changing selection of food trucks will be available at the front of the venue.

Empty poker tables in the Royal Dublin Society Main Hall

The What

A packed schedule of events includes tournaments at varying buy-in levels, from the €150 turbo, to the €200 Mini Irish Open, all the way up to the €1,150 Main Event and the €5k Luxon Pay High Roller. You can find the full tournament schedule here.

Most tourneys will offer late registration for the first 8 levels. The exceptions are the Main Event and Mini Irish Open, which will accept late registration for the first 10 levels. Multi-day events (excluding the above) will offer late registration up to the start of Day 2, while the €350 Heads-Up Championship will not offer late registration at all, will be capped at 64 players, and is expected to sell out well in advance.

All events offer either a single or unlimited re-entry, with the exception of the Heads-Up Championship, and daily live satellites will be running all week using the ‘milestone’ format.

Cash games will run around the clock, with stakes starting from €1/€2 NLHE and PLO, with other variants available on demand.

A player shows off a big prize won during a mystery bounty poker tournament at the Irish Open

The How

Cash game registration will be handled by an automated system - players can transfer funds to the cage using Luxon Pay, and there will be an ATM available at the venue.

Luxon Pay is also the preferred method of payment for tournament registration, allowing players to register for their chosen tournaments online in just a few taps. Once registered, players should check in at the registration desk to collect their seat assignment.

Using Luxon Pay for advanced tournament registration automatically enters a player into a special daily raffle, with €100 in Luxon Pay credit awarded every night.

If you wish to buy into a tournament using cash, debit or credit cards, head to the cash desk to purchase chips, which you can then use for tournament registration. It’s also possible to buy into tournaments from your PokerStars or Paddy Power account.

Registration for the Main Event will be open all week, while registration for all other tournaments can be done up to two hours before the start of the tourney. All players must provide photo ID.

The Who

Who you’ll see at the tables is not something we can predict, but given the stellar reputation of the Irish Poker Open you’re likely to run into a poker icon or two, plus more than a few Canadians.

PokerStars’ James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton will be hosting the live stream from the venue, from March 29 to the series conclusion, alongside 2017 IO Champion Griffin Benger and various other big names from the poker world.

You can catch all the action - on a 30-minute delay - care of the Irish Open YouTube channel and PokerStars’ Twitch and YouTube channels.

Irish poker pro Fintan Hand wears a shamrock suit at the Irish Poker Open Fintan Hand Danny Maxwell Photography - DMP

The Why

With its legendarily great atmosphere, comfortable venue, friendly crowd and some massive prize pools - including €1,000,000 guaranteed in the Main Event - it’s all-but impossible to find anyone with a bad word to say about this famous annual poker series.

If you’re a tournament fan in or near Dublin, or able to travel next week, the question really should be: why not?

Dublin: What to do away from the tables

Dublin is a major European capital, with plenty of attractions to grab your attention away from the felt. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.

The Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse

Take a tour behind the scenes of two of Dublin's most famous exports. Whiskey-lovers will enjoy sampling one of the nation's favorite spirits, comparing different whiskies and learning about the rich history of Jameson - a tipple first distilled in Dublin in 1780. The Guinness Storehouse, meanwhile, is an iconic Dublin institution, with all tours including a trip to the sky-high Gravity Bar - a great spot from which to view the beautiful city below. It's possible to book tickets to each of these recommended spots in a single package.

Trinity College Dublin

History buffs should check out this 16th century seat of learning, a bastion of culture and academia which has been educating scholars since 1592. Notable graduates include the writers Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels) and Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot). Guided tours are available, but simply taking a walk around its striking quads and architecture is the perfect antidote to the stress of a bad beat.

Temple Bar

You won't find a temple, though you will find plenty of bars in Dublin's 'cultural quarter'. Situated by the river Liffey, this area is extremely popular with fun-seekers looking for the ' craic' for which the city is rightly famous. Great bars, clubs and restaurants make Temple Bar a must for any visitors to the city, but there's more to it than nightlife, with numerous galleries, theaters, markets and museums open during the day.

Dublin: Food and accomodation

Finding a place to stay near the venue will make life easier and allow you to focus on playing your a-game without having to cross a new city each day. And with plenty of restaurants to choose from, you'll always find something to please your taste buds and keep you fueled up.


Intercontinental Dublin: A few minutes' walk from the RDS, this five-star hotel features a pool, spa and multiple dining options.

Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge: This four-star hotel is equally close to the RDS, offers on-site parking, in-house restaurants and wheelchair-accessible rooms and facilities.

Waterloo Townhouse & Suites: Located half a mile from the RDS, this converted 19th century townhouse mixes a taste of old Dublin with the latest modern conveniences. Original features such as marble fireplaces and Georgian shutters give a sense of grandeur, and it's possible to book an entire apartment, including kitchen facilities.

Dylan Dublin: This five-star boutique hotel offers luxurious suites and comfortable rooms, with its restaurant, bar and terrace providing a place to recharge or socialize with friends. Its location, under a mile from the RDS, means you can easily make your way to 'work' each day on foot.

Hilton Dublin: A little over a mile from the RDS, the Hilton provides a cheaper alternative for visitors to the city, without compromising on comfort. On-site parking, a bar and bistro can cater to your dining needs - or just treat yourself with some room service.


The Lobster Pot: A silver-service restaurant set around an open fireplace, The Lobster Pot is a great place to try the local seafood, as well as Irish beef dishes, with an extensive wine list.

Girl and the Goose Restaurant: Specializing in Irish and French cuisine, this hot spot is located close to the RDS and offers high-class fare at affordable prices. If you're traveling with your family you're sure to appreciate the dedicated Kids' corner, allowing parents to dine in peace. And yes, they serve goose.

Mae: This chic dining destination comes from award-winning chef Grainne O'Keefe, with a €75 set menu taking in classic European haute cuisine, alongside an impressive list of suggested wine pairings.

Pitt Bros BBQ: If you're looking for something a little more informal, Dublin's first BBQ joint could be up your street. Burgers, steaks, wings and ribs are served 'til late, and its location in Temple Bar means it's the perfect spot to soak up some liquid refreshment - or 'line your stomach' before venturing out for the evening.

The Irish Poker Open starts Monday, March 25th and runs through April 1st.

The €1m GTD Main Event is a four-day event with a €1,150 buy-in and four starting flights, starting March 27. Head to the  Irish Poker Open site for more details, including a full tournament schedule.

Images Courtesy of Danny Maxwell//PokerStars Live/Irish Poker Open