5 Famous Irish Gamblers Of All Time

These are the greatest high rollers from Ireland.

Ireland might not be a famous country because of its gambling activities. When most people think of Ireland, they probably imagine beautiful sights, the many pubs, and the notorious Irish Whiskey.

But, Irish people had a noticeable gambling activity over the years, and they surely deserve to be more in the spotlight, and, because of that, we put together an article showcasing the five most famous Irish Gamblers.

Most of these are old-schoolers that have gambled for decades; they are all skilled gamblers with luck on their side. If you’re involved in the gambling ecosystem you might recognize some of these names but, if not, you will probably find out about a handful of fascinating people in this article.

1. Marty Smyth

Marty Smyth is an Irish poker player that has been playing this game since his early teens, and, since then he managed to have a couple of deep runs in live tournaments, and get a handful of awards for his poker activity over the years. He played three times at the final table of the Irish Poker Open, one of the most famous European poker tournaments, and even managed to finish first in 2007 after defeating the other 708 players in the four-day event.

Smyth also managed to finish at the final table of the Poker Million in three consecutive years, and even finish first in 2008. However, the game that really put Smyth on the map was the WSOP main event from 2008, where he managed to finish first and secure himself an honorary WSOP bracelet. Marty was also nominated for two European awards, Player of the Year 2008 and Best Tournament Performance 2008.

2. Noel Furlong

J.J Furlong, with the nickname of Noel, is an Irish businessman that has played poker for only a few decades now and managed to get some impressive awards in his career. He became a millionaire thanks to his businesses, and he received the nickname Noel thanks to the fact that he was born on Christmas Day.

The nickname stuck with him even in his poker career that only started in 1984. By 1989, only a few years later he managed to play at the final table of the notorious World Series of Poker, together with Phil Hellmuth that finished first. Only ten years later, in 1999 he managed to finish first in the WSOP main event and defeat at the tables professional poker players, and former champions.

Because he runs a successful carpet business, he is not that active in the poker ecosystem anymore even if he has a WSOP bracelet, he is only playing the WSOP, and occasionally tournaments in Ireland and Europe.

3. Andy Black

Andy Black, from Dublin, Ireland with the nickname of “The Monk” is an old-school poker player that managed to finish in the top of multiple live tournaments but, he never got the first place and the award that comes with it.

He’s been playing cards with his mother since childhood but, he only started playing poker professionally in 1986 while he was studying law in Dublin. He’s had a long poker career, his two deepest runs in a big poker tournament being in 2005 when he played at the final table of the WSOP, and later at the final table of the European Poker Tour.

He’s had a huge poker career in which he stumbled upon various professional poker players, one of them being Daniel Negreanu who kicked him out of the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2006. Andy Black is still playing poker today.

4. Donnacha O’Dea

Donnacha O’Dea, often called “The Don” is a professional poker player from Ireland, a former swimmer that represented Ireland at the Olympics in 1968. He has a rather long poker career, O’Dea played at the final table of the WSOP Limit Hold’em event in 1983.

He managed to win a WSOP bracelet at a WSOP Pot Omaha event in 1998 where he defeated the world champion, Johnny Chan.

He also has a son, Eoghan O’Dea, who’s a notorious online gambler that mostly spends his time in an online casino where he managed to have a couple of deep runs in specific tournaments.

5. Alan Smurfit

Alan Smurfit might not be the most notorious Irish poker player but, he surely has an impressive poker career. He is well known in Irish casinos and first appeared on TV playing poker in 2004 as part of The Gaming Club World Poker Championship.

He played multiple games before becoming famous but, what put him on the map is his activity in the World Series of Poker, Pot Limit Omaha tournament from 2007. That was his first ever WSOP tournament, and he managed to finish first and win an honorary WSOP bracelet.

In the WSOP game he finished first, he ended up playing heads up for nine hours, one of the longest heads-up games from a tournament in gambling history. He also managed to finish at the top in a couple of big tournaments, and, also play at the final table of both the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour. He is now retired and lives in Miami.

Probably there are many more Irish gamblers that deserve some spotlight but, because of the awards these five poker players got, and their impressive gambling careers, they are those that made it into the top five.

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