The Monster: A Welcome Addition to Ireland’s Poker Calendar

  • Fintan Gavin has created The Monster to cater to all players, including those on a budget
  • The event will take place from April 27-30 at the Green Isle Hotel in Dublin
  • Events range from a €250 ($274) buy-in Mystery Bounty to a €600 ($658) Super High Roller
  • Players will also get the chance to try their luck against Irish poker pro Andy Black
Green Isle Hotel
The Monster will take place at the Green Isle Hotel (pictured) in Dublin at the end of April. [Image:]

Up for a challenge

Since the start of my career the Irish Open has been the centerpiece of the Irish poker calendar. It has cast such a big shadow that generally no major tournament is scheduled anywhere in Ireland for several months after.

PokerStars tried to break that rule one year by running a UK and Ireland Poker Tour and got punished with the lowest numbers ever at an Irish stop.

a €150 buy-in with a very aggressive €150,000 guarantee

This year will be different. Fintan Gavin, never a man to shrink from a challenge, is running a new event called The Monster, a mere couple of weeks and miles from the Irish Open. It’s a €150 ($164) buy-in with a very aggressive €150,000 ($164,388) guarantee. The entire festival guarantees add up to a cool quarter of a million.

The brain behind The Monster

I spoke to Fintan, the man behind the wildly successful Irish Poker Tour, ahead of the event. Commenting on the importance of hosting an event like The Monster, he said:

“The Irish Open was obviously a massive success in terms of numbers this year, but a lot of locals were a little left out. Even if the buyin was within their budget the exorbitant hotel, drink and food prices pushed the event out of the range of many Irish players. An affordable accessible hotel like the Green Isle where The Monster will be held is

crucial for recreational players operating to a budget.”

Fintan echoes the sentiments of many Irish players who were unusually absent from the Irish Open this year. Many told me they preferred to keep their powder dry for The Monster. In addition to a lower buyin for a Main Event with a huge guarantee, side events that cater to all wallets is another appeal. Fintan explained:

“We have something for everyone. In addition to the Main Event there’s a €250 ($274) buy-in Mystery Bounty, a €400 ($438) buy-in High Roller with satellites, a €600 ($658) Super High Roller (also with satellites), and a whole host of side events ranging between buyins as low as €20 ($22) to €150. Even if you don’t end up winning a big chunk of the €150,000 guaranteed Main Event prize pool, there are plenty of opportunities for a share of the other €100,000 ($109,595) guaranteed for the side events.”

One complaint I heard from several recreationals who travelled to the Irish Open to play the lowest buyin €150 side events was that many were cancelled at the last minute when they arrived there and found nothing within their price range to play. At The Monster I am confident there will be no such concerns.

The deep run of tour ambassador Andy Black at the Irish Open (he was fifth in the Main Event and chopped the HMC side event) will also add an extra dimension to proceedings as it gives players the first chance to play against Ireland’s most winning live player ever since his success. Fintan commented on the factor:

“I think our players will relish the chance to pit their wits against Andy, fresh off his recent success. I also think they’ll relish the opportunity to take the piss out of our Live Poker Strategy Expert, some clown called Dara O’Kearney, fresh off his dismal Irish Open performance where he bricked everything.

I hear he managed to flog a few books at least.”

Thanks Fintan.

A rough beast

Moving swiftly along, my favourite poem by GOAT Irish poet WB Yeats ends with the lines:

“what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

This year may well be remembered in Irish poker as the year a new raw beast, The Monster, was born. The festival runs from April 27th to April 30th in the Green Isle hotel in Clondalkin, Dublin. It should be an absolute cracker.

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