It’s now ten years since Ian Simpson won the Irish Poker Open in Dublin for a monster cash of €265,000. It was a moment that means a lot more to him though than just a tournament title because – only minutes after lifting the trophy aloft – Ian got down on bended knee and proposed to his then-girlfriend Emma. Who, of course, said yes!
For Ian, this was a defining moment of his life. He said: “The words to describe my feelings then just don’t exist. Not only did I win the Irish Open, but Emma accepted my proposal immediately afterwards. Two astronomically big life events went perfectly at the same time. I was never the same again!”
Ian’s Irish Open victory was also a major turning point in his career as a poker player. He added: “My personal life was changed because I could buy a house with my new fiancée without a mortgage. That was a huge life worry eliminated right at the start.
“The Irish Open has also kicked off a lot of poker pros careers. Myself, Kara Scott and Neil Channing to name but a few built careers off of the back of our successes in this tournament. I’ve gone on to represent major poker brands, most recently as an 888poker Ambassador. Winning the Irish Open – having this accolade to my name – has played a big part in that. It put a spotlight on me, and I’ve done my best to represent poker in the best way that I can ever since.”
Ian’s live tournament winnings now total nearly $1.1 million. The Irish Open win remains his biggest cash but only a few months after that event, he was runner-up at UKIPT London for a further £106,869. Last year, he cashed in three Irish Open side events including 12th in the High Roller.
He said: “I think I’ve had more than my share of run good at the Irish Open but I’d love to make another deep run at it. There’s always excitement when you get a deep run, but it’s extra special to me when it’s at the Irish Open. It brings back memories of that young man running golden and having the time of his life!”
Like so many regulars, Ian considers the atmosphere at the Irish Open totally unique. He said: “I think it all stems from just how important the event is to the Irish poker community. They’re very patriotic about the event and aspiring Irish poker players treat it like a pilgrimage. Once someone has attended, they yearn to go back every year. The Irish community’s passion is infectious and they’re so warm and welcoming that the atmosphere is in a class by itself.
“The history of the event is a big part of its prestige. It’s the longest-running event in Europe and every year it has created memories for thousands of players that attend.
On top of that, Dublin is also a gorgeous city and there’s so much culture and history to explore if you’re not playing poker.”