For PokerStars Team Pro Fintan “easywithaces” Hand, 2023 was one of the best years of his live poker career. The former Fitzwilliam Casino dealer from Dublin won his first UKIPT Main Event title last year in Edinburgh and also had another huge score in the UKIPT Nottingham High Roller.
In fact, Fintan won more than two-thirds of his entire live tournament earnings in 2023 with over $100,000 in recorded live event cashes. It’s no surprise then that the 33-year-old father-of-one is planning to play a lot more live poker in 2024, particularly in Ireland.
He said: “The Irish Open is easily the best stop of the year – nowhere compares to it. Also, the great thing about playing poker in Ireland is that you don’t need to be playing tournaments with big buy-ins to enjoy yourself. Every table you sit on will be full of people chatting and telling stories. I forgot how much I loved that until last year’s Irish Open!”
Winning the UKIPT
Fintan grew up with the UKIPT tour so winning his first UKIPT title was very special to him. The £44,200 prize for winning UKIPT Edinburgh also put him in contention for the UKIPT Player of the Year but nothing was going to knock Irish Open champion David Docherty off the top spot.
He said: “The UKIPT means a lot to me – right from the start of my career, I was trying to win satellites online so I could go and play with the best players in Ireland and the UK. I remember playing against Liv Boeree, Jack Cody and Sam Grafton back in the day. It was a real full circle moment when I won the Main Event in Edinburgh.”
But despite Fintan’s massive poker success last year, it is moments at home in Dublin that have meant the most to him. He said: “From a life perspective, 2023 was all about my little girl. She was born in 2022 but last year was when we saw her take her first steps, heard her first words and really got to see her personality shine through. Nothing compares to that.”
Fintan is now enjoying his highest ranking on the Ireland all-time money list – 201st – but is hoping to crack the top 100 this year, as well as get his online poker career thriving once again. He said: “I did well live last year but I have to admit that it wasn’t a great year online. My volume dropped considerably so I’m going to go back to playing two to three times a week outside of the major series like SCOOP and WCOOP. I want to get a bit sharper coming into those series and it will give me a better chance when I’m playing live as well!”
Aiming to play more cash
Fintan, who has more than 130,000 followers for his regular Twitch stream and is an avid broadcaster on YouTube, is also planning to dip his toe into the cash game scene this year as well. He said: “I’ve never really played cash but I’m going to get going this year. It gives me the option to do shorter streams on Twitch of around three to four hours rather than the eight plus hours needed for a tournament. I know the cash game scene at the Irish Open is always really buzzing so maybe I’ll even sit down to a game or two there!”
Because of work commitments when he was a dealer, followed by a spell living in Malta, Fintan has only played the Irish Open twice. He played last year but his first crack at the Main Event was back in 2017. He made it all the way to the final table before busting in seventh place for €19,445. There was no forgetting Fintan’s Irish roots at the 2017 event as he was sporting a bright green, shamrock-embellished tailored suit that his Mum had bought for him and insisted he wear. He said: “I wore it in 2017, I wore it last year and I’ve pledged to wear it again this year! I’m very proud of being Irish. I’m Irish through and through and want to put Ireland on the map as much as possible.”