Legendary poker player and 2022 Irish Open champion Steve O’Dwyer will be competing at this year’s tournament to defend his Main Event title. O’Dwyer, who has lived in Dublin for over ten years, won a stunning victory in the city last year when he smashed through a field of more than 2,000 entries to take down the €1,150 buy-in event.
His bravura performance – which included busting every single one of his final table opponents – secured him a €318,700 payday. Not a big cash by O’Dwyer standards but he says that his victory at the Irish Open means more to him than any other.
When he was interviewed last year by Irish Open host Laura Cornelius, O’Dwyer was visibly full of emotion. This week he added: “I was actually pretty choked up. I had never won a 2,000 live player tournament before. I’ve won nearly 30 tournaments but most of them were high rollers and super high rollers with fewer than 100 players. The biggest event I had won before the Irish Open was the EPT Monte Carlo in 2013 and that was 531 players.”
Last year’s Irish Open was also one of the only live tournaments that O’Dwyer had played since before the pandemic. He said: “I had hardly played any poker at all for six months and, other than two events in Cyprus in 2021, no live poker for over two years. I had also had a brutal time playing online in 2021 so getting back to live poker was what I was really looking forward to.”
There was also the fact that O’Dwyer was winning in the city he has made his home. Although he is American and was born in Colorado, O’Dwyer’s Irish heritage means a lot to him. His grandparents were both born in Ireland and he has an Irish passport. He said: “All my ancestors are from Ireland on that side of my family. It’s a very special place and the people are amazing. I’ve lived almost half my life in Europe and being in Ireland is great. I love it.”
Now 40, O’Dwyer has more won more than $33 million at live tournaments and is 14th on the world all-time money list. However, he still loves competing at the Irish Open and has played it numerous times since he made his debut there in 2012. He said: “I always play it if I can. I had known about it ever since I first got into poker. I was just fascinated that there were Irish Open results from 1981. That’s a really old historic tournament and I thought it would be really cool to play it – just for the history of it and the fact that it’s still running every year. My Irish Passport makes the event extra special.”
Since last year’s Irish Open, O’Dwyer has added another $2 million to his live tournament haul and is currently in the Bahamas competing at this year’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The PCA is familiar territory for him and it’s also where he had his biggest ever live cash – $1.8 million in 2015 after taking down the $100k Super High Roller.
The €1,050 buy-in Irish Open costs a fraction of his normal buy-ins but O’Dwyer is really looking forward to April’s event. The eight-day festival is running from April 3 to April 10 at the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge and features a €1 million guaranteed Main Event. Satellites are running on PokerStars, Paddy Power Poker as well as numerous sites on the iPoker network. For more information on how you can win your way to the Irish Open, click here.