Brian McNamara – Cash Desk Manager

Brian McNamara – Cash Desk Manager

Cash Desk Manager Brian McNamara is certainly one of the longest-serving members of staff at the Irish Open. He first got involved back in 2005 and has worked every single event held since then.

His involvement in poker began in the early 2000s where he was steadily working up the ranks at the Merrion Casino Club and Paul O’Reilly’s Colossus Casino Club. The 2004 European Poker Tour Dublin festival, which was held at the Merrion, was his first major tournament. He was also Cash Desk Manager for the Norwegian Poker Championships and when that started running back-to-back with the Irish Open, became Cash Desk Manager for both events.

Brian has since used his background in computer programming to transform the Irish Open cash desk – turning it from an operation dependent on duplicate books and loose sheets of paper to a streamlined, digitised system. Cash desk processes now include tracking/reporting for staffing as well as tournament prize processing – which dramatically speeds up payouts for everyone who cashes in an event.

He said: “The Irish Open is the highlight of my working year but it’s always a big challenge and the stress levels can be quite high! I used to say every year that “this year will be my last” but nowadays I’m already planning upgrades before the dust has even settled on the current one.”

Under Brian’s stewardship, the cash desk team has grown from four people to 10 and is now open 24 hours a day. He added: “It gives me a great sense of pride seeing my own impact on the event, but my team of cashiers are excellent too and make my job much easier. To give Paul and JP a lot of credit, they have never refused any requests of mine. So much so, that when I jokingly asked for a TV so the cashiers could watch the football, I was told ‘ok’. The cashiers will hate me for turning down the offer.”

Despite all his years working at poker events, Brian confesses that he still has almost no knowledge of poker. He said: “I don’t even know the winning hands. But if you need someone to run a cash desk for you then I’m your man!!!” That said, his favourite Irish Open moment is a poker one; in 2011, Niall Smyth turned a €10 horse racing bet into a satellite buy-in, won a ticket to the Main Event and then went on to win the whole thing for €550,000.

Born in County Kildare, Brian has worked at dozens of poker tournaments over the years including the Norwegian Poker Championships, the Irish Winter Festivals of Poker, EPT Dublin and WPT Ireland. He said: “There is nothing that compares to the Irish Poker Open though. Come for the poker, come back for the craic (and the poker). It is no surprise to me that the event grows every year, it’s more than just a poker tournament.”