Raph Verdugo – Friend of the Irish Open

Raph Verdugo


Canadian father-of-three Raph Verdugo is a massive Irish Open fan and has been competing at the festival since 2016.

Originally from Montreal in Quebec, he first took up poker at the tender age of nine while working as a caddy at his local golf course. On rainy days, he and his friends would play seven-card stud and five-card draw as they waited to be called out on the course. When he was 22, Raph started working on cruise ships and learned Texas Hold’em. Once back on dry land, he settled in Vegas and further honed his game playing cash games and the occasional tournament.

He returned to Canada with his wife after the birth of their first child but has continued to play poker recreationally. The couple now live in Calgary where Raph works as the sales manager at a construction company.

He said: “I had a lot of Irish friends while I was growing up and had always wanted to visit Ireland. I thought there was no better way to do it than getting to play poker as well so came over in 2016. To be honest, I was hooked from the moment I arrived. I love the laughter, the smiles, the music, the total environment that is Dublin and also, as a tourist, there is so much to do on your day off. Everything that Dublin has to offer appeals to me. The people of Ireland are their national treasure!”

Raph has cashed numerous times at the Irish Open but his best results to date have been winning the €150 PLO tournament in 2022 and finishing tenth in the €2k High Roller the same year. He added: “No venues have measured up to the Irish Open. It’s a poker experience that will always have you coming back for more.”

Fellow Canadians now have a wealth of options to qualify online for Irish Poker Open 2024. PokerStars are offering satellites in Ontario while iPoker sites Bet365, Champion Poker, Coolbet, Guts, Redstar, TitanBet and William Hill are all offering satellites in Canadian states excluding Ontario.

You can find Raph on Facebook and Instagram.