Pensioner (89) puts his poker face on
IT'S never too late to pick up a new interest, one convert to Texas hold 'em poker has learned.
Jim Brady (89) competed against 633 poker enthusiasts at the biggest tournament of its kind in Europe at the weekend.
The retired bookmaker from Lurgan, Armagh, travelled to Killarney with his sons Jim and Paul to take part in the Ladbrokes Irish Poker Festival in the INEC.
The event is worth an estimated €4m for the local economy.
Although Mr Brady was knocked out of the competition on Saturday morning, another son, Thomas, who had travelled from England was still flying the family flag and had survived for another day.
"I'm not really a regular player, this was a once-off really but it's been very enjoyable," Mr Brady told the Irish Independent.
"There's a fabulous atmosphere here and everyone is really friendly."
Mr Brady said he had started playing classic poker "a lifetime ago" but had never played Texas hold 'em until recently.
The Bradys were joined at the three-day tournament by poker players from all over Europe, who competed for the guaranteed prize fund of €250,000.
The game continued into the small hours of this morning for the first prize of €100,000.
Poker enthusiast and Texas hold 'em promoter Carlo Cretaro from Boyle, Roscommon, said at that stage the mood had changed and things became very serious.
"These people are professional poker players and this is how they earn their bread and butter so the minds become all the more focused," he explained.
"There are people here who are superstars in their own right amongst the online community who play poker."
Among the "superstars" still in contention last night were Fergal Neilan from Sligo and Dublin's Darragh O'Kearney, who is sponsored by Bruce Poker.