AN IRISH poker player was celebrating yesterday after scooping $100,000 and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet - 22 years after his father won the same title.
Eoghan ODea, 35, from Dalkey, Dublin, would usually be in Las Vegas competing for big money prizes but the Covid-19 restrictions meant this year he was limited to playing online.
The talented player, who has been playing professionally for about 15 years, was up until 5.30am before clinching his title - and with it became only the fifth Irish person, alongside his dad Donnacha, to win the WSOP bracelet.
Eoghan said his father, who won his bracelet in 1998, was the first person he messaged after he officially joined the elite club.
He told the Irish Sun: I probably wouldnt be playing if it wasnt for him. He taught me when I was younger.
He wouldnt usually be up that early but he was awake at about 6am today when I messaged him.
Hes pretty proud alright. Its great to win the cash but the World Series of Poker bracelets are really prestigious.
We both have one now which is brilliant. My aim now is to go one better than him and win another. That would be unreal.
Eoghan said he has been playing since he was teenager but started taking it seriously when he was about 20.
He added: I was about 16 or 17 when I started really playing. I was maybe 21 or 22 when I started playing professionally.
In fact the first time I played in Las Vegas I was only 20 so I was playing illegally.
In some of the smaller tournaments you can get away with using a fake id but for the World Series of Poker, which is loads of events, you need to have a passport.
So I guess Ive been over there every year playing since, its usually about five to six weeks in June and July but events go on throughout the year.
Eoghan, who is single, became the first Irish player to win a gold bracelet since 2008. He beat over 2,000 players in the WSOP Event #51 at online poker room GGPoker to do so.
His father Donncha was a swimmer for Ireland in the 1968 Olympics before turning his own hand to professional poker.
The WSOP has run since 1970 and in past years would draw tens of thousands of players from all over the world to Las Vegas.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year is the first in which the events have not taken place live in Nevada, and have moved online instead.
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The WSOP Online events run at GGPoker from July 19-September 6 and as of Sunday over $59,000,000 in prizes have been won and more than 129,000 entries recorded in the events so far.
But despite Eoghans huge win in the early hours of yesterday morning, its only a fraction of his biggest win at the WSOP.
He added: I finished sixth over all in 2011 and won $1.6 million. Thats the biggest Ive ever won."
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