January 28, 2022
Tournaments & Cash Games
Ireland has emerged from its latest round of COVID restrictions, which means live poker events, including the Irish Open, can go ahead this year.
People in Ireland have been living with COVID restrictions for longer than almost everyone else in Europe. Although there have been periods of relative normality, there have been curbs on social interactions since March 2020.
However, with Omicron regarded as the beginning of the end, Irish Prime Minster Micheál Martin has said that continued restrictions are no longer justified. As such, the end of COVID passes, face masks, capacity limits, curfews, and social distancing means live poker events can return unimpeded.
Irish Poker Open back where it belongs
The Irish Poker Open will be the main point of focus, not just for players in Ireland, but from the world over. Europe’s longest-running live event has been an annual attraction since 1980. However, due to COVID-19, the main event took place online in 2020 and 2021.
That will change this year, however. The removal of all COVID restrictions in Ireland means players can convene inside Dublin’s Citywest Hotel over the Easter weekend for the first time since 2019. A total of 42 tournaments will take place between April 11 and 18, including 14 championship events. The €1,150 ($1,300) Irish Poker Open main event tops the bill. The first of four starting flights gets underway on April 13 and the action will continue until a winner is crowned on April 18.
Complementing the side events and cash games will be the famous Irish craic. The Irish Open is regarded as one of the most enjoyable events in poker thanks, in part, to what happens off the felt. This year, with COVID restrictions in Ireland lifted, spirits are guaranteed to be high.
Norwegian Championship will bolster Irish poker schedule
If a two-year hiatus and the lifting of restrictions isn’t enough to get the party started, the addition of more poker will be. The Norwegian Championship will also take place at Citywest Hotel, just before the Irish Open.
Local gaming laws prevent the Norwegian Championship from happening in Norway, so Ireland has become its adopted home. The Norwegian Championship will run from March 31 to April 10, which means players can enjoy 19 days of live poker this Easter.
Of course, the Irish Open and the Norwegian Championship will only be available to people that can make it to Dubin’s Citywest Hotel. The good news is that Ireland’s travel restrictions are minimal right now.
Irish COVID rules: how you can travel to Ireland
As per the government’s website, anyone who’s been fully vaccinated within the last 270 days can enter Ireland without taking a COVID test. Additionally, fully vaccinated travelers won’t have to quarantine on arrival. Proof of vaccination is required, and visitors have to complete a locator form.
Anyone who hasn’t been fully vaccinated can still travel. However, they will need to show proof of prior infection (within 180 days), or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Again, if these conditions are met, quarantining on arrival isn’t necessary. Therefore, with little to stop players from descending on Dublin en masse, this year’s Irish Poker Open could be a record-breaker.
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.
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