Ireland - Where the Europeans' love of Hold'em began!

It's a truism to say that the Irish love a bit of a flutter. There is the saying "the luck of the Irish" after all, and if you've seen the movie "Waking Ned" you'll know how excited the Irish can get about potentially landing a fortune on the lottery.

Poker is just as popular in Ireland as it is in the rest of the world, but players all over Europe have to say a special thank-you to Ireland for the current popularity of games such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha, as it was an Irish poker player who first brought these variants of poker over to Europe.

This poker player was the legendary Terry Rogers. Nicknamed "Red Menace" because of his bright red hair, Rogers was an Irish bookmaker and poker fan who would regularly jet over to the United States in the 1970s to watch the World Series of Poker. It was whilst over there he discovered Texas Hold'em and Omaha, two poker variants that were virtually unheard of in Europe.

When back home in Ireland Rogers formed "The Eccentrics Club" and made moves to hold the first Irish Poker Open, way back in 1980. This tournament - still held today and sponsored by Paddy Power, a member of the iPoker network just like sites such as William Hill, Titan Poker and Bet365 - is now the longest-running tournament in Europe and the second-longest running in the whole world, after the WSOP. It's also Europe's largest tournament and is run annually over the Easter weekend each year.

Of course, if you are based in Ireland and want to play poker, you don't have to wait for Easter each year to enjoy a few hands. There are plenty of online poker rooms that accept Irish players, and here I list a few of the very best:

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One of the best iPoker network sites where any poker player can be a "Winner" if they play the game right!

Sign up with Winner Poker to receive a massive 250% First Deposit Bonus available up to a mammoth €1,500 + £10 FREE!

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Enjoy your poker playing at Titan Poker, one of the best online poker sites under the iPoker Network umbrella.

Join thousands of your fellow players at the tables and play Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and more!

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PartyPoker was THE No.1 place to play poker before it was hit by the ban on US players that rocked the poker world in 2011.

Now PartyPoker is back with a complete new look and feel. The question is - can it regain that coveted number one spot?

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The Poker Room from one of the UK's biggest bookmakers - William Hill have been around over eighty years!

Enjoy your poker backed by one of UK's most familiar high-street names - there's a tasty bonus waiting as well!

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Bet365 began life in a portakabin in Stoke-on-Trent in England and are now one of the biggest online gaming portals in the world!

One of the few big poker sites to offer a no-deposit bonus - grab your free €5 when you sign up! FREE money to begin your poker career!

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Get something for nothing at 888poker.com. Sign up and you'll receive a free $20 welcome bonus - no deposit necessary.

You can play Hold'em, Omaha and Stud at 888poker, plus the adrenalin-fuelled "Snap Poker" especially for speed poker addicts.

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BetOnline is another one of the developing poker rooms that finally are accepting players who are based in the United States!

If you like to gamble on more than poker, then BetOnline could be the right choice for you - sports betting is also available!

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Aced Poker is perhaps the longest-server poker room who have continued to accept US-based players, having been around since 2007.

They are part of the extensive Australia-based Merge Gaming Network meaning there's always plenty of players around for you to compete with.

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If you're an Omaha High or High-low lover, then you might think yourself short-changed at poker rooms as Texas Hold'em seems to be the number one game.

Not so at Mansion Poker - Omaha is very much the favored game, and there are plenty of extra benefits for Omaha Players!

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Full Flush Poker is part of the Equity poker network - a great new network designed to bring the best for online poker players

If you're based in the United States you be pleased to hear that Full Flush Poker is open to USA-based players!

Very sadly, Terry "Red Menace" Rogers passed away in 1999, but the Irish and European poker worlds will always remember the man who was largely responsible for starting the growth in the interest of poker, and in particular Hold'em and Omaha, outside of the United States in the late 1980s.

Rogers is not the only Irish poker player who has had world-wide success. Noel Furlong is one of the few non-United States players to have won the WSOP main event, as he did in 1999. Noel has also won the Irish Poker title twice, in 1987 and 1989. Football fans will recognise the name of Tony Cascarino, winner of nearly 90 caps for the Irish International Football side (even though it was later revealed that it was questionable as to whether he actually qualified to play for Ireland), and who became a semi-professional poker player after he had retired from sport.

It's perhaps nice to know, if you're an Irish-based player, that every time you sit down at a poker table - online or real-world - that you're playing slight homage to the late, great Terry Rogers. I hope that "the luck of the Irish" is with you and you're soon amassing heaps and heaps of top-end poker chips!

Hall of Fame

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