Paddy, whose full name is Patrick Hicks, passed away last Saturday the 26th. Paddy has been in the poker arena for decades and had grown to become part and parcel of the Irish poker community. His popular stake out was Fitzwilliam Card Club within Dublin, where his presence will be greatly missed. He lived in Hamilton Street.

Paddy, who is survived by his children, Billy; Sharon; Yvonne; as well as Paula, was not just admired at the poker tables for his playing prowess. He was also popular away from the games. He had an admirable demeanour that drew people to him. Whether he was playing Irish poker or the conventional poker as known worldwide, Paddy was evidently an experienced hand.

Is Irish Poker any different?

Well, Irish Poker is one variant of Hold’em, which has protocols most poker players are familiar with. It, obviously, has its distinct features, like the player being dealt 4-hole cards in place of 2 pre-flop; two of which are soon discarded – actually immediately following the flop round of the betting. This form of poker is offered both as a No Limit format as well as a Pot Limit format.

During this mourning period, both online poker players and those who play in casinos and other brick and mortar venues within Ireland are united in remembering one of their own. Paddy’s demise follows that of another elderly Irish poker player, Liam Flood, who passed away slightly over a year ago. Liam was also admired as a gentleman. In fact, his nickname was ‘The Gentleman’.

Liam left an indelible mark on the poker scene in Ireland, having played a major role in the establishment of the Irish Poker Open Tournament. His prowess as a poker player was also underlined by his two major winnings of the tournament – in 1990 as well as 1996. He passed away at 71yrs of age.

Both Patrick and Liam were poker veterans who could pride themselves with having witnessed the evolvement of the poker scene in Ireland, from the betting game of a relatively small community to becoming a popular game for people of all walks of life. That does, in no way, mean that playing of poker has ever been curtailed in Ireland, but it has had its hiccups too, like in many other countries.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Irish have always had a liking for poker, more or less like their beer, the state laws on gambling became a little too tight in 1956, and a good number of casinos closed down. However, as the saying goes, where there is will there is a way. The Irish were keen to identify loopholes in their new state poker law. Shrewd operators opened gambling venues in the name of clubs and thus returned poker and other gambling activities with a bang. Of course, today, casinos in Ireland operate without concealing the fact that they are gambling arenas, and there are fourteen of them well established and buzzing with betting activity.

Today, as Ireland’s poker fraternity remembers with admiration the life of Patrick Hicks, the elderly folk cannot miss to relish the long way they have traveled, with online poker and other online gambling activities becoming accessible to gaming lovers in addition to the games in brick and mortar casinos. Ireland is way ahead of many countries when it comes to the vibrancy of poker. One may wish to point out, for example, that poker players have opportunity to play or watch live poker in eight well established casinos. In fact, the Emerald Casino, which is said to be Ireland’s largest and situated within Dublin, boasts of 24 games tables; 24 gaming machines; plus 22 poker tables.