He may only be 23-years-old, but Drumlish native, Padriag O’Neill has taken the on-line poker scene by storm in recent months and is beginning to earn himself an esteemed reputation on the circuit, after bagging $10,000 and winning two top tournaments this year.
The local lad, who is the son of Paddy and Eileen, Monaduff has a primary degree in history and geography from NUI, Maynooth, but is happy “for the moment” to focus his energies in, on-line poker, and is seriously considering the game as a full time career option.
“I’ve seen it all,” he said. “There is no point in getting upset if you get sucked out on, it’s only a game isn’t it?”
With $10,000 under his belt, O’Neill points to the fact that “making the final table” is one of his greatest personal achievements when participating in the game. “I first got involved through playing in a home game, so I’m playing now for around three and a half years and I mix playing online tournaments with live cash. I hadn’t much of an interest in poker until the weekly house game was started in Drumlish on a Friday night back in the summer of 2008, and then I started to play online regularly from 2010.”
Away from the excitement of poker, the Drumlish native who attended Drumlish NS and Moyne Community School says he is a keen Gaelic football fan, and if he wins big bucks on the poker circuit, he will probably “go to Las Vegas”. “I’ve been in over 5000 online tournaments, with live events less than 100,” the poker ace added.
O’Neill competes in tournaments that consist of between 100 and 300 players, with entry varying form $11 to $215. “It averages out at about $80 per entry for me, as I normally play eight at a time,” he explained further. “The number of people in each tournament varies greatly, and in any given night I could play up to 50 different tournaments, all of which are extremely competitive.”
So, with his game on the up, the chips are down for the 23-year-old Longford man – what got him to this point?
“I’ve worked a lot on my game - reading different articles and watching different videos on poker,” the champ explained further. “I’ve learned the maths and, I have been very lucky as well, because I was coached by some brilliant players from England and Ireland.”
Results are what matter at the end of the day and, so winning two major tournaments has certainly enhanced O’Neill’s reputation on the poker circuit. “Yes, winning the tournaments has helped me and in the short term the next big event for me is in Prague,” he added. Then the WPT comes to Ireland in January and I plan to play in that. Long term I just want to continue to improve and the results will look after themselves.”