I fell in love with the Irish Open approximately 18 seconds after walking in through the doors, of what on a normal day is just a huge funciton room out at City West Hotel. It had been transformed into a little poker player's paradise, complete with 24 hour bar. There was a little céilí going on right inside the door to the left, a group of drunk scandis playing shuffleboard to the right. It was 3pm on a Thursday. The pints were in full flow. There was so many familiar faces about, with everybody in such high spirits it was fantastic to catch up with all the faces I hadn't see in months/years. This was the Irish poker player's Christmas party. I've never really felt all that much party of the Irish community, but I had an instant feeling of regret that this was the 1st time I'd set foot inside the Irish Open for (mostly because I was never in the country but still), let alone actually played the main event. I was going to enjoy this and make the most of it regardless of how the tournament played out.