Irish PokerStars Ambassador Fintan "EasyWithAces" Hand will be competing at this year’s Irish Open. Fintan hails from Dublin and now lives just a 15-minute walk from the RDS venue but, thanks to an eight-year stint living in Malta, he has only ever played the Main Event once before in 2017. On that debut occasion, he made it all the way to the final table before busting in seventh place for €19,445.
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There was no forgetting Fintan’s Irish roots at the 2017 event as he was sporting a bright green, shamrock-embellished tailored suit that his Mum bought for him and insisted he wear. He said: “I’ve pledged to wear it again this year if I make it past Day 1! I’m very proud of being Irish. I’m Irish through and through and want to put Ireland on the map as much as possible.”
Fintan is planning a busy schedule at this year’s event and aims to attend every day. He said: “Because I lived in Malta for so long, I haven’t shown my face that much at Irish events so I really want to meet as many different people as possible and get to know the community. I’m aiming to play poker every day there, whether it’s a tournament or just a cash game. I’m obviously very excited – it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Like so many players, he relishes the Irish Open atmosphere. He added: “I feel that the Irish Open is a bit like a poker players’ Christmas party! Everyone comes together and while everyone wants to win, it’s a lot more community-based than a lot of events. Everyone wants to run as deep as possible but the tournaments are a lot more affordable so people can get more involved.”
Only a few months after Fintan’s final table appearance in 2017, he was signed up by PokerStars as a member of Team PokerStars Online. He now has more than 130,000 followers for his five-times-a-week Twitch stream and is also an avid broadcaster on YouTube and TikTok.
Online, Fintan has had huge success. In the space of three years, he racked up a hat-trick of SCOOP victories starting in 2020, when he won a $1k Afternoon Deep Stack for $73,653. The following year he won the $5k PKO High Roller for $232,156, and followed that up in 2022 with a third title in the $2k 8-Max, PKO Sunday Warm-Up.
Fintan is hoping for another deep run in this year’s Irish Open Main Event but says his main aim is just to enjoy himself. He said: “I don’t play live poker much so I do treat it recreationally. I’d like to make it to Day 2 or 3 but I just hope to avoid a horrible exit like 2017! My strategy is really just to be going in and enjoying myself. If I play something every day, then winning an event doesn’t seem out of the question. I feel I’ve got as good a chance as anyone else.”
As well as Fintan Hand, other PokerStars Team Pros who will be attending this year’s Irish Open include Ben Spragg, Parker Talbot and Georgina James while Team Pro Nick Walsh will be joining the commentary team alongside Joe Stapleton, James Hartigan and 2017 Irish Open champion Griffin Benger.
Photo credit: Irish Open, PokerStars