Ken Doherty aiming for a big break in €800,000 poker game
Former world snooker champion Ken Doherty hopes to give the world's top poker players a run for their money in a world event worth almost €800,000 this weekend.
The 42-year-old Dubliner is among 333 registered players who were sponsored or paid €2,500 each to take part in the first World Poker Tour (WPT) tournament to be played on these shores.
The master snooker player will be playing Texas Hold 'Em at Dublin's Citywest Hotel until at least the early hours of this morning in a bid for a share of the big prize, which will see the winner walk away with an around €200,000.
Seated at a table in the hushed convention centre with hundreds of other poker pros, he said: "You're hoping to win the whole lot. It would be great, wouldn't it? But it's a fantastic tournament and it's great to be at the first WPT tournament in Ireland."
"I've played in a few big events at the Irish Open and loved every minute of them. I love poker. A lot of the snooker players on the tour play poker. We all have a great time trying to take each other's money," he said.
"And of course, the bragging rights are worth their weight in gold."
Also competing at the tournament, which kicked off at 2pm yesterday, are some of the leading heavyweights in world poker, including the UK's Triple Crown winner Jake Cody (22) and his compatriot Sam Trickett, who has won up to $6m to date in his career despite being only 24 years old.
Standing out amongst the largely male players last night was Croatian Tatjana Pasalic.
The 27-year-old former English teacher started off as a professional poker tournament hostess, a blogger and TV presenter, but has now set her sights on the other side of the table.
Although she has only won small prizes to date, she said she was getting better at every tournament and was delighted to be here and travelling to tournaments around the world as a sponsored player after a visit to Las Vegas six years ago.
"I saw 6,000 people playing and I just knew I wanted to be part of it," she said.
"When you walk in and hear the chips shuffling, I was just hypnotised," she said.
"You can be very young and travel the world. I've been travelling non-stop for the past three years," she said.
The final table will be streamed live on PKR.com on Sunday night.