to Sponsor Irish Winter Festival
By staff, Europe's busiest Poker website, will be sponsoring the Irish Winter Festival in Dublin on the 23-26 October.

The four day event, which will now be known as the Irish Winter Festival, will see some of the best poker players from around the world battle it out at the Merrion Casino Club for a share of the 200,000 euros prize fund, with prize money added by Ladbrokes for the first time.

Starting from Tuesday 26th August, five Ladbrokes online Poker players will also have the chance to win a seat at the tournament via online tournaments at

Each day online players will be able to win a seat in a 10 player final table. The winner of that final table will win an all expenses paid trip to Dublin to participate in the main event, with 1,000 euro entry fee and accommodation, flights and spending money included in the package.

The field consists of 150 of the world's leading professional Poker players including reigning champion Lucy Rokach, former World Series of Poker champion Noel Furlong, London's Infamous 'Hendon Mob' and other well known names like Padraig Parkinson, Julian Gardner, and Roy Brindley - a sponsored professional.

The sponsorship continues's association with Tournament Director Liam Flood who officiated at the recent Poker Million - The Masters contest which was broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Ladbrokes eGaming Managing Director John O'Reilly commented: 'The Irish are one of the top Poker playing nations on and this is a great opportunity to bring Europe's busiest online Poker room to the attention of more of Ireland's famous Poker playing community. The Irish Winter Festival will help us build on the success of, where we are now dealing over 100,000 hands per day'.

Charles Harbourne, owner of the Merrion Club commented, 'This event has been one of the most popular tournaments on the European Poker scene for a number of years and we are delighted to work with on this year's event. The depth of talent attending this year will make sure it's a fantastic Poker tournament.'

Over 27 million hands have now been dealt on the service since it launched in May 2002, with Ladbrokes taking a small 'rake' from each pot. Ladbrokes' service is now the biggest in Europe with up to $3 million a day staked across its tables.

Ladbrokes believes there is a growing interest in Poker and feels that online Poker and terrestrial Poker events will grow in popularity - in tandem. The land-based events may well provide the high profile stage, for example the televised and Ladbrokes sponsored Poker Million event, but many of the players for these events now come from popular online 'feeder' tournaments.

The most notable recent example of this was Chris Moneymaker's $2.5 million victory in the WSOP Hold'em Championships - his first land-based competition - having qualified via a $40 online Poker tourney.

Over 3,000 people play Ladbrokes Poker every day. Peak time on the site is 10pm to 12am BST when Ladbrokes will deal upwards of 10,000 raked hands (games) per hour on over 100 virtual tables.

For further information please contact:

Simon Ansell RED, Tel: 020 7465 7735

Ciaran O'Brien RED, Tel: 020 7465 7711

Keith Oliver Ladbrokes, Tel: 020 8868 8899

About Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes the betting and gaming division of Hilton Group plc, is the world's biggest bookmaker. It provides its customers with a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week service via over 2,000 licensed betting shops in the UK, Ireland and Belgium, state-of-the-art multi-lingual call centres in London and Liverpool and its interactive services. Over 800,000 registered customers from 160 countries bet on the Internet with Ladbrokes at in 14 different languages and at the online casino

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