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up to that theory. Their Five Star World Poker Classic, a series of tournaments which would in normal circumstances put a glass eye to sleep, gets under way in late March.

Thankfully, the 2010 festival has been jazzed up with the inclusion of two Omaha tournaments meaning this, the eighth annual rendition of the event, boasts only 12 consecutive days of $1,000 entry Texas Hold'em competitions (March 30 - April 10) before an Omaha tournament breaks the monotony.

It's just possible that enough people have cracked the game of Hold'em, like those who could complete the Rubik's Cube in 90 seconds, and are now looking for a new challenge. I hope so.

Omaha is tops for skill GALWAY may not be the centre of the poker earth but it is going places and next weekend the Eglinton Casino in the westerly enclave stages the Irish Omaha Championship.

This tournament may not attract the biggest field ever assembled in the modern world and doubtlessly, with its EUR1,000 entry fee, it will not generate an extraordinary prize-pool. It will, however, consist of a field of hardened poker players pitting their wits against one another in a game many seasoned pros consider to be the most skilful form of poker on the market.

Four hole cards, instead of the two that players receive in Texas Hold'em, make all the difference. The extra cards make Omaha a game of big hands, with straights, flushes and full houses commonplace. Compare that to Hold'em players who will often put their entire tournament on the line clutching just one pair.

Hold'em has its purposes. It is a wonderfully simplistic game that television audiences can easily understand and take up. It may irk the old school but Texas Hold'em is poker as far as most people are concerned.

The Las Vegas Bellagio Casino sign
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 27, 2010
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