Furlong or Black: Who Is Best Irish Poker Player Ever In the History of the World?

NoelfurlongWith St. Patty’s Day right around the corner, and by "right around the corner" we mean "today," and with 2/3 of the Wicked Chops Poker founding team being half-Irish, it presents us all with an interesting question.  And that question is this:

"Who is the Greatest Irish Poker Player Ever in the History of the World?"

Surely and for good reason the Irish would like to claim Dan Harrington as their own, since his cuz PadraigAblack is in the upper-echelon of Irish pro golfers right now.  But Action Dan is American-born.  And for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on Irish-born-and-bred poker pros.

So this really only leaves us with two options for Greatest Irish Poker Player Ever in the History of the World: 1) 1999 WSOP ME champion Noel Furlong, and 2) 2005 WSOP final table-ist Andy Black.

It’s a tough, tough call.  Let’s consider the resumes…

Furlong is the 1999 WSOP ME champion.  While this may be his only WSOP bracelet, it’s the freaking Main Event, so that’s more than good enough.  While he ranks second overall in WSOP earnings among Irish players (second only to Black), he has made three total WSOP final tables.  He’s also won three Irish Open Poker events.

Andy Black is the leading Irish tournament money winner of all time, edging Furlong by around $800k (their exact totals are $1.9M vs. $1.1M, to be specific).  As we detailed during last year’s WSOP, Andy is no new-comer to the game, having finished 14th at the WSOP ME back in 1997.  After a long sabbatical from poker to become a monk, he’s come back with a vengeance.  Yes, monks can come back with a vengeance.  Since his fifth place finish at the 2005 WSOP ME, he’s cashed in nine events worldwide.  Although his only WSOP final table appearance was at this year’s ME, that was against a field of over 5,600 players. 

With a WSOP ME bracelet and three final table appearances, it’s hard to not give the Greatest Irish Poker Player Ever in the History of the World title to Furlong.  But Black, even before the sabbatical, impressively and consistently demonstrated his wicked poker chops.  He’s first among Irish players in career tournament earnings, and at the rate he’s going, will have the stat sheet to firmly pass Furlong in no time.

Taking that into consideration, the edge goes to Black.  Imagine if he hadn’t lost his freaking mind and decided to become a monk during those early years this century?  It wouldn’t even be a competition right now.  So there you have it, Andy Black is the Greatest Irish Poker Player Ever in the History of the World.

This likely will not upset Furlong though, since he owns a carpet company that does over $100M in business a year.  Take that, Andy "Mr. Greatest Irish Poker Player Ever in the History of the World" Black.

Yes, like all media, we love to build them up and quickly tear them down.

*Furlong photo from The Hendon Mob.


2 Responses

  1. Chops

    March 17, 2006 10:48 am, Reply

    Well, Bolivian independence day is is the 6th of August. And 21 March is Human Rights Day for South Africa…so check back with us then. We’ll definitely have a piece up for those…in fact, we’re researching it right now. The excitement…

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