Event #3
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $1,500
Number of Entries: 2,998
Total Prize Money: $4,497,000
Date of Tournament: June 2-4, 2007


Ciaran O’Leary won the largest non-WSOP main event poker tournament in history. A total of 2,998 players entered the $1,500 no-limit hold’em championship. This tournament ranks as the third-largest poker tournament of all-time, behind the 2005 and 2006 championship (main) events.

The new poker champ is originally from Ireland. He now lives in Seattle, WA. O’Leary has played at the WSOP during six of the last ten years. However this was his first time ever to cash. What a huge payout it turned out to be -- $727,012 for first place.

Ciaran O’Leary (first name pronounced KIR-AHN) is married and is 33 years old. His poker nickname is “Big C.”

At this final table, O’Leary was all-in at the final table five times. He survived each confrontation. Each time he was all-in, he got up and walked away from the table. Several times he left the arena entirely and walked into the busy tournament area, with ESPN television cameras rolling to capture every step. It was obvious this was O’Leary’s way to relieve tension. The strategy worked.

Ireland has produced several WSOP gold bracelet winners – most notably the 1999 main event champion Noel Furlong. With this victory, which paid $727,012, O’Leary is now the second-largest WSOP money winner who is originally from Ireland.

O’Leary learned how to play poker from his father and friends. He has been playing since he was 9-years old. He has cashed in several other major tournaments over the last decade.

O’Leary was quite humble following his victory. He paid respects to several of his opponents and made it clear he was fortunate to win. He said “There are so many great players that don’t get a break at the right time. I am not a great player. I have so much still to learn. But I got the breaks today.”