Paddy Power to sponsor 2005 Irish Open poker tournament

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is to sponsor the Poker Irish Open 2005. The sponsorship deal comes on the back of a 58 per cent rise in profits announced last week.

The company has declined to comment on how much the deal is worth. Industry experts rank the Irish tournament, which will take place at the Citywest hotel in Dublin from March 24 to 27, as one of the best in Europe. It has been organised by the Merrion Casino Club, also based in Dublin.

The prize fund for the competition will be a minimum of £250,000, which could rise depending on the number of players. The winner will pocket up to 40 per cent of the total fund.

Paddy Power will be offering seats at the tournament to poker players on its gaming website paddypower.com.

Last month the Irish bookmaker, which has been marketing itself aggressively in mainland Britain, announced pre-tax profits of £22m. It also announced plans to open more outlets here during 2005.

Paddy Power recently appointed Publicis to handle its £4m advertising account. The business was previously held by Bartle Bogle Hegarty but has been dormant over the past year.

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