2007 Wolrd Series: Alan Smurfit's New Card Protector

by Craig Cunningham

Alan Smurfit settled into the 1s of the Main Event, unknown to most players at the table. His card protector gave him away.

Alan had a long career at his family business in Ireland, which Jefferson Smurfit was sold to Stone Container in the US to create Smurfit-Stone. When you're name is on the sign outside of a $7b corporation, you know it's been a good career.

He started playing poker four years ago and has been a fast learner. His first cash was in a $5k Pot Limit Omaha event at the Bellagio, a 6th place finish with Howard Lederer in 1st. Since then, he's cashed in tournaments throughout Europe and the US.

Alan made his first WSOP final table count, getting heads-up with Qushqar Morad then battling him for five hours and 167 hands to take down the $1.5k PLO w/Re-Buys. "Patience, that's the right word," he said after his win. "I have a strong desire to win. I played my game regardless of the chips I had."

He followed it up with his second cash in the $1.5k Limit Hold-Em shootout. "I almost made another final table, but I got knocked out of my second table with three players left."

Alan won his seat in a $650 satellite on PokerStars, and he was eager to get started as players took their seat. His starting table in the Main Event had some solid players joining him. Tony G sat in the 10s, the Lithuanian firecracker peacefully playing at the start of his Main Event. Little known pro Ut Nguyen was in the 6s. He also had made a WSOP Final Table this year. Richard Lee sat one to his left. Lee from San Antonio finished 6th at last year's Main Event, and he stood up at the first break to talk to an AP reporter.

"Tough table, Alan," I said to him as he stood up. "It's OK," he said. "I'm at 28k, nothing really too interesting has happened." Alan was hardly anxious as the day started. He knows these tournaments have a very long road to the Final Table.

"Tony G in the 10s is tough, and that's Richard Lee next to you," I said.

"Who is that?" he asked. It was an oversight as I explained where Lee had finished in this event last year.

You'll have to forgive Alan. You see, no one had a card protector like his: a WSOP bracelet.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in