This week's Documentary on One - "Shuffle Up and Deal" - tells the story of three poker players: two of Ireland's best known professional players, Andrew 'the Monk' Black and Padraig 'Cantona' Parkinson and poker club owner Joe O'Neill.
Andrew Black started playing poker over twenty years ago as a law student in Trinity College. With winnings of over four million, he is Ireland's biggest money winner with a reputation of being a unique character and aggressive player on the poker scene.
After the World Series in 1998, Black disappeared from the poker world and spent five years in semi-monastic Buddhist communities. He re-appeared on the poker scene in 2004, and finished fifth in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in 2005. He is now sponsored by Full Tilt Poker.
Padraig Parkinson comes from the era of the legendary Eccentrics Club - a small room above the pub on Dublin's Hanlon's Corner started by the late bookmaker Terry Rogers. In 1999, he finished third in the World Series and over his career his tournament winnings have exceeded one and a half million dollars.
This Easter, he returned from Paris, where he now lives, to play in the Irish Poker Open, the poker tournament that is perhaps closest to his heart.
Joe O'Neill plays poker almost every night and runs the V.I.P. late night private poker club in Dublin.
He has seen the darker side of gambling and poker playing - his father had a chronic gambling problem and gambled the family home away.
On Good Friday, over 700 players gathered in the Burlington Hotel to play poker in the hope of winning a part of a 2.2 million euro pot. By Easter Monday nine players would be left on the final table. And by the end of a gruelling four days of play one poker player would have won the Irish Poker Open title and walked away with €600,000.
The Irish Poker Open is Europe's oldest and biggest poker tournament with players flying in from all over the world to play Texas Hold 'Em.
This documentary reveals the life of a pro poker player from the highs of going deep into the money to the lows of the bad beat stories.
Compiled and Narrated by Nicoline Greer.
Production supervision by Liam O'Brien.
Sound supervision by Andrew Kane.
First broadcast 1st May 2010.
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.