Can Scotland Capitalise on Success of Niall Farrell?

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Scotland is a country with a loud and proud history

It has bred individuals who have made a name for themselves both domestically and further afield, with some of them shaping the world as we know it today (Adam Smith, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Wallace, and Sir Walter Scott are just a few names that come instantly to mind).

These names, as well as many, many others have helped to ensure that the Scottish influence has spread worldwide, making the country a location where tourists flock from far-flung corners of the earth.

These legends of history aside, over the years, Scotland hasn’t consistently experienced significant victory in terms of sporting success. We’ve seen the collapse and subsequent rebirth of Rangers, the continued struggles of the Scottish national football team, and the recent thrashing of the country’s rugby union team by Wales. It’s not all bad news, though, and you can take a quick look at the stats of Andy Murray if you need quick proof of that.

There is also another individual whose success has perhaps been hidden unfairly behind all of these teams and individuals, and his name is Niall Farrell.

Niall Farrell ready for action

If you’ve never heard of him before, you certainly won’t be alone, but this is a Scot with a serious reputation in the niche he has chosen. Having already won a bracelet in a World Series of Poker Europe event, Farrell has turned himself into a man who has already earned over $2.5million dollars playing poker, forging himself a reputation as one of the bigger names in the game.

Indeed, Farrell can often be found in contention when it comes to the big prizes at major tournaments and is an individual who some of the other big and emerging sporting names in Scotland, with the exception, obviously, of Murray, could look to try to emulate.

A Poker Tournament in Edinburgh: Building on London’s Success

Despite his reputation within his industry, and his far from humble fortune, Farrell could probably walk right through the centre of Edinburgh, even down Princes Street or the Royal Mile, and not find himself recognised by the vast majority of people.

Poker action in London

However, it’s possible that this could be about to change. Farrell’s achievements have done enough to ensure he was one of the biggest names at a recent WSOP event in London. This event was staged in recognition of (and to build upon) the growing popularity of both online and offline poker in the UK, with all its variants – including but not limited to Texas Hold’em, Seven-card Stud, and Omaha Hi-Lo – gaining in popularity.

Indeed, the recent London 888Live tournament, in which Farrell starred and two players from the UK ended up competing for the top prize, has gone down as a big success. While some of the very biggest names in poker weren’t on show at this event, enough stars were in attendance to ensure that the audience was able to enjoy some top-quality poker hands and the opportunity to see how the high rollers compete when they come up against each other.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this was that it showed the UK can play host not just to small tournaments and ones aimed at European players but that it also has what it takes to host bigger cash prize events, and there is no reason why Scotland (and in particular Edinburgh) can’t play a massive part in holding a future WSOP event. After all, Edinburgh already boasts the famous Royal Tattoo, the world-renowned Fringe Festival, and many other events that you can find out more about online. There seems to be no reason why a tournament in the capital can’t help to generate more and more interest in the WSOP as well as a greater understanding of the poker scene in Scotland.

Indeed, if Scarborough in the North of England is able to convince Britney Spears to swap Las Vegas for a windy open-air theatre by the sea, surely top professional poker players can be convinced to visit a city that offers stunning food, incredible hotels, and some of the best whisky in the world! That’s not to mention the fact that the country boasts some of the best fish and chips in the United Kingdom. Again, surely that’s all enough to entice the very biggest names in poker, like Phil Ivey, to the wild beauty of Scotland!

Creating a New Star?

Farrell has certainly enjoyed a successful career so far, earning more than he probably would have done as a trainee lawyer (his profession of choice for a while before he thought about becoming a poker star), and his against-the-odds success could easily be emulated in the future given the right conditions.

One such condition would undoubtedly be the creation of a new poker event in Edinburgh. An event like this would help to promote higher quality UK tournaments and would give up-and-coming players the chance to mix it with the big guys. Making poker more prominent amongst the grass roots community could well see it transformed, in much the way tennis was transformed after a renewed focus on grass roots. If this were to happen, Scotland could potentially breed more global poker stars, especially with the game becoming easier and easier to play online.

Indeed, with Andy Murray on a downward curve at the moment following a forced absence due to surgery, the rugby team failing to fulfill expectations, and the football team going back to the past to find its new manager, it seems that any tournament that could help make a new star for Scotland to adore would be welcome.

If it has the knock-on impact of generating tourism and revenue for Edinburgh (whilst persuading the top names in poker like Daniel Negreanu and Stephen Chidwick to swap the sun of the USA for the haggis of Scotland), then, even better!

In the meantime, perhaps another huge win from Niall Farrell or another Scottish competitor can help to get more Scots involved in an activity that they not only can seriously enjoy playing but could win big money from too.

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