Glorious weather came to Cork over the weekend, as did an influx of leading amateur poker players from Ireland, the United Kingdom and further afield.  The occasion was the sixth annual Irish Amateur Poker Championship; the stage - Cork’s Macau Sporting Club. Players started the tournament with 15,000 chips and a 45 minute clock, but the excellent structure bared its teeth as early as the sixth minute when the Kings of Don Roberts ran into the Aces of fellow English player Paul Gildea.   Robert’s hand failed to improve and the Londoner was sent to the rail as the tournament’s first casualty.  Robert's wasn't alone and several big hands clashed during the opening levels as the field began to whittle down. A feature of the tournament throughout however was the good humour shown by all competitors and that banter reached a crescendo when stripper Abens Maurice announced that he had to leave his stack to blind for the last hour of play on day one, due to ‘work commitments’ on the south coast.  Needless to say the two ladies at his table were merciless in their teasing, but Abens had the last laugh, making the end of day one chip counts with an average stack of 50k.  In the melee of the final level, Welsh Amateur Championship runner up JP Round lost his opportunity to assume the lead in the National Amateur Rankings when his pocket Sevens were beaten by Ed Roycroft’s rivered Ace. Off the baize, many of the players enjoyed the craic at several of Cork’s colourful bars before returning to the Macau on Sunday, their focus set on securing the prestigious Irish Amateur title.  20 players remained as the chips were un-bagged.  Among them were two Frenchmen Remy Rollon and Benjamin Abbou, English players Ken McBride and James Ellis, Davie Croke – a runner up in the previous year’s Irish Classic, and lady players Rita Galvin and Valerie McGrath.  At the head of the pack was Jason Buckley, holding 132k chips.