The poker world is less one former World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion as Irishman Noel Furlong passed away at the age of 83 on Sunday. It was reported by The Irish Times that he died “peacefully at home.”
Known to poker fans as the winner of the 1999 WSOP Main Event and a two-time Irish Poker Open champ (1987 & 1989), Furlong was a prominent Kildare-based businessman who founded the successful business Furlong Flooring, a leading manufacturer of carpets and other flooring products. He also made a name for himself in the horse racing industry.
He was actually born on Christmas Day in 1937 as J.J., but soon was given the nickname “Noel.”
According to The Hendon Mob, Furlong amassed $1,145,806 in live tournament earnings with $1 million of that coming from his WSOP win. The 1999 WSOP Main Event attracted 393 runners and to this day has one of the toughest final tables in history including Alan Goehring (2nd), Erik Seidel (4th), Chris Bigler (5th), and Huck Seed (6th), who had won the tournament three years earlier. There were also two other Irishmen at the table in Padraig Parkinson (3rd) and George McKeever (7th).
He also finished sixth in the 1989 WSOP Main Event for $52,850 on his first trip to the WOSP. He also 2003 won a €220 buy-in side even at the Irish Winter Tournament in Dublin as well as a €330 NLH Event at the 2002 Irish Poker Open for $14,841.
More recently, Furlong finished 32nd in the 2011 PaddyPower Irish Poker Open Main Event for $13,580, his last career cash. Before that, he won the €330 Charity Event at the 2006 Boylepoker Irish Poker Tour Grand Final for $12,859. He was also spotted playing in the 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event, though he did not cash.
For years, Furlong was Ireland’s leading poker player, at least in terms of money. He sat atop the country’s all-time money list until fellow countryman Andy Black finished fifth in the 2005 WSOP Main Event. At the time of his passing, Furlong sits 14th on Ireland’s all-time money list.
A private funeral will take place later this week in Monkstown, Dublin.
*Lead image Wikipedia.