The 1999 Main Event champion Noel Furlong won $1,000,000 for his victory, but by the time he died in June 2021, he had amassed significantly more.
A recent article revealed that the former World Champion left his family over €56 million, or $59.5 million, in his estate.
He would rank second in the all-time money list, just behind Justin Bonomo, if the entire sum had come from poker. But as you’ll see, Furlong had a lot of success outside of the poker room.
Furlong’s Poker Vocation
Furlong’s demise at 83 years old was met by a flood of sadness from those inside the poker local area who knew him. Phil Hellmuth, a 16-time WSOP bracelet winner who won the WSOP Main Event ten years before Furlong, referred to him as one of Ireland’s most successful businessmen who acted “with class and always a smile.”
In the meantime, a statement from the WSOP itself stated that he was a “worthy champion” who contributed to putting the “World” in World Series of Poker.
While walking his dogs, Furlong had a chance encounter with poker. According to a story told by Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson, Furlong met a fellow poker player one night while out and was encouraged to come fight against “top Americans” who were in town to play poker.
Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Puggy Pearson, and Stu Ungar were the “top Americans” — not bad company!
Parkinson stated, “So he brought his dog’s home and returned.” He also won $6,000 while playing heads-up poker with Puggy Pearson a few hours later. It was the most hilarious thing. As a result, Noel was hooked.
Furlong was joined by Parkinson and George McKeever, an Irishman, when they reached the 1999 WSOP Main Event final table. The final table that year is frequently regarded as one of the most difficult in WSOP Main Event history. Alan Goehring, the eventual runner-up, Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, and Huck Seed, who had won the tournament three years earlier, were among the 393 players at the final table.
By winning the Irish Poker Open in 1987 and 1989, Furlong had already established a name for himself in the poker world. However, this victory was his biggest to date, as he took home the $1,000,000 prize.
Carpets and Racing
So where did the Irishman get his remaining wealth? Furlong established “Furlong Flooring,” a leading manufacturer of carpets and other flooring products, nearly two decades prior to his Main Event victory. Furlong’s concentrated efforts in the latter part of the 1980s were primarily to blame for the company’s success.
As a racehorse trainer and gambler, Furlong was also heavily involved in the horse racing industry at this time. In 1991, he won £2,500,000 in a matter of months on his most well-known wagers.
His first bet was a 33/1 (+3300) longshot in Ireland. He then bet £300,000 on his horse Destriero to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival at odds of 6/1 (+600).