March has been a busy month for poker with partypokerLIVE and the most recent stop at the Irish Poker Open in Dublin kicked up more than a story or two. The we met Ferdia O'Connell.
Never heard of him? You’d be forgiven. Before his deep run and eventual second-placed finish in the Irish Open Main Event for €180,000, his biggest cash was for €750, a whole 12 years ago! Quite the jump, right? So how did it all begin?
O’Connell ran up a buy-in to the Irish Open, in his bedroom, from a $0.01 freeroll on partypoker. After a struggle with illness for several years, he’d been unable to participate in live tournaments and could only play online. Just in time for the Irish Open, he overcame his condition and was well enough to make it to the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, to sit down in a live poker tournament for the first time in over three years.
Four days later, O'Connell had completed the most incredible return for original centroll satellite victory - a six-figure sum that will change his life.
“Yeah, I enjoyed it alright, it was a good craic! Heads up went a bit south, made a bad call maybe but I can’t be disappointed with €180,000.”
After finishing Day 1B with 47,000 chips, with the average for the day finishing at 72,810, O'Connell had some work to do coming back for Day 2 at 600/1,200 blinds. He managed to not only stay in the game but to finish the day with an impressive 531,000 chips when the average was just below him at 511,000.
And so on to Day 3, with just 79 players remaining and already having €2,925 locked up (from $0.01), O’Connell powered on as they played down to a final table. He secured his place in the final eight, with a 4,745,000 chip stack to return with on the final day.
With the final table set, and a massive €250,000 on the line for the victor, play resumed in the early afternoon on Sunday 18th March. After taking out Joseph Cahill, O’Connell built up a chip stack to 9,100,000 at one point, sat second in chips very comfortably with only three players remaining. He saw off Pascal Baumgartner in third place, to close the gap against Ryan Mandara who had been chip leader for most of the day. Starting with a slight chip deficit, the pair decided on a deal securing O’Connell €180,000, while the pair played for the trophy and an extra €13,000.
It wasn’t to be the fairytale ending he’d have hoped for though, as Mandara closed out the heads-up battle with his getting the better of O’Connell’s . Hard for O’Connell to be too disappointed considering his journey to the final table, and obviously the small matter of €180,000, he told us a bit more about his ordeal in previous years and it’s restrictions towards his poker.
“I was ill actually for three years with chronic fatigue syndrome, I couldn’t leave the house so I couldn’t play poker. I’ve only started to feel better in the last two months, the last €1,000 event I qualified for, I had to get a doctor’s cert because I couldn’t leave the house. So I should be really happy, this time two months ago I wasn’t able to sit down and play poker”.
“I’m feeling 2018 could really be my year now!”
Another success story derived from the plethora of satellites available through partypoker, giving anyone and everyone the chance to recreate the drama of the Irish Open, from as little as $0.01!
We hope O’Connell continues in good health, and that we see him in Barcelona at the MILLIONS Grand Final!
Check out his interview at the Irish Open after his incredible result:
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