The partypoker Irish Open Main Event has drawn to a close, after five days of action-packed tournament poker. The €1,000,000 guaranteed event saw its prize-pool smashed with ease, with an eventual 1,348 entries fronting the €1,150 registration fee, surpassing the 1,000-player target.
Day 1A started on Wednesday and saw a total of 387 players sign up for 10 levels of poker at an hour a piece. Of those entrants, 135 would make it through to Day 2, with two-thirds of the field having to re-enter to Day 1B for another shot at glory. Yuriy Boyko topped the leaderboard after close of play in Day 1A, building up his starting stack of 30,000 up to a healthy 279,600. Others who found success amongst the field were partypoker pro Natalia Breviglieri – pictured, below – (118,600), Ludovic Geilich (64,700) and English veteran Albert Sapiano (239,900) who was attracting a lot of support and attention amongst players throughout the day.
On to Day 1B and another 10 levels of poker were in order, and another 881 players showed up over the course of the day to register for their shot at the €250,000 first place prize. Leading Day 1B’s survivors was Weijie Zheng who finished the day with 264,000 chips, a short way below Day 1A’s chip leader Yuriy Boyko (279,000). Also, in good shape were Migual Cousement (227,600) and John Howlett (239,500). Other notable players who bagged up chips for Day 2 were Andy Black (87,300), Padraig Parkinson (81,400), Eoghan O’Dea (119,600) and Jay O’Toole (169,700).
Moving on to Day 2 and with late registration still open for the first few levels, we ended up seeing a total of 1,346 entrants overall, with 501 in total returning from the two Day 1s. The pay-out threshold was announced at 167th place with the min cash set at €2,125, which Jake Cody, Ludo Geilich and 2013 Irish Open Champion Ian Simpson just fell short of getting their hands on. Another 10 gruelling levels of poker though, saw young Englishman Alexander Bretherton (1,560,000) lead the way towards Day 3 out of 79 remaining players. Still well in contention was Andy Black (1,013,000), Padraig Parkinson (193,000) and partypokerLIVE President John Duthie (309,000). Bobby Willis was the unfortunate bubble-boy, after his pocket jacks were outdrawn by Eugene Hanratty’s King-Ten. He didn’t go home completely empty-handed though, as he was consolidated with a free ticket into next year’s event, so it wasn't all bad!
St. Patrick’s Day collided with Day 3 of the Main Event, and spirits were high throughout the day as the poker hall at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, filled with a sea of green clothing, pints of Guinness, and also a dinosaur (don’t ask). The plan was to play all the way down from 79 players to a final table of 8, to reconvene the final day. Padraig Parkinson was the first to go on the day in 78th (€2,925), while partypoker Ladies' Louise Butler started the day short, and struggled to get anything going eventually busting out in 70th (€3,505), with John Duthie (pictured, below) following shortly after in 68th for the same amount.
Day 1A chip leader Yuriy Buyko’s luck ran out in 44th place (€4,205) while his Day 1B counterpart Weijie Zheng outlasted him to 37th (€4,945). Andy Black’s deep run (shown below) ended in 29th (€5,670), while familiar faced Preben Stokkan fell in 24th (€6,270) and Day 2 chip leader Alexander Bretherton made it into the top 20, finishing in 17th (€10,700) being the first player to cash for five figures. Play started at 2pm on the day, and it wasn’t until 3:30am the following morning that David Barnes became the unfortunate Final Table bubble-boy, after he ran AJ into AA and JJ pre-flop, and failed to find a miracle. He cashed for €19,004 though, his biggest cash to date.
That just left us with 8 players in with a shot of the €250,000 first placed prize, each with at least €23,000 locked up coming into the final day. Dean Clay was the first to go (€23,000), after a three-outer cost him his tournament. He had shoved his last eight big blinds in from the button with and was called in the big blind by Joseph Cahill with . Great shape to double up, until the flop fell nine high and that was that. Daniel Fargher (€32,000) fell shortly after in 7th to Daniel Samson, whose AJ improved in a race against Fargher’s pocket tens.
Down to the final six, and a repeat of history as Sameer Singh (€42,500), who finished 6th in this last year, met the same fate again this year after his failed to improve against Ryan Mandara’s . Joseph Cahill (€55,000) lost his race with pocket fours against Ferdia O’Connell’s AK to finish in 5th place, before Daniel Samson (€75,000) ran pocket eights into Ryan Mandara’s pocket nines, and barring a miracle was all but dead after Mandara flopped a set.
That took us down to the final three, and a fairytale story as Ferdia O’Connell, who qualified from a $0.01 satellite on partypoker, was now guaranteed €100,000. Incredible stuff and the dream got even closer after Pascal Baumgartner (€100,000) was taken out by O’Connell, leaving him heads-up for €250,000 against Ryan Mandara.
The pair settled on a deal giving €197,000 to Mandara and €180,000 to O’Connell, leaving €13,000 and the trophy to play for. The heads-up lasted around about an hour, which was long enough for Mandara to attract a colourful (and loud!) rail of support, singing and chanting his name. The commotion grew even louder, as he got all the chips in pre-flop with against the of O’Connell and spiked a jack on the turn to claim the victory.
A dream come true for O’Connell still, who amazingly turned a cent into €180,000, I’m sure we’ll be seeing him at Barcelona in April! Congratulations to Ryan Mandara (above) for taking down the Main Event, and to partypoker for putting on yet another fantastic poker festival.
We’ll see you on the partypoker LIVE tour very soon. Why not try to join us in Barcelona by playing qualifiers from just $0.50 and winning a package worth $16,000?
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- Gary Oakes
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