Smyth Takes 2012 Irish Poker Open

Lest we forget that in the midst of America’s big online poker battle the rest of the world keeps turning, today we’ve got more live tournament news. The latest title bout went down at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin where the 2011 Irish Open was finally decided after four days of play. If you are unfamiliar with the Irish Poker Open tournament, then it’s time to bone up on your poker history because this popular European event has been running for 30 consecutive years – a record that puts it second only to the World Series of Poker.

The Irish Poker Open Main Event is in the standard No Limit Hold’em format and comes with a considerable €3200 + €300 buy in. That didn’t stop European hopefuls from coming out in force, resulting in an impressive field of 615 competitors and a prize pool of nearly €2 million. In the end, there was enough money to pay the top 64 players and to offer the eventual winner a pretty impressive purse of €550,000 (in addition to one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious poker titles, of course).

Competing for this year’s Irish Open title were a number of recognizable pros including the infamous Dave “Devilfish” Ulliot and recent PCA and Aussie Millions winner Sam Trickett. Neither Ulliot nor Trickett finished in the money. Another notable pro – Andy Black – hit the rail just short of the final table, leaving a final nine comprised of the following players (by order of the their final table starting stack): Niall Smyth, John Eames, Aleksi Savela, Martin Petri, Surindar Sunar, Karl Rudwall, Seamus Cahill, Robert Taylor and Niall McCann.

The chip spread was surprisingly slim, and yet Niall Smyth managed to maintain his lead for most of the last day. Seasoned UK pro Surindar Sunar really powered his way through the day, outlasting everyone but Smyth and really giving him a run for his money during the heads-up portion of play. Lady Luck was clearly favoring the locals, though, and Smyth managed to survive Sunar’s onslaught to claim his first significant live tournament win.

Prior to his 2011 Irish Poker Open win, Niall Smyth had only posted two other live tournament cashes – one at the 2009 Irish Poker Festival Main Event and the other ironically at the 2009 Irish Poker Open where he fell just short of the final table. In other words, Smyth’s big Dublin win will increase his lifetime tournament earnings more than tenfold, proving that there’s still hope for aspiring poker amateurs on the live tournament scene.

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