The 2015 Irish Open lived up to its billing and almost provided the dream finish for the locals
The Irish Open always makes the Easter weekend as much about poker as it does the chocolate, and this year it almost delivered the dream finish. Donnacha O’Dea is a legend in Ireland and the ex-Olympic swimmer put in an extraordinary performance to start the final table on Easter Monday with the chip lead, only to fall just short in fifth.
321 runners sat down at the start of Day 1, creating a prize pool of over €1m. At the end of the day 86 players were consoling themselves at the bar and a familiar name was sitting on top of the pile. Ian Simpson finished fourth in the 2012 Irish Open, before coming back in 2013 and winning the whole thing. Maybe it was too much to expect that he could do it all over again – he endured a hugely disappointing Day 2, busting out before the money, along with Jake Cody and Andy Black.
Other big names flourished and, when it came down to bagging and tagging, just 56 players remained. 2013 EPT Grand Final winner Steve O’Dwyer had bragging rights, with top pros Simon Deadman, Kevin Killeen, Jude Ainsworth and Donnacha O’Dea still in the hunt.
Day 3 played down to the final table and plenty of people were watching on our live stream as the bubble burst, leaving Peter Barrable to rue a lost flip as he became the final player to leave without any cash. Simon Deadman and Steve O’Dwyer made the cash but couldn’t make the final table, departing in close order in 16th and 15th.
One for the old-school
Another story was starting to emerge though and when play was halted with eight remaining, Donnacha O’Dea was the final table chip leader. O’Dea has been cashing on the live circuit since 1983, when he finished runner-up in the WSOP $1k Limit event and sixth in the Main Event. O’Dea went on to final table the Main Event again in 1991 and won a bracelet in a $1.5k Omaha event in 1998.
He doesn’t play many tournaments these days, but still travels the live circuit to play cash games. This was a chance to win his first major title since the 2004 Poker Million and the biggest cash of his career – all on his home turf.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. After Andreas Gann, Baard Dahl and Fergal Cawley were eliminated, O’Dea made a stand with A♥-9♦ only to find himself up against the A-K of the Greek chip leader Ioannis Triantafyllakis. The miracle Nine didn’t arrive and O’Dea was done. He exited shaking everyone’s hand.
Kevin Killeen picked up the Irish mantle and eliminated fellow countryman Declan Connolly and Michael Wang in back-to-back hands with pocket Queens. It was an especially bitter pill for Connolly who also lost the extra €50k he’d been playing for in the Sole Survivor promotion. €82,750 was his consolation prize.
His loss was Triantafyllakis’ gain though and he added another €197,500 to this in a chop with Killeen just before heads-up started. It left €12,000 and the trophy to play for, which also went Triantafyllakis’ way when his Q♠-T♦ came out on top of Killeen’s A♠-2♣.
This year’s Irish Open played out, as always, with a great atmosphere. The final table had its moment of controversy though, when German player Andreas Gann played the villain in an incredible hand with Donnacha O’Dea.
O’Dea raised with A♣-6♣ only to see the short-stacked Gann flat with K♦-Q♦ for a third of his stack. The flop came down a dream 8♦-A♦-6♦ and when O’Dea put Gann all-in it seemed that the German was going to get his double up.
Much to the commentator’s disgust, Gann tanked, and tanked, before flipping the nuts in an epic slowroll. The table was in uproar, with everyone bar O’Dea berating the German for his actions.
When the dealer put another Six on the river it seemed justice had been done and everyone at the table celebrated – even O’Dea allowed himself a fist pump. It was a strange moment and it was completely out of kilter with the way the tournament had run up to that point.
Twitter went crazy but – once the dust had settled – another image started to emerge. One of an inexperienced live player who had no idea that what he was doing amounted to a serious breach of etiquette. This was Gann’s first live cash and it’s probable that he was showboating without any malice. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever slowroll anyone again.
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