The big money available at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Dublin Championship, which ended over the weekend after several days of intense poker, attracted a host of top poker names.
Taking the field in Day 1A at the Royal Dublin Society were 91 players, including home grown champs like Jason O'Toole, Andy Black and Conor Doyle. They were joined by international players such as Bertrand Grospellier, Julian Thew and Johnny Lodden, and top-level American players like Erik Seidel and Brandon Schaefer.
The field for Day 1B (the large entry of 221 necessitated two Day 1 'heats') numbered 132 and featured names like the youthful Betfair Internet prodigy Annette Obrestad (19), the 2006 EPT Dublin champion Roland De Wolfe and poker pros like Ram Vaswani, Surinder Sunar and 2007 EPT Baden winner Julian Thew. Other Irish aces included Roy 'The Boy' Brindley, Liam 'The Gentleman' Flood, Marty Smyth and former soccer star Tony Cascarino.
By Day 2 the field had been halved, with the action fast and furious as comtestants went after the over half million Euro winner's prize.
Andy Black, Noah Boeken, Luca Pagano and Katja Thater....and the outstanding talent Obrestad were still in there playing exciting poker, and by days end the field was down to 24.
Friday saw the start of Day 3 with 24 players, Andy Black in the chip lead, chased closely by Obrestad. Other notable players in the field included Luca Pagano and Noah Boeken.
The final table of 9 was finally decided with the elimination of Andy Black in tenth place by Obrestad, and looked like this:
Annette Obrestad from Norway (788 000)
Daan Ruiter from Holland (646 000)
Reijo Manninen from Finland (480 000)
Casper Hansen from Denmark (360 000)
Thierry van den Berg of Holland (274 000)
Michael Durrer of Germany (247 000)
Trond Eidsvig from Norway (184 000)
Reuben Peters from the USA (176 000)
Anders Pettersson of Sweden (166 000)
Undeterred by his low position in the chip counts, Peters set the pace with some aggressive and expert play that saw him moving up the ladder. The first elimination came when Obrestad knocked out fellow Scandinavian Hansen, who went to the rail in ninth place, collecting a paycheck for Euro 30 630.
Dutchman Thierry Van Den Berg was next to leave, falling to some expert play by Ruiter but taking home the eighth place check of Euro 47 650. Durrer followed him, another victim of Obrestad and collecting a Euro 66 370 payout for finishing seventh.
The first hour of final table play had still not passed when the sixth elimination - that of Petterson - took place when the Swede clashed with Norwegian player Eidsvig and was sent to the exit door and a pay day worth Euro 83 380. Not long after that, Ruiter followed in fifth place, busted out by Obrestad but picking up the first six figure payout of Euro 105 510.
At this stage Reuben put it all on the table in a confrontation with Obrestad and came out stronger, but the 19 year old Norwegian continued to show exceptional skill and enjoyed good cards, taking out her countryman Eidsvig in fourth place with an impressive Euro 127 630 as his reward.
By now Obrestad held a seemingly unassailable lead of 2 325 000 chips over her neatest rival Peters, with Manninen trailing on 280 000. Manninen had no chance, and was bundled out after he went all-in against Obrestad with his short stack, leaving in third position and collecting Euro 178 680 from the cashier.
Facing off in the heads up, Obrestad led Peters in chips by a significant margin, but Peters hammered away and took over the lead narrowly himself, eventually edging Obrestad out and taking the EPT Dublin title and the Euro 532 620 prize money attached to it.
Obrestad took home the second place prize of Euro 297 800 and the knowledge that some scintillating play has earned her continued respect as the young up-and-coming poker ace to watch.