The past three days have seen an exciting poker epic unfolding at the City West Hotel in Dublin, Ireland as 700 entrants – the second biggest field in the history of the event – battled it out in the 2009 Paddy Power Poker.com Irish Open.
This year it was Swedish poker ace Christer Johannson (38) who triumphed after dominating a tense heads up that went on for 80 minutes against UK player and media personality Kara Scott.
For both players it was an achievement to beat off a field with many formidable players of the calibre of England’s Neil “Bad Beat” Channing, who was joined by former WSOP Main Event winners Dan Harrington and Jamie Gold. Respected Internet cash game player Brian “sbrugby” Townsend was active, as was WSOP bracelet holders Ciaran O’Leary and Marty Smyth and Phil “The Unabomber” Laak. Joining Laak among the leaders as the competition intensified was Julian Thew, Bradley Verburg and Andrew Pantling.
The latter looked very promising as the final table formed. Pantling, at 2 286 000, had a significant chip lead over the other final tablers Lee Brooke-Pearce (998 000); Atanas Gueorguiev (990 000); Christer Johannson (906 000); Kara Scott (701 000); William Kassouf (569 000); Andrew Bradshaw (351 000) and Brad Verburg (217 000).
Final table action was brisk, with the first four eliminations coming relatively quickly before the final four settled down to some tough poker playing, and it was some 90 minutes before the next elimination, Gueorguiev, headed for the exit and a fourth place finish. By this stage, Kara Scott was well ahead, holding almost 70 percent of the chips and showing every liklihood of becoming the fifth woman poker ace to win the Irish Open since its inception in the ‘eighties.
But it was not to be…Johansson sent third placed Pantling to the rail, setting up the heads up with Scott and chopping her lead down to a more reachable 400 000 chips. Thirteen hands later Scott raised the stakes to 140 000 and was flat-called by Johansson. After a J-7-K flop, the remainder of Scott’s chips found their way into the middle and Johansson called. When the cards were turned up, Johansson held the lead with K-3 for top pair against Scott’s J-9 for second pair. No saving card came on the turn or river and Johansson was declared the 2009 Irish Open champion, collecting the Euro 600 000 main prizeand boosting his career winnings to over $2 million.
For Scott there was the satisfaction of achieving her best tournament result to date….and a bank account boosting second place cheque for Euro 312 600. Six-figure prizes extended down to the sixth final tabler in the game.
"I'm very happy to win this tournament," Johansson said. "Not just for the prize money, but this tournament has a very long history in Europe and a great atmosphere, so it is great to win."
The record field generated a prize pool of over Euro 2.2millon which was shared by the top 70 finishers in the competition.
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