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Kevin Vandersmissen Finds Gold In Dublin

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Jun 01, 2012


Having been involved in the Irish Open for the past 10 years or so, whether it be as a poker fan, player, commentator, or presenter, I can honestly say that this year, despite the main event numbers dropping slightly, was the best year in a long time.

It’s one of the top poker festivals in terms of entertainment, fun, and action, and that has always been the case ever since the days it was the only Texas hold’em tournament in Europe. However, this year Paddy Power Poker really bumped it up a notch on the enjoyment scale, and indeed entertainment-wise with a live stream filled with analysis, interviews, up-to-the-minute reports, skits, fun, and commentary. With side events galore, nightly bands and entertainment, promotions-a-plenty, a packed and buzzing bar, a golf simulator, darts competitions, amazing poker-themed art by Barry “Jazz” Finnegan, shopping and so much more, the Irish Open has become a popular destination for those looking for a good long weekend, nevermind a good game. It is also safe to say the Beer Pong World Championship has quickly become a mandatory part of the festival, drawing yet another wild mob to the rail, and producing a nail-biting final.

All Eyes On The Prize

The Irish Open may be known now for all these things, but the most important factor, and where the prestige and honour lie, is the €3,200 + €300 main event. Of the 502 players who turned out for the centrepiece were five former World Series of Poker main event champions; Phil Hellmuth, Dan Harrington, Carlos Mortensen, Noel Furlong, and Jonathan Duhamel, plenty of WSOP bracelet winners, European Poker Tour heroes and finalists, and a mix of up-and-coming names and well-loved poker stars such as Daniel Negreanu, Jake Cody, Victor Ramdin, Dave “Devilfish” Ulliot, Michael Tureniec, Teddy Sherringham, Freddy Deeb, Roberto Romanello, and November Niner Eoghan O’Dea. This skillful field created a €1,606,400 prize pool including the first-place prize of €420,000 — an amount which would surely make a difference to many a poker player’s future; take a look at all Niall Smyth got up to after taking down the main event and Sole Survivor last year (his final report can be found in this issue). Unfortunately, the defending champion and his 2011 heads-up opponent Surinder Sunar couldn’t make it past the first day this time around, nor could Harrington, Tureniec, or Duhamel. However with such a pro-laden field, plenty of well-known names went speeding along into day 2. Of the overnight top 10 were EPT champ Arnaud Mattern and online/live phenom Kevin Vandersmissen. Samuel Chartier ended day 1 as chip leader with 136,800 and he would stay among the top stacks in the leader board throughout the entire weekend. He would be accompanied by the Belgian pro Vandersmissen for all but one of the days.

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