Archive for the ‘Irish Open 2009’ Category

Irish Open Aftermath

April 15, 2009

Well the dust has settled, I’m back in sunny Wales and we have our 2009 Irish Open champion.

Congratulations to Christer Johansson who bagged himself a bankroll boosting €600,000 for his four days of hard play. The 39-year old Swede is a well-known online cash game specialist who plays under the handle ‘sendmemore’. Johansson triumphed over a professional-heavy field of 700 players, including such stars as Dan Harrington, Jamie Gold, Phil Laak, Marty Smyth, Ciaran O’Leary and Neil Channing.

TV presenter and former model Kara Scott finished in second place, taking home €312,600, with Andrew Pantling receiving €205,200 for third – which just goes to show that a monster chip lead will get you far, but won’t guarantee you the win. Such is the fickle nature of tournament poker.

It was a great weekend’s poker and the atmosphere surrounding the final table and the tournament was great. The Irish are always ultra-friendly and certainly know how to have fun.

As Phil Laak also pointed out to me over the weekend, the creamy froth on the head of a pint of Guinness is a miraculous invention and it is in fact true that Guinness tastes better in Ireland.

While my own time spent at the tables over the weekend (after I’d done all my work obviously…) may not have won me €600,000 I did actually manage to finish up.

Granted it was only €50 up for the whole weekend but a win’s a win as they say.
It was all going so well but a disastrous session at the tables on the Friday night saw myself and GCBPT Liverpool champ Zach Ford get crunched by some crazy Asian woman who was hitting every flop in sight; call a re-re-raise with King Jack, flop the nuts, call a raise with Ace Jack make quads… and it went downhill from there. In fact, the highlight of the evening’s play was retiring to the bar. Still, I was getting paid to be there as well so life’s not all bad 🙂

And on a positive note, I think I managed to drink my body-weight in Guinness.

Back To The Grind

Work-wise I have features and interviews coming out of my ears, but as any freelancer will tell you – this is a good thing 😉

I’m currently working on the interview I did with Albert Iversen and it looks like I’ve got that one sold so will let you know when it’s coming out.

I’ve also sold the Phil Laak feature and that’ll be published around summer time, probably towards the middle of June.

My website goes live at some point tomorrow (fingers crossed) though this is obviously based on no technical issues which always have a nasty habit of arising just when you least expect it.
Check it out:
I’ll stick a link up to it in the side bar of my blog when it goes live.

Off to the big smoke (that’ll be London) on Friday for some more work and a meeting with the editor of a new poker title – I’ll let you know more closer to the launch date.

I may or may not be going to the GUKPT Manchester, it’s all work dependent so I will be grinding hard for the next couple of weeks.

On a poker playing related note, I might even find time to play in my local deep-stack event on Thursday – the £60+5.50 10,000 starting stack at the Grosvenor, Cardiff Bay.
Being as I won this when I played in it two weeks ago, I’ll certainly be looking to repeat chance – fingers crossed…

Keep it real folks, and if all else fails, try Wales 😉

2009 Paddy Power Irish Open Final Table

April 13, 2009

Well here we are folks – out of the 701 runners we are down to our final 8:

Andrew Pantling         2,286,000
Lee Brooke-Pearce      998,000
Atanas Gueorguiev     990,000
Christer Johansson     755,000
Kara Scott                     701,000
William Kassouf         569,000
Andy Bradshaw         351,000
Bradley Verburg         217,000

Canadian Andrew Pantling has been our chip leader for the last two days and showed no signs of relinquishing his monster lead early doors.
Action has been fast and furious and we lost two players in the first orbit of the table.

First to go was Brit Andy Bradshaw who took down the first pot with Ace Jack. After looking down to see Ace Queen on the very next hand Andy raised again 124,000 total (with blinds at 12,000/24,000) only to see Bulagrian Atanas Gueorguiev shove all-in over the top.

Andy snap called and was understandably dismayed to see Atanas flip over Pocket Kings. There was no help for the friendly Northerner on the flop, turn or river and he was out in eighth place – still €56,000 should take the edge off a little.

Bradley Verburg was next to go – his all-in shove with Ace Two called by chip leader Pantling holding the mighty King Jack. A Jack on the flop put Pantling in front and no Ace come the river saw Bradley out in seventh for €74,000 for his four days work.

William Kassouf was next to fall to a spot of cold decking; after Atanas’ under-the-gun raise William shoved with Pocket Jacks only to see Atanas snap call with Pocket Queens. Despite turning an open-ended straight draw a blank on the river saw him out in 6th with €100,900 as recompense.

After being crippled losing a huge pot when his Pocket Jacks were out-flopped by the King Queen of Christer Johansson, Englishman Lee Brooke-Pearce was left with just a bowl of rice that he shipped on the next hand. Unfortunately his Eight Five of diamonds was no match for the King Ten of Andrew Pantling and Lee was out in fifth for €130,600.

Some stellar play on the part of the lovely Kara Scott has seen here edge into the chip lead as we take a break:

Kara Scott: 1,996,000
Andrew Pantling: 1,989,000
Christer Johansson: 1,407,000
Atanas Gueorguiev: 1,626,000

Unfortunately being as my flight is in a couple of hours I’ll leave you in the capable hands of the Paddy Power blogging team and the live feed for all your action updates.

Unabomber Caught

After days of patient stalking I tracked down Phil ‘the unabomber’ Laak for an interview – I sneakily waited until he was getting his portrait done and couldn’t escape my clutches ;).

Stalking the Unabomber

Stalking the Unabomber

As well as revealing his Irish heritage (he has dual citizenship) he revealed that he is a bit of a space cadet (his words, not mine) and an all-round off the wall kinda guy. We talked about Polaris and he openly admitted that he’d play poker in a cave in Outer Mongolia if that’s where the action was.

Well after an excellent weekend of poker I’ll be returning to sunny Wales with my interviewage where I’ll be spending the rest of the week glued to my computer working.

Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted with my progress and let you know when and where my features will be appearing.

Irish Open Day Three Updates

April 12, 2009

The action’s really starting to heat up here at the Paddy Power Irish Open 2009 – with only 22 players left out of the 701 runners everybody will get at least €13,400 for their troubles, apart from German online qualifier Marcel Koch…

As the last remaining Paddy Power qualifier he has bagged himself a tasty extra €100,000 for winning their Sole Survivor promotion.

My clairvoyant abilities continue to grow in stature – after our interview yesterday the young Danish player Albert Iversen has been crunching the tournament and eliminating players left, right and centre.

His stack is now up past the 755,000 mark and he is running pretty hot – remember folks, you read it here first 😉

Canadian born poker player, journalist and TV presenter Kara Scott is enjoying a deep run, although is looking a tad short sitting on a stack of around 160k (the average is around 318k). Still she won’t have done her professional reputation or bank account any harm with her 22nd place or better guarantee.

The tournament chip leader is another Canadian poker professional – Andrew Pantling – and he has been pretty much bossing his table all day. So far Mr Pantling and Mr Iversen have not been at the same table, but if either player gets moved to the same table we could definitely see some sparks flying.


Another player who has been causing the sparks to fly is UK based player Andy Bradshaw, who has been on the televised feature table all day accompanied by a bunch of bananas (11 in total, one for each level, although he has managed to sell three of them already for a tidy profit of €3 – nice work if you can get it ;))

Mr Bradshaw has already had a few disagreements with another player at the feature table whose phone rang mid-hand. After kindly telling the guy not to answer it or his hand would be dead, the gentleman in question did and his hand ended up dead – the two players both seem to be doing an excellent job of winding each other up. Check out the live feed.

Neil Channing has just informed me life is good after realising that all the players he took bets on last night have been eliminated.
He and fellow poker pro Nik Persaud are preparing for the launch of their new Blackbeltpoker website feel free to check it out, it goes live in two weeks I believe.

Pro on Pro

True to my word I managed to track down both Roland De Wolfe and Juha Helppi for an entertaining ‘Pro on Pro’ interview. Obviously I don’t want to give too much away but thoroughly enjoyed the banter the two of them had. Roland admitted he is a sick individual, and that Juha is 32, dresses like he’s 42 and plays like he’s 72…

Hard at work rubbing shoulders with Juha Helppi and Roland de Wolfe

Hard at work rubbing shoulders with Juha Helppi and Roland de Wolfe

In true professional style I managed to not puke all over the table of the Citywest’s Asian restaurant while the two of them enjoyed their sushi (shudder… I’m not the biggest fan of fish so raw fish didn’t really appeal :().

Also managed to bump into Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly in the same restaurant and he promised me an interview a bit later on so I’ll keep you posted.

Jamie Gold also seemed keen – he’s currently bossing his table in the €1,500 freeze-out. Interestingly, he revealed to Ireland’s Andy Black that the new rule changes in the WSOP (no talking during a hand in the tournaments) are all because of him – he seemed genuinely disgusted with the fact that he couldn’t use his poker banter to get additional reads on players, and to be fair – how much fun is poker if you can’t talk? You might as well just play on the Goddamn internet…

Right, well the tourney has just restarted after the dinner break, so perversely; I’m off to get some dinner.

More updates later…

Paddy Power Irish Open 2009 Updates

April 11, 2009

More action and adventure as the 2009 Paddy Power Irish Open continues.

Some big names have fallen by the wayside including Roland De Wolfe, Dan Harrington, Andy Black and Donnacha O’Dea.

There are 138 players out of the starting 701 entries and with €600,000 on offer for first place there is still fortune and glory to play for.

The UK’s Andy Bradshaw returned today as one of the chip leaders but has unfortunately gone out just before the dinner break. Actually correction there – Mr Bradshaw is still going strong and is in fact on the feature table as we speak (as of 14:39 Sunday 12th – well can’t be right all the time :()

The always-friendly Jon Kalmar has also gone along with around 100 others as we draw ever closer to crunch time.

Ciaran O’Leary has also hit the rail running into every tournament players worst nightmare; the dreaded Aces vs. Kings scenario with all the money in the middle pre-flop.

Read more about Ciaran’s exploits here at the Paddy Power Irish Open blog.

The €300 Omaha re-buy is in full swing with 115 players gambling with reckless abandon including Ireland’s Andy Black and the UK’s Dave Colclough.

Harrington on Hold ‘Em

Despite his exit from the tournament yesterday, I caught up with an extremely friendly Dan Harrington this morning, who gave me a great interview.

Harrington on Hold'Em

Harrington on Hold'Em

Without too many spoilers it was a really good interview where he revealed just what his fellow pro’s thought about him giving away valuable poker trade secrets to the general public, how he’s had to change his style since the release of his books, and why poker is just like business.

I’ll be transcribing the interview up just as soon as I return to the UK so watch this space for updates.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing a young up-and-coming Danish player by the name of Albert Kirk Iversen who has been destroying the high-stakes heads-up online cash games.

What’s that you say? Another ridiculously aggressive Scandie… but seriously this kid seems really focused and with three WSOP cashes (including a 3rd in the $1000 NLHE event) and a 4th place finish in the Budapest leg of the EPT it is only a matter of time before this guy takes down a major tournament and wins himself some silverware.

As well as discussing how to deal with 400k down swings and talking metagame, Albert revealed just how much work you have to put into the game to be successful at the top level. He’s currently in the midst of going deep in this years Irish Open so stay tuned for updates or check out the action on the Paddy Power blog.

On The Prowl For The Big Bad Wolf

With some great interviews bagged already, I’m obviously still eager for more so am in the middle of attempting to collar the infamous Roland De Wolfe for an interview – maybe even a ‘Pro on Pro’ interview with Interpoker sponsored Finnish poker pro Juha Helppi.

I spotted Roland playing Chinese poker in the Citywest’s lobby earlier so will see what I can do.

Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak is still in the main event with around 40k in chips, so I’ll have to lurk on the sidelines to get an interview with him, but will be trying my hardest.

Jamie Gold is around as well so I’ll see if I can work my Welsh wizardry and pin him down for interview.

WSOPE 2007 runner-up John Tabatabai (a fellow Cardiff boy no less :)) has escaped my interview clutches this time around… next time gadget, next time… by escaping back to London to terrorise the internet once again, but as I’m in London next week for business it looks like I’ll be able to get an interview sorted with him as well – he seemed very amiable about the whole thing.

I’m off to grab me some of the Citywest’s fine cuisine so have to keep this blog entry like a pair of pants – brief.

Tune in tomorrow for more blogage.

Irish Open Action

April 10, 2009

We have ignition -– the 2009 Irish Open has kicked off with 701 players competing for a slice of the €2.2 million prize pool.

The 2009 Irish Open gets going

The 2009 Irish Open gets going

The Irish old guard are out in force with players like Liam ‘the gentleman’ Flood and Padraig Parkinson rubbing shoulders with WSOP Omaha champion and Irish Open 2007 winner Marty Smyth, WSOP bracelet winner Ciaran ‘Big C’ O’Leary and Andy ‘The Mad Monk’ Black and his ultra-fuzzy beard which he probably could have registered separately.

'Networking' with Ciaran 'Big C' O'Leary at the 2009 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open

'Networking' with Ciaran 'Big C' O'Leary at the 2009 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open

Also in attendance is ‘Action’ Dan Harrington complete with trademark green Boston Red Sox hat, Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak with his trusty hoodie and 2006 WSOP main event champion Jamie Gold.

Internet high-stakes whiz kid Brian Townsend flew all the way over from his new UK home only to take the dubious honours of being the tournament’s first casualty; running his set of Fives into a set of Aces on the feature table and busting out on level one… ouch!

Some of the UK’s top players are also in attendance including: Full Tilt Red Pro Richard ‘Chufty’ Ashby, Marc Goodwin, Ryan Fronda, Hit Squad members Karl Marenholtz and James Akenhead, Gala Nottingham champion Rupinder ‘George’ Bedi, Gala Liverpool champion Zach Ford, serial GUKPT casher Nik Persaud, WPT winner Surinder Sunar and Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman.

Flying the flag for Wales is Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough and 2007 WSOPE runner-up and serial raiser John Tabatabai, let’s see if we have more luck here than we did in the Six Nations…

Check out the action via Paddy Power’s live feed here or follow the highs and lows of Europe’s largest poker tournament at the Irish Open blog.

Craic Dealing…

The atmosphere at the Open is always friendly, which may or may not have something to do with the craic that is seemingly in abundance. I couldn’t find any… although I did manage to continue my stunning run of tournament form, managing to get knocked out of the media event after about two hours; getting all the money in the middle pre-flop and running my Ace King in to Pocket Jacks, which quickly became quad Jacks… not good. 😦

Fortunately the kind Paddy Power PR guy Paul Burke took pity on me and fed me pints of Guinness until I couldn’t walk or talk properly (called networking in the trade I believe ;)) and then I proceeded to hit the cash tables… possibly not the best idea I’ve ever had, but a lucrative one nevertheless as I sucked my way out to glory and a nice €300 profit. Tidy!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ladbrokes sponsored player Jon Kalmar today discovering that:

Interviewing Jon Kalmar

Interviewing Jon Kalmar

He is one of poker’s genuine nice guys but will call you a moron if you upset him at the tables (no, it wasn’t me).

He actually used to be a singer in a punk band.

Check out his blog – and I’ll also be posting a link to it in the side bar alongside Ciaran O’Leary’s blog so feel free to peruse at your leisure.

I’ll be pimping out the article next week or so, along with all the other interviews I have lined up so stay tuned and I’ll keep you guys posted.

If things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I should be interviewing Dan Harrington tomorrow and hopefully Phil Laak, Jamie Gold and Brian Townsend, unless of course he’s already left due to his early exit.
Unfortunately Tony G was unable to attend so I won’t be interviewing him this weekend – but rest assured he will be tracked down and brought to a magazine article near you… soon.

More updates to follow over the weekend as I continue my assault on the cash tables and conduct more player interviews (though not at the same time, obviously).

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.