The APAT Poker Association and Tour held the sixth event in the second season of its acclaimed Tour, the Irish Amateur Poker Championship in Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Club, on 14th & 15th June. The event had 140 entries, who qualified by online satellites, APAT’s regional championships and direct payment. The field included 5 former APAT Champions. The players were again offered a £75 freeze-out with 10,000 starting chips, a slow clock, £3,000 plus to the winner plus significant added value from tour sponsors BlueSquare.com via the form of an entry package into a GUKPT Tour event worth $3,000 to the winner in addition to their cash prize, trophy, medal and Player of the Year ranking points. The APAT Player of ther Year recieves a $7,000 package courtesy of BlueSquare.com into the end of year GUKPT Grand Final.
In early play one player was at the head of affairs. Chris Filus hit several sets, twice against player’s holding pocket Aces and by the dinner break on Day One he was in good shape with 40,000 chips. Also going well were Alan Armitage, helped by being dealt Pocket Kings three times and Aces twice, Jon Woodfield and Dewi James. Last year’s winner Jacques Kieft was an early exit-ee, alongside APAT stalwarts Andrew Tracey and James Eccles who ran Ace-Queen into Pocket Queens on an A-Q-7 flop.
As Day One played moved towards its conclusion two players found favourable situations that were to catapault them to the head of affairs. Mark Barsley twice found Kings against Queens to give him the chip lead, whilst Mark Renshaw saw Aces to a raise and a re-raise in front of him from pocket tens and pocket Jacks, the Aces held.
Elsewhere inaugural APAT Champion Daniel Phillips survived to Day two, firstly hitting an Ace with his A-10 against tens and eights and then doubling through with Queens against Ace-King.
The chip leaders at the end of Day One were as follows:
Mark Barsley 148,500
Mark Renshaw 145,000
Chris McLeese 134,000
Nigel Johnson 129,000
Colin O’Prey 109,000
Twenty players returned for Day two with blinds at 3,000/6,000. With several short-stacks, eliminations were swift and in under three hours the final table was reached. Darren Shallis, a regular player in APAT’s events and previous finallist was the biggest mover in the run down the final table and reached the chip leader shortly before the bubble. Kev Ridley eliminated Daniel Phillips in 10th after a rivered Ace propelled his Ace-Queen past pocket Nines and previously finding Aces against Paul McGuinness’ Queens to knock him out. John Murray was also in good form trebling a short stack with a set of sixes and then finding Aces to knock out Stuart Oliver.
So the final table began, with the players supported by a big crowd of fellow players and friends, with the following seat positions and chip-counts:
In 1 Darren Shallis from Newport 298,000
In 2 Kev Ridley from Worksop 264,000
In 3 Mark Redshaw from Wakefield 241,000
In 4 Bobby Murphy from Dublin 115,000
In 5 John Murray from Portsmouth 183,000
In 6 Nigel Johnson from London 96,000
In 7 Anthony Williams from Birmingham 40,000
In 8 Mark Barsley from Worksop 88,000
In 9 Colin O’Prey from Belfast 77,000
Blinds were 5,000-10,000 on commencement. First player to depart was Mark Barsley, pushing AJ into Darren Shallis’ AK in the blinds. Short-stack Anthony Williams followed in 8th at the hands of Nigel Johnson.
In 7th the unfortunate Colin O’Prey took Queens against Mark Redshaw’s pocket eight’s, only for Mark to hit a gutshot straight on the river to knock him out. In sixth John Murray who had been crippled when a river bluff move failed lost to Bobby Murphy, whilst in fifth Mark Redshaw fell to Shallis.
Four handed Nigel Johnson ran pocket two’s into Kev Ridley’s Queens with no help. Three handed Ridley himself pushed on the button with A8 and found Shallis waiting behind with Queens, that held.
Shallis began heads-up against Bobby Murphy with a 4-to-1 chip lead but that was soon eroded when Murphy doubled through and made steady progress to chip parity. Shallis pulled away again in a drawn out see-saw contest before the final confrontation occurred. Murphy raised on the button, Shallis pushed and Murphy called. Shallis had A7 against A6. After the turn any card over a seven would have given a split pot but it fell a harmless four to seal Shallis’ victory.
So Darren Shallis from Newport became the 2008 Irish Amateur Poker Champion to climax a tremendous weekend for all the APAT players in Dublin.