Over the weekend of 10th & 11th January, APAT continued their trendsetting performance with a successful Coral Irish Amateur Poker Championship taking place at Bewley’s Hotel, Dublin, in conjunction with LS Promotions.
This was the first APAT championship where the main event was played in a Pot Limit Omaha discipline and an experienced field of 73 players paid €120 to enter the tournament. Amongst them were legends of the Irish game including Roy ‘the boy’ Brindley and Scott Gray (a 4th place finisher in the 2002 WSOP main event) and a number of players who had travelled from the UK to compete for the prestigious title.
Utilising the Double Chance structure, players were given 20,000 in chips with the ability to take another 20,000 stack at any point after the first hand, at no extra cost, with 30 minute blinds. Some players took the extra chips straight away whilst others felt it would be easier to wait until they had lost their first stack. This tactic was notably used by APAT regular (and Dublin local) David Pilkington, who saw his first stack in the middle with top set on the turn but Michael Mason hit a flush on the river to take that stack. Pilkington reloaded and ground his way up to 45k in chips before exiting the tournament late on Day 1.
It was decided that 16 levels would be played on Day 1 or the tournament would be paused with 24 players remaining, and with 15:36 left of Level 14, the magic number was reached and the following players would return for Day 2 and the chance to take the first ever PLO Main Event Championship.
Colin Wilson 251000
Anton Nesternko 244500
Mark Furlong 222000
Noel Mitchell 208500
Ken McBride 207500
Colm Faulkner 196500
Eamon Kelly 174000
Asa McGrath 172000
John Keown 168500
Rita Galvin 126000
Mark Lassman 113500
Roy Brindley 100000
Glen McCase 93000
Gabor Gelleri 89500
Paul O’Callaghan 87500
John Donnelly 87500
Richard Baker 80000
Pat Flood 66500
Sandy Burke 65000
Rory Keogh 54000
Gary Phillips 50500
Michael Moran 45000
Scott Gray 21000
Willo Connolly 13000
They would be playing for the following prizes:
1st – €2050 + APAT Gold Medal + Seat to the WCOAP Main Event at Aspers Stratford in London.
2nd – €1450 + APAT Silver Medal
3rd – €1050 + APAT Bronze Medal
4th – €800
5th – €600
6th – €450
7th – €350
8th – €300
9th – €250
At the start of Day 2 the action was fast and furious and we were soon down to two tables. Welshman Gary Phillips was the first to exit in 16th place, and Paul O’Callaghan soon followed after failing to appear and being blinded out. Asa McGrath busted in 14th and Rita Galvin followed in 13th. Ken McBride left in 12th after flopping top two but losing to Colin Wilson’s rivered flush, and long-time chip leader Noel Mitchell unexpectedly exited in 11th after losing a cooler with suited red Aces against Eamon Kelly’s suited black Aces, Kelly hitting a runner runner club flush to win the 500k pot.
This meant we were hand for hand, which lasted over 2 levels. The main beneficiary of this was Roy “The Boy” Brindley, who quietly turned his 200k stack into a 600k stack without showdown. Eventually, it took Colin Wilson flopping Quad Sixes to eliminate Glen McCabe in 10th, and our final table was set.
Seat 1 – Eamon Kelly
Seat 2 – Rory Keogh
Seat 3 – John Keown
Seat 4 – Colin Wilson
Seat 5 – Scott Gray
Seat 6 – Roy “the boy” Brindley
Seat 7 – Richard Baker
Seat 8 – Colm Faulkner
Seat 9 – Anton Nesternko
Northern Ireland’s John Keown was the first to exit in 9th, after he got it all in preflop with Ah Ad 8d Td against Eamon Kelly’s Kd Kh Qh 3d, but Kelly flopped a flush draw on the Jh 8h 5c board, missed the 6s turn but hit on the 4h river, eliminating Keown and giving Kelly the chip lead.
Richard Baker was the next to leave as the short-stacked Englishman had ground his way to the final table, and pushed his last 50k in with K-K-6-5. He was called by both Eamon and Rory Keogh, who checked down the 5-4-A-T-T board. Eamon showed A-4-x-x and this was enough to scoop the pot and send Richard to the cash desk to collect his winnings.
There was then a flurry of eliminations and the table went from 7 handed to 4 handed in 3 consecutive hands! Firstly Roy Brindley raised and Eamon called. They saw a 2c 5h Qc flop and both checked. Roy then checked the 3c turn and Eamon bet the pot. This time though, Roy re-potted all in and Eamon very quickly called! Roy held Kc Ks 4c 7d for the second nut flush but Eamon had Ac 10c 10d 7d for the nut flush and Roy was drawing dead! The river was the meaningless 5h and after a quick chip count, Eamon had Roy slightly covered and we lost Roy Brindley in 7th.
Next hand, Colin Wilson found himself all in and at risk against, once again, Eamon. The board read Kh Ah 3h and Eamon had flopped a flush with Jh Th Tc 7s, whereas Colin only had 2 pair with Qs As 3d 8s. Colin did not hit a 4 outer on the Jc turn or 2s river and he exited the tournament in 6th.
The hand afterwards, Rory Keogh had blinded down to 48,000 at 12,000/24,000 and pushed his 2bb in UTG. Eamon and Colm Faulkner called and checked down the Qs 8d 7d 5s Jd board. Colm showed Q-8-x-x for 2 pair, and the other players mucked, meaning we lost Rory Keogh in 5th place.
Play slowed down noticeably after this, and it took over an hour to lose the next player. It was Colm Faulkner who was the unlucky player to miss the medals, after he 6-bet all in holding Ad As Ts 3s and was called by none other than Eamon who held Kd 9h Ah Td. Eamon turned two pair on the 4s 9d 7s Kc 2c and sent Colm to the rail in 4th place.
At this point Eamon had 2.1m of the 2.95m chips in play and the blinds were 20,000/40,000. It took over half an hour to go heads up, with Anton Nesterenko the unlucky player to finish in 3rd. He pushed with Q-J-5-2 for 6bbs and Scott called with K-9-J-7. Anton flopped top pair, turned two pair and rivered a higher two pair on the Qs 4d 3d 2d 4c board, but Scott had Kd 9d in his hand and won the pot with a flush, meaning that Anton won the bronze medal and €1050.
This meant that it would be Scott Gray vs Eamon Kelly for the title. Amazingly, Scott had returned on Day 2 with 7bb and ground it out at the start, before playing well and winning the showdowns to get HU with Eamon, who had looked like he was controlling the final table at one point. Eamon had a 2:1 chip lead at the start, but Scott was the aggressor at the start and it was soon even.
It didn’t take long for us to find a winner. Scott had ground Eamon down to 1.2m and Eamon eventually committed all his chips on a 4-T-7 flop, holding 6-5-2-2 for the open ended straight draw. Scott, however, held K-K-3-2 for the overpair and this held on the 6 turn and A river, giving Scott the pot, the title of Coral Irish Amateur Poker Champion for 2015, the €2050, the Gold Medal and the seat at the WCOAP Main Event at Aspers Stratford. Eamon took home €1450 and the Silver Medal.
1st – Scott Gray – €2050 + APAT Gold Medal + Seat to the WCOAP Main Event at Aspers Stratford in London.
2nd – Eamon Kelly – €1450 + APAT Silver Medal
3rd – Anton Nesternko – €1050 + APAT Bronze Medal
4th – Colm Faulkner – €800
5th – Rory Keogh – €600
6th – Colin Wilson – €450
7th – Roy Brindley – €350
8th – Richard Baker – €300
9th – John Keown – €250