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Monday, April 9, 2007 | Francis Lee

Marty Smyth Paddy Power

The four day Paddy Power Irish Open 2007 main event attracted a field of 701 players making this officially the biggest ever tournament held in Europe.

Some of the best known poker players around along with a few well known faces attended this tournament such as Carlos Mortenen, Jennifer Tilly, The Devilfish, John Wong, Michael Grecco (who played Beppe in Eastenders and was the recent winner of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour in Cardiff), and ex England striker Teddy Sheringham.

The tournament offered a €2,000,000 guaranteed prize pool paying up to 72 players with €650,000 for first place. When we eventually reached day 4 for the 7 seat final table it was Sorel Mizzi holding the chip lead at €2.8m with almost three times the chip stack of second placed Nicky Power with just under €1m in chips. Roland De Wolfe was on the short stack holding €365,000 and wasn’t far behind Brian The Fox O’Keefe with €393,000. With the blinds starting at 15,000-30,000 and a 2,000 running ante the short stacks needed to get busy quickly or find them selves blinded out of the tournament.

Official final table Chip Counts

  • Sorel Mizzi (Canada) €2,855,000
  • Nicky Power (Ireland) €964,000
  • Thomas Finneran (Ireland) €945,000
  • Martin Smyth (Ireland) €845,000
  • Danny McHugh (Ireland) €803,000
  • Brian O’Keefe (Ireland) €393,000
  • Roland De Wolfe (England) €365,000

The first significant action of the table was when Ronald de Wolfe on only the second hand gained a much needed double up through Nicky Power. Power raised €120,000 and De Wolfe re raised all in for €350,000. Power calls and shows :ah :9s but was dominated by De Wolfe holding :ac :jc . De Wolfe won the €700,000 pot with the board coming down :4s :as :4d :10d :5s putting him in a far more comfortable position.

It wasn’t too long before De Wolfe doubled up again against Sorel Mizzi which put him in the overall chip lead. De Wolfe raised to €175,000 to which Mizzi re raised to €500,000. De Wolfe goes all in and is called by Missi. It was a race with De Wolfe holding the Big Slick :ah :ks against Missi’s Pocket 3’s. The flop was no help to either player coming down :qs :8h :9d but DeWolfe went into the lead with the :ac coming on the turn. The :4c on the river gave the pot to De Wolfe who now had €1.7million.

After the Break it wasn’t long before we lost our first player. Thomas Finneran went all in for €600,000 which is instantly called by De Wolfe. De Wolfe was a big favourite to win when he flipped over :ac :as against Finneran’s :ah :3h . The flop gave Finnegan a chance of a flush coming down :10h :6h :6s , but when the turn came down with the :6d he only had a 2% chance of splitting the pot needing the last 6 in the deck. The :jc ended his hopes knocking him out in 7th and a prize of €75,000.

When the TV camera’s started for the official TV final table it was on the very first hand when De Wolf again calls an all in this time from Nicky Power. De Wolfe won the €1.4m pot holding :ah :4d against powers :2c :2h . The flop gave De Wolfe 2 pair with the board showing :as :4c :5s but Power had a chance with an inside straight draw giving him some more outs. The :jh and :qd came on the turn and river and Nicky Power was eliminated in 6th place collecting €100,000.

De Wolf was making most of the moves up to this point until Missi momentarily stopped his dominance of this final table when he lost a €2m pot. Holding :kc :jc against Mizzi’s :ad :10s . Missi hit a 10 on the flop :9d :10d :2c and De Wolfe didn’t improve with the turn and river showing :9h and :7s .

This didn’t stop him for long crippling “The Fox” Brian O’Keefe. With both players all in pre flop O’Keefe was unlucky to loose this pot hitting a set of 9’s on the flop :9h :5h :3d . De Wolfe with :ah :5d looked to be loosing his second big pot in a row and going out of this tournament until the turn and river gave him two running hearts :6h :2h giving De Wolfe the Flush. A lucky escape for De Wolfe taking him back up to second place on €1.6m.

The next hand spelled the end for The Fox going all in with :qh :9c and was called by Marty Smyth holding pocket 5’s. The small pair held up and Brian O’Keefe was out in 5th winning €130,000.

Down to four players and it was Danny Mchugh who as the next casualty of the night, McHugh was until this point going un-noticed not getting too involved in the big pots, but surviving taking down the blinds with the tight image he had built up. He tried to push De Wolfe off his hand Re Raising De Wolf €1.3m all in after De Wolf initially raised to €250,000. De Wolfe called flipping over :5s :5h and it was a race for the pot with McHugh showing :ad :9s . Neither player improved with the board coming down :7h :3s :qh :3d :qh and McHugh was out in 4th taking home €175,000.

The next hour and half saw the chip lead swing from player to player with Marty Smyth winning the biggest pot of the night at €3m against De Wolf. De Wolfe again calling an all in raise with a small pair :6c :6h against Smyth’s :as :10s . The flop this time was unkind to De Wolfe coming down :ah :as :3c and the river gave Smyth the full house with the :10c . De Wolfe came back at Smyth forcing him to fold after the river not long before the break.

The official chip count after the break had Marty Smyth in a slender lead over Sorel Missi with €2.7m and De Wolfe was third on €1.7m. De Wolfe crippled Sorel Missi ten minutes after the restart, Missi raised €320,000 and De Wolfe moved all in. The show down was a race with De Wolfe showing :kd :qd against Missi holding :7s :7h . It was looking good for Missi with the first four cards coming down :2h :10c :js :2d but the river gave De Wolfe the straight coming down with an :ad wining De Wolfe a €2.8m pot.

Not long after Missi went out of the tournament in 3rd place. Pushing all in he was called by both De Wolfe and Smyth. The flop comes :as :10c :10s , both players checked and the turn came down :7s . De Wolfe throws in a bet of €500,000 and Smyth folds showing :ah :qd . This turned out to be a good lay down when De Wolfe flipped over :ks :5s showing the flush, Missi mucked his hand and collected €210,000

At the start of head ups play De Wolfe was leading in the chip count by almost €1m holding €4m chips to Smyth’s €3m. It took nearly an hour and a half before this match up was all over. The play swung from player to player but Smyth was starting to get the upper hand and had taken the chip lead by €1m. On the final hand De Wolfe moved all in holding :10h :3h . Smyth took his time and eventually called holding :kh :9h . Both players hit the flush with the board coming down :ah :8s :6h :8d :2h and Smyth holding the nut flush won top prize of €650,000.

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