Irish Winter Tournament, Dublin
€1,500 Main Event No Limit Holdem EPT
Report by Joe on Monday, 25 October 2004 at 8:43 pm

The Merrion Card Casino was host to the third EPT event which was sold out at 150 runners about a week earlier. In fact to the Merrion’s credit they managed to squeeze in an extra 13 players and 163 took part in the Euro 1500 NLH event.

Snooker champion Mark Williams and a ‘sportsman’ who has been tipped by yours truly in these diaries to win his own world championship Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor were here and before the tournament started I heard John Kabbaj remark that probably the greatest snooker player of all time, Stephen Hendry, had come up and said hello ‘to him’. Poker really has moved on a great deal in the last few years.

Mark Williams doubled up on the very first hand and I watched him win a pot three tables out when he made four kings against pocket jacks and pocket tens. He was probably chip leader at that time and eventually went on to make the money. His poker has improved a lot and he plays a winning game but probably a little too tight in the later stages.

Dublin is a great place to play and as I’ve said before one of my favourites. It is famous for the 7pm tournament starting at 8.30pm and 10 minute breaks that become hour long visits to the pub. In fact one of my favourite stories from here is when the 9 finalists of Saturday’s comp went to the pub at the dinner break and they were having such a good time that they all stayed in the pub and played the final Sunday afternoon instead!

Well things are changing and it’s a lot to do with John Duthie, Thomas Kremser and the new relaxed Liam Flood. Big screens were all over the Merrion showing the time, the levels, the blinds, the players left in etc. Breaks were regularly scheduled and lasted just a minute longer than they should. In America when a break is over and the clock hits 00:00 the tournament re-starts and the cards go in the air – there is no constant calling the players back to their seats as there is in Europe. In Ireland they are nearly there and that’s a huge achievement for Thomas.

I also saw Thomas make a ruling that I have never seen outside of the States before. Davood Mehrmand, who is currently top of the European rankings, was being his usual annoying self and managing to upset just about every poker player in the room. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying (my German’s not too good) but certain expletives sound the same in many languages. Thomas was calm and gave Davood several warnings before he finally gave him a 10 minute penalty. A penalty in a poker tournament means that you are dealt in, your blinds are posted and your cards are passed. Davood was low stacked and only half a dozen places before the money. He went mad (well I think he was already). The ten minute penalty became twenty minutes and eventually Scouse doorman Jimmy, a great bloke by the way, was called upstairs and Davood was removed from the room to a lot of cheering from the locals. It wasn’t fair that one player could shout and swear so much as twenty something players played their hearts out trying to make a TV final table. Eventually Davood was all in on the big blind and there were a few groans as his K,J doubled him up even though he wasn’t even in the room. He was out soon after his return though and Thomas should be applauded for the way he handled the situation.

Whilst that was one penalty that I agreed with I myself didn’t like the decision made by a certain Mr Riley up at Old Trafford. Having been eliminated by Chris Singh in about 28th place when my pocket Jacks couldn’t outdraw his pocket Kings I spent Sunday afternoon in Foley’s Bar watching Man Utd vs Arsenal with Michael Harbourne, John Kabbaj and a few others. I have had a fair bet on Arsenal to win the league and I fancied a draw in this game very strongly. The 73rd minute penalty that changed the course of the match (and yes I am talking through my pocket) was a disgrace – if only Thomas had been the referee!

After the match it was off to the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge to watch Ram in the EPT final. The Merrion just didn’t have the space for all the TV set up. ‘Bad Girl’ Pham, winner of the WPC event in Dublin a few months earlier, was the overnight chip leader whilst Ram was in 6th or 7th position. Also in the final were popular Irishman Rory Liffey and Julian Thew. The blinds were reduced right back to allow more play in front of the cameras. Play started late and the free bar didn’t last too long.

During EPT events in America I have seen the production crew ‘invite’ the crowd to cheer and make noise. Here in Dublin no invitation was necessary. As play continued for several hours the singing crowd got noisier and noisier until the producer had to ask everyone to quieten down a bit.

The organisers would have been very happy with the final heads up battle between Rory and Ram. Ram has come very close to winning big events this year; three WSOP final tables and 2nd to our good friend Harry D in the Victor Poker Cup - so Ram was taking this event and the first place prize money of Euro 93,000 very seriously.

I watched Ram lose a big pot the night before when it was two off the money with twenty left. He had been chip leader before the pot where he found Ace King against Aces and took a big loss. I wasn’t sure if his composure had been affected but he played faultlessly – especially throughout the final and when the Ace hit the flop against Rory’s pocket pair in the final hand Ram won his first event on this Tour. I told you it was about time dude – well done we’re all very proud.

Full Result EPT Euro 1500 NLH Merrion Card Casino, Dublin 163 players

1st Ram 'Crazy Horse' Vaswani € 93,000 $ 117,003
2nd Rory Liffey € 46,000 $ 57,873
3rd Jamie Drummond € 23,000 $ 28,936
4th Alan Vinson € 14,750 $ 18,557
5th Sean Donaldson € 9,800 $ 12,329
6th Xuyen 'Bad Girl' Pham € 8,500 $ 10,694
7th Julian Thew € 6,200 $ 7,800
8th John Coughlan € 5,000 $ 6,290
9th John Falconer € 5,000 $ 6,290
10th Serge Kammerger € 3,900 $ 4,907
11th Ulf Haglund € 3,900 $ 4,907
12th Mark Williams € 3,900 $ 4,907
13th Christopher Stamle € 3,500 $ 4,403
14th David Lloyd € 3,500 $ 4,403
15th Thomas Bihl € 3,500 $ 4,403
16th Derry Herney € 2,900 $ 3,648
17th Darren Judges € 2,900 $ 3,648
18th Len Collin € 2,900 $ 3,648