SPADEPOKER>POKER NEWS> Finnish dominance - champion of the record breaking Irish Open Tero Laurila

Finnish dominance - champion of the record breaking Irish Open Tero Laurila

The biggest ever Irish Open Main Event crowned its champion yesterday, Finnish pro Tero Laurila, after a 3-way deal and a playoff for the title.

The legendary Irish Open poker tour is on the bucket list of most poker players in the world, and no wonder. Year after year, the series breaks records, and the just-concluded edition was no exception - it broke several records over the course of 35 events, led by the 5,320 entries in the Mini Irish Open (which became the biggest tournament ever played in Ireland), and of course, we can't leave out the Main Event itself.

That one, thanks to over 800 online qualifiers, saw 3,223 entries, which meant a prizepool worth €3,152,175. This began to be shared among the top 480 players, with the biggest prizes awaiting the fourteen finalists yesterday. They took their seats at the final day tables yesterday, where you could also follow their journey to the €415,615 reward via Live Stream.

Over 9 hours of play kicked off the final table at a brisk pace, allowing us to get to know the final table after just two hours of play. Stephen Groom and Hiep Ninh, both with stacks of almost 60bb, sat on the table as chipleaders.

As the clock ticked down, the field of title contenders narrowed until the last three players were left in play. They summoned the floors, stopped the tournament clock, and started a deal debate that soon came to an agreement. After half an hour of discussion, the players gave themselves an ICM deal and agreed to a playoff for an extra €25,000 for the runner-up and an extra €60,000 for the winner:

  • Hiep Ninh - €309,979
  • Mark Johnston - €232,685
  • Tero Laurila - €232,685

The play continued with the elimination of Mark Johnston in 3rd place, after which the tournament moved into the final heads-up. Ninh went into it with a slight advantage, which he gradually built up until the moment of the heroic hero call arrived. Laurila just Q-high-timed his opponent's triple barrel bluff, after which he surged into a 2-1 lead.

Everything was soon ended by a hand in which Ninh sent in his 10bb with a combination of , which Laurila willingly called. The board with all three remaining queens was a nice ending to the whole festival, completing the Finn's quads and the win of a lifetime.

The now 38-year-old Laurila was once a floorball coach, from which he got into poker in 2005. Despite the tournament success he's garnered in both live and online poker (he finished fourth in the ME WCOOP for $126,000), he considers himself primarily a cash game player: "I play poker whenever there's room. I specialize in cash games, where PLO is my most frequent discipline."

Immediately after winning, Lautila let his emotions out in full force and didn't hide his joy, "I thought I was going to bust out! It was an incredible feeling to finally get all the stress out of me. The last three nights I've always slept a maximum of 4 hours, I feel completely drained. But of course, we still have to celebrate with my boys before we rest!"

1.Tero LaurilaFIN292,685€*
2.Hiep NinhIRL335,636€*
3.Mark JohnstonUK232,685€*
4.Georgios TsouloftasCYP142,760€
5.Oliver BoyceIRL109,820€
6.Stephen GroomUK84,480€
7.Vidmantas BeliauskasLIT64,960€
8.Adrian ThorneIRL49,960€
9.David TousSPA38,420€

Source - PSlive, PokerNews, YouTube, IrishPokerOpen