The PokerNews Live Reporting Team was on-site at the 2023 €1,150 Irish Open Main Event, which drew 2,491 entrants and offered up a €2,428,475 prize pool. It marked the biggest-ever Irish Open Main Event and the largest poker tournament ever held in Ireland.
Scotland’s David Docherty, who qualified after winning a $109 online satellite on PokerStars, emerged as the champion to claim a €365,000 ($398,780) top prize.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest and most exciting hands captured by the PokerNews Live Reporting Team during the tournament.
David Docherty Turns $109 into €365,000 After 2023 Irish Open Main Event Victory
Johnson Busts Hartigan in Two Hands
On Day 1cd of the tournament, it was Level 5 (100/300/300) when EPT commentator James Hartigan had been moved from the live-streamed table to an outer table but that did not work out for him.
In the first hand, Mitch Johnson opened from early position, which Hartigan three-bet to 2,000 from the button. Johnson then responded with a four-bet to 5,300 after inquiring about Hartigan’s stack and Hartigan called.
The flop came down K♦8♣7♦ and Johnson continuation-bet for 2,800. Hartigan took one last peak at his cards before passing them to the dealer.
Johnson would bust Hartigan not much later when Johnson had a full house with 3♦3♠ on Q♠3♣6♠6♣. The rest of Hartigan’s stack went in with 6♥7♥ for turned trips. The river was the A♣, which resulted in Hartigan’s exit. However, he speeded to the reentry desk to fire another bullet.
Nitsche Doubles with Seven-Deuce
On Day 2 in Level 12 (800/1,600/1,600), Dominik Nitsche and Ian O’Flynn were involved in a blind-on-blind battle for a pot worth roughly 35,000. On a completed board of 4♦7♦J♦2♥3♥ O’Flynn had checked to Nitsche. Nitsche went all-in for 28,900 chips and O’Flynn asked the dealer for an exact count.
After the correct number was given, O’Flynn called. Nitsche had a surprise in store for O’Flynn as he showed 7♥2♦. Nitsche turned two pair and doubled up with the worst starting hand in hold’em.
You know what they say, ”Seven-deuce, never lose”.
Button Confusion Leads to Glaser’s Seven-Deuce Victory
Speaking of Seven-Deuce, a big hand took place on Day 3 in Level 26 (20,000/40,000/40,000). There was a lot of commotion over at Benny Glaser‘s table. Two floormen were discussing with the players and the dealer how to handle the situation that just occurred.
Allegedly, Glaser had put in a big blind and ante, thinking that he was in the appropriate position. However, the button was actually three seats prior, leading to two people putting in a small blind before Glaser’s big blind. No one at the table realized this before significant action had taken place, in the form of an 80,000 raise from Darren Harbinson and a fold.
The floor ruled that Glaser would get his 40,000 ante back and his big blind would count as an under the gun call. Meanwhile, the second small blind Daniel Rankin had to put in the additional 60,000 chips to cover the big blind and ante.
With the ruling set in stone, the hand continued as normally as it could. The action folded around to Rankin, who called, as did Glaser.
The flop was A♦4♦7♠ and both ”big blinds” checked to Harbinson, who fired a continuation-bet of 110,000. Rankin abandoned this ludicrous situation, but Glaser stuck around with a call. The turn fell the 9♠ and Glaser check-called another bet from Harbinson, this time for 190,000.
The river 2♥ saw Harbinson complete the triple barrel, firing for 255,000 after another check from Glaser. Glaser remarked ”This pot is f-ing crazy, I call”. Harbinson replied by saying ”You’re good, I missed my flush draw”, after which Glaser tabled a very surprising 7♦2♦ for a rivered two pair.
The showdown got some laughter from the crowd that had gathered around the table, but Glaser was the one who had the last laugh as he raked in a big pot that should not have ever happened in the first place.
Black Hits Royal Flush to Bust Beresford
Also on Day 2, albeit in Level 24 (10,000/25,000/25,000), two players were all in preflop with Andy Black holding the A♥10♥ and Conor Beresford the A♦10♠.
The flop came 2♦J♥K♥ and the turn came the Q♥ to give Black the rarest of hands, the Royal Flush. Beresford was eliminated from the event in 67th place.
You can check out that hand below:
Andy Black Jams with Six-Deuce
The above hand helped Black make it all the way to the final table, and as the poker world knows from his play at the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, he isn’t afraid to mix it up. That was evidenced by a hand on Day 4 in Level 38 (300,000/600,000/600,000) when Declan Rice limped the small blind. Black shoved from the big blind and Rice looked him up. The commentators on stream were urging Rice to make the call. He thought for a bit and then called.
Andy Black: 6♣2♦
Declan Rice: A♣8♠
Black had attempted a blind steal and Rice had caught him at it. The flop ran out 9♥7♠6♣. Black hit a pair of sixes and audible gasps came from viewers on the rail.
The turn came the Q♦ and the river was the 5♥ to give Rice the straight. It was a legendary bust for a legendary player, who made the exit on his own terms. Black was eliminated in 5th place for €95,500.
Game-Changing Heads-Up Hand
Rice made it all the way to heads-up play against Docherty, and in Level 41 (600,000/1,200,000/1,200,000) a game-changing hand took place. Docherty made it 2,400,000 from the button and Rice called from the big blind.
The flop of 5♥K♦J♠ was dealt and Docherty continuation-bet for two million chips. Rice then responded with a check-raise to 5,000,000, which Docherty called.
All the signs of a big hand were in the air as the 8♥ turn was put on the felt. Rice continued with another bet, this time of 6,000,000. Again, Docherty obliged with a call.
The river was the 3♥ and Rice checked the flush-completing card. Docherty thought for a little while before moving all in for a bet worth 18,075,000. Rice responded with a rapid call and all onlookers spectated the situation in awe.
David Docherty: A♥K♥
Declan Rice: K♣8♣
Docherty rivered the nuts against Rice’s turned two pair. He now has a six-to-one chip lead, with Rice being left with only eight big blinds. Rice finished as runner-up a short time later for €228,700.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.