The 2018 Irish Poker Open main event has been won by Ryan Mandara after he came through a 1,340-player field to beat local lad Ferdia O’Connell heads-up.
When the second longest running Texas Hold’em tournament in the world came to a close on February 18, England’s Mandara was mobbed by a throng of vocal supporters. There to see their friend takedown the largest score of his career, the rail cheered as Mandara closed out the final eight-hour session with winning straight.
Ten Turns Mandara into a Champion
After a back-and-forth with Ireland’s O’Connell, Mandara eventually clinched the title when his 6♥8♣ caught the perfect turn card on the 7♦3♥9♣T♠A♣ board. With his opponent making a pair of tens, all the money went in on the river before the final pot was slid across to Mandara.
As the new Irish Poker Open champion smiled for the cameras and mentally spent his €210,000 ($259,000), another interesting story emerged. While the spotlight quite rightly shone on Mandara, O’Connell’s achievement didn’t go unnoticed.
Prior to the tournament, the Irishman only had three small cashes to his name in live events. However, all that changed after he took the runner-up spot and €180,000 ($222,000) thanks to a $0.01 qualifier.
Taking advantage of the satellites offered by event sponsor PartyPoker, O’Connell was able to make a hefty return on his investment and prove that the Moneymaker-esque feats are still possible.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Away from the Irish Poker Open’s main event, the festival as a whole featured its usual mix of smaller buy-in tournaments, cash games and frivolities. Topping the bill for those that couldn’t find any luck at the tables was a beer pong showdown.
Part of the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations, the mini-tournament saw players swap chips for pints and ping pong balls in a battle of alcohol tolerance and coordination. These extracurricular festivities have become synonymous with the Irish Poker Open and proved to be a hit with players once again.
With Partypoker looking to embrace the casual side of poker and ensure players of all skill levels get something out of the game, this year’s pairing has proved a positive one for both parties.
Judging by the feedback on social media, it seems that those in attendance were also happy with how this year’s festival turned out.
Irish Poker Open Main Event Result
- Ryan Mandara – $259,000*
- Ferdia O’Connell – $222,000*
- Pascal Baumgartner – $123,500
- Daniel Samson – $92,600
- Joseph Cahill – $68,000
- Sameer Singh – $52,500
- Daniel Fargher – $39,500
- Dean Clay – $28,400
- David Barnes – $23,400* Denotes a deal