Over the weekend 502 poker players descended on the Burlington Hotel in Dublin and exchanged €3,500 cash for 20,000 tournament chips and the chance to become the 2012 Irish Open champion. Those 502 hopefuls have been whittled down to just nine and they will sit back down at 14:00 today and play until a winner has been crowned.
Ian Simpson is the man they all have to catch, his 2,007,000 chips enough for him to start the day as a narrow chip leader; narrow because David "Dixie" Dean in second place has 1,986,000 chips. Although these two players have almost 4,000,000 of the 10,040,000 chips in their possession the eyes of the media will be on the shorter stacked players Andy Black (808,000), Samuel Chartier (582,000) and Kevin Vandsermissen (492,000).
Black is best known for his fifth place finish at the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event that netted him $1,750,000. Then in 2007 he came third in the Aussie Millions Main Event before finishing in seventh place at the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo. These three results alone make up more than half of the Irishman's $4,380,254 live tournament winnings.
Canadian Samuel Chartier is another extremely dangerous player and if he can find a double up early in proceedings he will most certainly be a threat to his opponents. He has spent a lot of time in Europe recently and has had some very impressive results including a final table appearance in the €5,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha event at the WSOPE, and no fewer than four final table appearances in EPT side events in February alone.
Bringing up the rear is Belgium's Vandersmissen who is viewed as many as somewhat of a loose-cannon. He plays an extremely aggressive style but like Chariter, if he picks up some chips in the first level or two after the restart he will be a force to be reckoned with and could stage an epic comeback.
Each of the players has now locked up €23,000 for their efforts in this tournament and any player making it to fourth place or above will help themselves to six-figures. The eventual winner, whoever that may be, will leave Dublin with a massive €420,000 and the title of 2012 Irish Open champion.
2012 Irish Open Final Table
Seat 1: Ian Simpson: 2,007,000
Seat 2: David "Dixie" Dean: 1,986,000
Seat 3: Thomas Beer: 1,319,000
Seat 4: Kevin Vandersmissen: 492,000
Seat 5: Andrew Black: 808,000
Seat 6: Philip Magennis: 632,000
Seat 7: Samuel Chartier: 582,000
Seat 8: Steve Watts: 1,519,000
Seat 9: Jordan Lewis: 685,000