Kevin Vandersmissen is the latest player to have his name written into the history books as the winner of the longest-running European-based poker tournament; the Irish Open.
Vandersmissen started the nine-handed final table, held at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin, ninth in chips and many thought, myself included, that he would get his short stack in at the very first opportunity and either double up or become the ninth place finisher. Instead he bided his time, doubled up, played an aggressive yet patient game and walked away with the title.
By the time he had doubled up two players had already been eliminated, Philip Magennis and Andy Black. Both were eliminated in the same hand where Ian Simpson opened the betting to 56,000, Thomas Beer three-bet to 140,000 and Black moved all-in for 774,000! The craziness continued as Magennis called all in for 622,000, Simpson folded and Beer snap-called! Black held AsKs, Magennis QsQd and Beer a lovely pair of aces! The board ran out 2d-7h-Kd-7c-7d and Beer saw his stack swell to a tournament leading 2,995,000 after just five hands of play.
After that double elimination there was a slow but steady stream of bust outs, though amazingly Vandersmissen was not involved in a single one right until heads-up. Canada's Sam Chartier became the seventh place finisher when he ran AsJh into Simpson's AcKd the shortly after Jordan Lewis picked up the exact same hand (AcKd) and lost to the dominated KhJd in the hand of David "Dixie" Dean when Dean flopped a jack.
Six became five when Steve Watts opened to 128,000 from under the gun at 30,000/60,000/4,000a and then called when Simpson three-bet shoved for 1,494,000. Simpson held 7h7s which was racing against the AsJd of Watts. When the board ran out 4h-8d-8s-3h-Qs Simpson's sevens had stayed in front and Watts was eliminated.
Simpson was the next player to go despite getting his chips in as a substantial favourite. He three-bet over the top of Beer's opening raise then called when Beer shoved to find his pocket tens way in front of the 8s8d of his German opponent. However his lead was short lived because the Beer flopped a set on a 6d-8c-Ah flop and stayed ahead when the turn and river were the 5c and 9c respectively.
Heads-up was set when Dean's short-stacked shove with Kh5c was called by Beer holding As9s. Calling proved to be Beer's saviour because Vandersmissen woke up with pocket aces and four-bet shoved. Beer got out of the way and when the board ran out Ks-Jd-Td-Ac-Jc the one-on-one battle could commence.
Vandersmissen lead by 5,531,000 to 4,449,000 chips and he gradually opened himself a comfortable lead and then after the following hand he found all 10,400,000 chips in his possession.
Beer min-raised on the button to 160,000 and Vandersmissen called. The pair shared a flop reading 3c-9s-4h and Vandersmissen checked. Beer continued with a 200,000 continuation bet, Vandersmissen check-raised to 480,000 then Beer made it 800,000 to play. Vandersmissen then shoved for over 7,000,000 and Beer called the all-in! Beer flipped over AcKh and needed to spike an ace or king because Vandersmissen had made top pair with 9d7c. The ace or king failed to appear, in fact Vandsermissen caught an unnecessary third nine on the river and like that the 502 entrants in the 2012 Irish Open had been reduced to just one, Kevin Vandersmissen this year's champion.
2012 Irish Open final table results
1st: Kevin Vandersmissen: €420,000
2nd: Thomas Beer: €225,000
3rd: David Dean: €158,000
4th: Ian Simpson: €107,500
5th: Steve Watts: €78,000
6th: Jordan Lewis: €59,000
7th: Sam Chartier: €44,500
8th: Andy Black: €32,700
9th: Philip Magennis: €23,000