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Poker News: April 14th, 2009

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Copyright © Irish Times

HEADLINE: 600,000 poker prize is won with a pair of kings

THE BIGGEST event on the Irish poker calendar culminated in Dublin last night when a former electrician trumped a journalist to take home a cheque for €600,000.

After 37 hours of play, Swedish poker professional Christer Johansson defeated Kara Scott from Brighton in England to claim the Irish Open title at the Citywest Hotel in Co Dublin.

Despite the prevailing economic wind, a record 700 people participated in the €3,500 entry event, which is the longest running competition on the European poker circuit, having started in 1981.

The Texas hold’em tournament had a freeze-out format, meaning that entrants received a stack of 10,000 chips in return for their entry fee, which they either added to or lost, meaning their elimination, over the course of the four- day event.

The record field generated a prize pool of over €2.2millon which was shared by the top 70 finishers in the competition. Among the field were three former world poker champions, a host of seasoned professionals and a scattering of rank amateurs clad in everything from stetson hats and Armani suits to Ug boots and tracksuits.

Poker has also begun to attract a host of familiar faces from other walks of life. American actress Jennifer Tilly, former Irish rugby and football internationals Reggie Corrigan and Tony Cascarino, and former world snooker champion Ken Doherty were among the runners in the event.

"There are a lot of similarities between poker and snooker," Doherty said. "You have to be cool under pressure, focused, it tests your concentration and I think that’s the affinity between snooker players and poker players. You can’t show a lot of emotion at the table in either game."

Despite comprising half the field, it was a disappointing weekend for the Irish players, with Phil Baker from Dublin the highest placed finisher in ninth place, taking home €37,400 for his weekend’s work.

After Baker’s exit on Sunday night, the final eight were whittled down to just two, Johansson and Scott, over the course of yesterday’s action. Following a tense hour-long head-to-head battle, Johansson’s pair of kings defeated Scott’s pair of jacks.

"I’m very happy to win this tournament," Johansson (38) said. "Not just for the prize money, but this tournament has a very long history in Europe and a great atmosphere, so it is great to win." In spite of her narrow defeat, Scott, a part-time player with three years experience, was displaying a brave face as she clutched her cheque for €312,600.

"It feels great," she said. "It’s a hell of a lot of money. It’s an amazing result for me. . . but even still, I’m gutted not to have won." Poker Bonus

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on April 14th, 2009

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