Fitzwilliam Poker Festival  Review – November 2013

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With 2013 officially designated as ‘The Gathering – Ireland’ it was gratifying that old friends and new gravitated once again towards the Fitzwilliam, Dublin’s favourite card room, to sample a five-day banquet of poker.

A warm welcome and relaxing atmosphere are always on the menu at the Fitzwilliam and with the added spice of an attractive range of tournament formats that were guaranteed to suit all tastes; the ingredients for a satisfying weekend of live poker were in place.

Wednesday’s Super Satellite supplied the final berths for the Main Event. The cost-conscious found tremendous value in nine €540 tickets. Pre-registrations (after an aggressive season of in-house promotion) gave cause for quiet optimism for a strong field.

Thursday’s staple, the €270 End-of-Month Freezeout, proved the perfect warm-up event and 135 runners did battle for a prize pool in excess of €33,000. The competition was fierce and former Fitzwilliam dealer Fintan Hand emerged as the victor over the ever-popular Nick Newport, scooping a cool €11,000 for his efforts. The roast beef dinner wasn’t too shabby either…

Friday’s €125 Scalps Rebuy enjoyed unprecedented success, and sharpened the appetite for the high-stakes action to follow. A field of 57 fought long and hard, with Sean O’Shea finally besting Samantha Otto for the win.

Jimmy Wan congrats winner Keith BrennanThe Main Event provided spectacle and tension in equal measure. With 66 participants aiming for a share of the €33,000 prize pool, extended blind levels and very generous starting stacks, the competition was always going to dominate the weekend. Discipline and focus were the key factors as the runners hunkered down for the long haul. At the end of day one, three tables remained to reconvene on Sunday with many familiar Fitzwilliam faces evident. Sunday, and the drama began to unfold at the final table; when ex-staffer Brian Warren’s pocket Kings failed to hold up to opposing pocket Queens (and pocket Tens) he was left with the proverbial chip and a chair. His heroic, blind shoves on the next five hands brought him back to the brink of respectability, before his sixth consecutive all-in was his ultimate undoing. This set the scene for the run-in, and when the dust settled, club favourite Keith Brennan was the victor, defeating the tenacious Jimmy Wan and claiming the €11,000 top prize and much-coveted trophy.

The schedule concluded with a quirky Win the Button tournament and a Triple Chance Omaha tournament to keep the four-card purists happy, won by Samantha Otto and Steven Kavanagh respectively.

A highly successful 5-day event and we look forward to reconfirming old friendships and forging new next year.

Adam Wells

To read a review of the Fitzwilliam Poker Festival 2012, click here.

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