The Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland played host to Day 1 of the PaddyPower.com Irish Open yesterday, with a whopping 700 players posting the €3,500 buy-in for a shot at Irish poker history. The players came from all over the globe, including Americans Jennifer Tilly, Dan Harrington and 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold. Many famous UK players also joined the field, including Dave "El Blondie" Colclough, Barny Boatman, Tim Blake and Steve Jelinek, plus Continental stars Ludovic Lacay, Markus Golser and Soren Kongsgaard. The local flavor was also well represented in the event, with Irish poker stars Liam Flood, Padraig Parkinson and Andy Black all taking part, along with 2007 champ Marty Smyth and defending champ Neil Channing.
American online poker superstar Brian Townsend flew a long way for a short tournament as he became the first elimination of the day. Townsend got most of his chips in with a set of fives, running into a set of aces to get crippled early, and then busted a few hands later. All told, over half the field busted on Day 1, including David Saab, Jennifer Tilly, Ciaran O'Leary, Ludovic Lacay and Farhad Kia. Andy Black headed to the rail when he got all his chips in with J-7 on a K-J-x board, only to be called by A-K and fail to improve.
In another hit for the home team, 2007 champ Marty Smyth busted when he ran pocket jacks into pocket aces. Yehong Luo busted Smyth on a 10-high board when Luo bet out, Smyth raised, and all the chips went in the middle on the turn. Another favorite son of the Irish poker scene, Liam Flood, busted to Jamie Gold, who raised under the gun with A-Q and eventually got it all in against Flood's pocket kings. Gold hit an ace and Flood hit the rail late in the day. Gold, making a late run on Day 1, then took out Michael Greco on one of the session's last hands.
The chip lead changed hands several times throughout the day, finally ending up with Bradley Verburg, one of just three players to finish Day 1 with more than 100,000 in chips. Maurice Harmon and Andrew Pantling followed close behind Verburg, as Phil Laak, Julian Thew and Paul Testud all finished the day with healthy stacks. Other notable survivors included Juha Helppi, Pascal Perrault, Jesper Petersen and Michael Tureniec. 287 players will return for Day 2, with these the top ten chip counts from Day 1:
Bradley Verburg — 108,800
Maurice Harmon — 106,375
Andrew Pantling — 104,350
William Kassouf — 87,050
Matias Knaapinen — 86,425
Andy Bradshaw — 72,275
John Larkin — 67,825
Phil Laak — 63,675
Julian Thew — 61,050
Aiden O'Connell — 59,700
Join PokerNews at 2PM Dublin time as the 287 survivors of Day 1 return to the Citywest Hotel to play toward the money, the final table, and the €600,000 top prize.
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