Ryan Mandara Wins the 2018 Irish Poker Open Main Event for €210,000
United Kingdom's Ryan Mandara notched up by far the biggest live tournament cash of his poker career after agreeing to a heads-up deal with Ireland's Ferdia OConnell and then shipping the 2018 Irish Poker Open €1,150 Main Event for €210,000 ($259,201) at Citywest Hotel in Dublin on Sunday, March 18.
O'Connell is almost as big of a story as Mandara since he qualified for the tournament for just one penny at partypoker and parlayed it into a huge six-figure payday for €180,000 ($222,172).
The event smashed its €1 million guarantee after attracting 1,348 entrants to generate a massive €1,347,164 prize pool. This represents a sizable 19 percent increase from last year's Main Event won by Griffin Benger for €200,000.
In addition to the Main Event, the festival featured tons of side events, a plethora of ring games, and of course tons of drinking and partying throughout the festival.
2018 Irish Poker Open €1,150 Main Event Final Table Results
|Position||Player||Country||Prize (Euro)||Prize (USD)|
|1||Ryan Mandara||United Kingdom||€210,000||$259,201*|
|4||Dan Samson||United Kingdom||€75,000||$92,572|
|5||Joseph Cahill||United Kingdom||€55,000||$67,886|
|6||Sameer Singh||United Kingdom||€42,500||$52,457|
|7||Daniel Fargher||Isle of Man||€32,000||$39,497|
|8||Dean Clay||United Kingdom||€23,000||$28,389|
*Prize after heads-up deal
The money bubble broke during Day 2 of the event with the remaining 167 players guaranteed a payout of at least €2,125.
Before hand-for-hand took place on the money bubble, the tournament director announced that the bubble boy (or girl) wouldn't walk away empty-handed and would instead be awarded a ticket to the 2019 Irish Poker Open Main Event.
After a few hands, Bobby Willis hit the rail on the bubble when his pocket jacks couldn't hold against the king-ten held by Eugene Hanratty. The crowd erupted in applause and from there, eliminations took place at a fast and furious pace.
By the time Day 2 ended, there were just 79 players remaining and the field was trimmed down to the official eight-max final table on Day 3 after David Barnes bowed out in ninth place for €19,004.
The final table began with Switzerland's Pascal Baumgartner holding a sizable chip lead against his nearest competitors Mandara and Daniel Samson.
United Kingdom's Dean Clay, who brought the shortest stack to the final table, bowed out in eighth place for €23,000 after his king-queen couldn't hold against the queen-nine held by Joseph Cahill.
Isle of Man's Daniel Fargher brought the second shortest stack to the final table and hit the rails in seventh place for €32,000 after his ace-jack couldn't out-flip the pocket tens held by Samson.
Shortly afterward, Mandara took the chip lead for the first time after winning a hand against Cahill.
United Kingdom's Sameer Singh was another huge story at the final table since last year the primarily online poker grinder took sixth place in the Main Event. It was Groundhog's Day for Singh with history repeating itself after he once against took sixth place for €42,500 when his jack-nine couldn't get there against Mandara's queen-five.
Baumgartner was able to get the lead back before Cahill was eliminated in fifth place for €55,000 when his pocket fours didn't hold against the ace-king held by O'Connell.
Mandara was able to regain the chip lead before Baumgartner took it back once again. Mandara then reestablished the chip lead and eliminated Samson in fourth place for €75,000 when his pocket nines proved to be more than good against his opponent's pocket eights.
An unscheduled break then took place while the three remaining players spoke in private about a potential deal. However, a deal couldn't be agreed upon and play resumed before Baumgartner was eliminated in third place for €100,000 when he jammed a short stack with ace-six and couldn't hold against the nine-eight suited of O'Connell.
Another unscheduled break then took place for Mandara and O'Connell to discuss a deal. Mandara with 23 million in chips had the lead against O'Connell with 17 million. The duo agreed to a deal whereby Mandara was guaranteed €197,000 and O'Connell guaranteed €180,000. They left €13,000 to play for along with of course the coveted trophy.
After play resumed, Mandara had momentum and extended his lead to a 5:1 chip advantage before the final hand took place. Mandara raised the button with and was called by O'Connell with . Mandara check-called the flop with an open-ended straight draw.
The on the turn gave O'Connell top pair, however, it also completed Mandara's straight. Mandara check-called a bet on the turn and a shove on the river to give him the win.
Meanwhile, O'Connell walked away with the biggest prize by far of his poker career with a haul of €180,000 and was poker's latest Cinderella story after qualifying into the event for just one penny.
Videos courtesy of IrishPokerOpen.com and images courtesy of partypoker/Mickey May