Fintan Gavin, one of the organisers of the Irish Poker Open and a popular full-time poker player, overcame a talented field in the PokerStars sponsored UK and Ireland Poker Tour Main Event in Edinburgh to claim the £61,500 first prize and a seat in the forthcoming EPT London Main Event at the beginning of October.
A Topsy-Turvy day for the Irishman
Sunday was to prove a topsy-turvy day for Fintan. Holding a commanding chip lead over the other eleven remaining players entering the final day, he started the day quietly after his late, great chip boost on Saturday evening – thanks to a flopped Full house v pocket Kings. However all around him short-stacked players tumbled, with George Devine (12th), Alan Kirk (11th) and Alexander Wanner (10th) busting out in the first hour.
Down to the Final Table
Once the final table was reached, there was a three hour wait for the next eliminations, but then three players tumbled in quick succession prior to the dinner break. First Kevin Letham (A♦ 7♥) came second against Craig Brown´s A♠ K♣, Rob Swindells´ A♠ 4♥ was dominated by Thomas Ward´s A♣ J♥ and Antonis Poulengeris was sent to the rail by Fintan Gavin´s pair of Aces having been previously crippled by Thomas Ward´s flopped set of 10´s.
Jamie Dale in the Ascendency
Whatever PokerStars qualifier Jamie Dale had to eat during the break did him the world of good. Having taken the chip lead when crushing Fintan Gavin´s pocket 8s with A♦ Q♥ which found the A♠ on the flop, he extended his advantage by taking out Craig Brown (6♥ 5♥) with A♦ K♦ and dispatching George Clyde-Smith to the rail with pocket 8s when Clyde-Smith´s A♠ Q♥ remained friendless on the board. With more than half the chips on the table, and playing hyper-aggressively, it looked as if the UKIPIT Edinburgh title was Jamie´s to take.
Bust, Bust, Heads-Up
However, it was Jamie´s hyper-aggressiveness which was to prove his downfall. Running first into Andrew Hawksby´s flopped set of aces and then coming second against Fintan Gavin´s A♦ 2♥ shove, Jamie found himself shortest stacked of all once Andrew Hawksby had eliminated Thomas Ward in an A♣ Q♠ v Q♥ J♠ race. His demise was completed quickly after when he shoved with 4♠ 4♦ against Hawksby´s A♥ J♠ and the flop delivered 10♠ A♦ 10♣. A good run from the qualifier, but ultimately it was Hawksby versus Gavin in the Heads-Up.
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
Despite taking a 4:1 chip advantage into the climax of the tournament, nothing would go right for Andrew Hawksby. Fintan Gavin made right call after right call – starting in the second hand of the finale when his pocket nines caught a set on the turn and bested Hawksby´s A♦ J♣. Within a few hands more the stacks were almost level when Gavin´s A♦ A♣ held against Hawksby´s 10♠ 9♣. Gavin used his new confidence to harry and bully Hawksby out of valuable pots and, with the blinds rising to 40,000/80,000, Hawksby could wait no longer – throwing everything in when holding 9♣ 6♠ on a flopped board of 7♣ 9♥ 4♣ against Fintan Gavin´s J♦ 9♠. Fintan´s hand held and he was the new UKIPT Edinburgh Champion.
Another Great Performance by UKIPT Qualifiers
As well as Jamie Dale´s fantastic deep run, a number of PokerStars qualifiers performed with merit. Craig Brown (6th) had also qualified online for the £251,715 event, as had first-man-out George Devine (12th) and a previous UKIPT winner, Sam Razavi, cashed in as well. A special mention should also go out to Rupinder Bedi – a PokerStars qualifier who cashed in his seventh UKIPT Main Event. To put his achievement into context, there have only been 16!
The Stars Came Out for Edinburgh
Keith Hawkins, David Vamplew and Julian Thew were some of the “names” who also cashed in the event, which was noticeable for some of the names that didn´t! Previous UKIPT winners Nick Abu Risk and Max Silver bombed out on Saturday after holding good positions, as did PokerStars ambassador Chris Moneymaker. At least the 2003 WSOP gold bracelet winner got further than the “home” PokerStars pros – JP Kelly, Jude Ainsworth, Liv Boeree and Vicky Coren – although the star of BBCs “Only Connect” stuck around to come second in the Hi-Rollers event won by Jonathon Spinks.
Top Chips Counts and Some Selected Others of UKIPT Edinburgh
|3||Jamie Dale (Q)||UK||£22,900|
|6||Craig Brown (Q)||UK||£10,500|
|12||George Devine (Q)||UK||£2,750|
|13||Ovidijus Slimas (Q)||Lithuania||£2,750|
|25||Bernardo Da Silveira Dias||Brazil||£1,260|
|30||Rupinder Bedi (Q)||UK||£1,120|
|36||Sam Razavi (Q)||UK||£1,120|
|(Q) denotes PokerStars qualifier|
Next Stop UKIPT Dublin
One of the first comments from Fintan Gavin after his incredible victory was that he wanted to emulate last year´s UKIPT Edinburgh winner – Nick Abu Risk – in winning two UKIPT Main Events. He will not have to wait long to attempt his quest as the UKIPT Dublin tales place at the Ballsbridge Hotel from Wednesday 7th and, for those who want to get involved in the event via the economy route, satellites for UKIPT Dublin are now being played on PokerStars.