Slovenian poker player Rok Rotar took down the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival yesterday after a stunning final day and some very fortunate river cards!
The Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival forms the third leg of a trilogy of major poker tournaments hosted in Dublin at this time of year, following the Winamax Open and last weekend´s BoylePoker IPO. This year´s Main Event saw 341 players qualify online or cough up the €1,125 buy-in to compete for a first prize of €85,000.
After two long days of action, the field had been reduced to just seventeen players – headed by Paul Kristoffersson (1,539,000 chips), with Mathias Puzich (1,357,000 chips) and Oliver Boyce (1,280,000 chips) his closest competitors. Eventual winner – Rok Rotar – was way down the leaderboard overnight, and started the final day of the Irish Winter Festival Main Event with just 370,000 chips.
Double Ups Galore in Early Stages
Day 3 of the Paddy Power IWF Main Event started with just 15 minutes remaining of Level 22 (blinds 6,000/12,000 – ante 1,000) and chip leader Kristoffersson got off to the best possible start – making a Full House with his pocket Eights to bust Shaun Lennon (A♠ Q♦) out in seventeenth. However Kristoffersson seemed to become the target for short-stacked players looking for a double-up and the chip leader took a ½million knock to his chip stack when Thomas Quaade rivered the A♦ to double up A♠ K♦ > 6♥ 6♠.
The King of the unlikely double ups during the day was to be Rok Rotar, who started Level 23 by doubling up against Joe O´Donaill 7♦ 8♦ > K♣ K♦ after the flop of 8♠ A♦ A♣ made O´Donaill a 92% favourite in the hand. The 7♥ on the Turn reduced the likelihood of Rotar being sent to rail only marginally, but the 8♥ on the River gave him the Full House and the first of a series of unlikely double-ups.
Players Start to Tumble in Cruel Circumstances
Lady Luck ran out quickly for several players – not least Patrick Clarke (7♠ 7♥) who had flopped a Full House on the flop of 5♦ 7♦ 5♥, but Jimmy Wan could not resist making the call with pocket Aces, and the A♦ on the Turn gave him a better Full House than Clarke, who was eliminated from the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival in sixteenth place.
Clarke was soon to followed by Seamus Doherty – who was crippled by Philip Gildea (A♦ Q♦ > 10♣ 10♦) before getting the last of his chips in against Oliver Boyce (A♥ Q♥ > 8♦ 7♣) – and Martin Gallagher, who believed he had found a good spot to get all-in with pocket Eights, but who ran into the K♥ K♣ of Thomas Quaade.
Cards Fall in Rotar´s Favour as Final Table Set
Rok Rotar (A♠ J♥) rivered a Jack to send Mark Atkinson to the rail in thirteenth place, and Thomas Quaade joined the queue at the Cashier´s desk after doubling up Sam Welbourne 10♥ 10♦ > A♣ K♦ and then losing the last of his chips to Joe O´Donaill A♥ 10♠ > A♠ 5♥. After Peter Murphy (8♠ 8♦) had run the last of his chips into Rok Rotar´s pocket Aces, and Mark Wagstaff (J♦ 10♦) failed to improve past Jimmy Wan´s Q♣ 6♥, the final table for the Paddy Power IWF Main Event was set.
|#||Irish Winter Festival Main Event||Chips|
Bad Beat Starts Final Table
The final table of the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival got underway with blinds of 20,000/40,000 (Level 26 – ante 4,000) and two players were to “enjoy” an early dinner break after being bust quickly from the final table. First Jimmy Wan (A♠ Q♣) looked good to double up against Oliver Boyce´s A♦ 10♠ until the board produced four diamonds to flush Wan out of the tournament in ninth place, and then Philip Gildea (Q♣ J♦) got one of his pre-flop shoves called by Rok Rotar, but failed to improve past the Slovenian´s A♥ K♦ to leave the event in eighth place.
Bartosz Ciesla was the first player to depart after the dinner break, doubling up Sam Welbourne before falling with J♥ 10♥ against Rok Rotar´s A♦ 2♦, and Oliver Boyce was to finish the event in sixth after being crippled by Joe O´Donaill A♥ A♣ > A♦ K♣ – and then missing all his outs when flipping for his tournament life with 7♥ 5♥ against O´Donaill´s A♦ 4♠. Rok Rotar eliminated Mathias Puzich when the German´s J♣ 9♣ ran into Rotar´s K♥ K♠ and, as the game entered Level 29 (blinds 40,000/80,000 – ante 5,000), just four players remained.
|#||Irish Winter Festival Main Event||Chips|
You Have to Feel for Joe O´Donaill
The demise of Joe O´Donaill at the hands of Rok Rotar was remarkable. The Slovenian had doubled up A♣ 9♦ > O´Donaill´s 6♥ 6♣ when he had hit the A♠ on the Turn, and he then flopped a Full House when all-in again against Paul Kristoffersson (K♥ J♦ > A♦ 8♣); but Rotar had not yet finished with his remarkable river cards and came from behind again when having less than a 10% chance of winning a hand to eliminate O´Donaill in fourth.
Joe O´Donaill (A♦ K♠) had raised to 225,000 chips from under the gun and Rok Rotar (K♥ J♥) on the button made the call. O´Donaill shoved all-in following the flop of 2♠ 9♠ K♣ and Rotar made the call. Following the 5♥ on the Turn, O´Donaill was a 93% favourite to win the hand, but the J♣ on the River gave Rotar two pairs, and eliminated the last Irishman standing from the tournament.
Welbourne Doubles Up Against Kristoffersson, but is No Match for Rotar
A handy double up by Sam Welbourne against Paul Kristoffersson (A♣ 4♥ > K♠ Q♣) had enabled the Englishman to remain competitive, but he was still at a massive chip disadvantage going into the heads-up against Rotar after the Slovenian had bust Kristoffersson in third 5♠ 5♦ > 10♥ 8♥ (Rotar turned Quads just for good measure).
Welbourne managed one double-up (K♠ J♥ > Q♣ 7♣) when both players had made two pairs, but Rotar took a series of minor pots to reduce Welbourne to fewer than one million chips. The final hand saw Sam Welbourne shove all-in with Q♠ 8♦ and receive a call from Rok Rotar (A♦ 4♣). The board of 3♦ 7♠ 10♦ / J♠ / 2♦ missed both players, and Rok Rotar had won the Paddy Power Irish Winter Festival Main Event.
Irish Winter Festival Result
In addition to collecting €85,000 for winning the Irish Winter Festival Main Event, Rok Rotar picked up a free entry into next year´s Irish Open tournament due to being the highest-placed finisher who had qualified online at Paddy Power Poker. Thirty-six players in total cashed in the event, with those who made it to the final table receiving the following rewards:-
|#||Irish Winter Festival Main Event||Prize|
|1||Rok Rotar||€ 85,000|
|2||Sam Welbourne||€ 51,500|
|3||Paul Kristoffersson||€ 37,000|
|4||Joe O´Donaill||€ 27,500|
|5||Mathias Puzich||€ 20,500|
|6||Oliver Boyce||€ 15,500|
|7||Bartosz Ciesla||€ 11,700|
|8||Philip Gildea||€ 8,900|
|9||Jimmy Wan||€ 6,900|