The 2020 online WSOP rolled along on Wednesday, this time completely on the GGPoker platform. It turned out to be a historic night as, after an 11-hour battle on the virtual felt, Ireland’s Eoghan O’Dea made history in winning Event #51, the $400 Pot Limit Omaha tournament.
Truly International Event Draws Large Field
There was a truly international field that came together for Event #51, but few of those virtual faces were from the U. S. Because of legal restrictions, GGPoker cannot accept U. S. action unless those players journey to another country to legally play on the platform. As those players in the U. S. are faced with severe travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the anemic response by the U. S. government (AKA no country will allow them to fly into them), they were fewer U. S. names on the player board.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some excellent talent to be found. A massive 2005 entries were drawn in for this tournament, which is extremely good in comparison to past events of this ilk. In 2019, the $600 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha tournament online brought in 1216 entries and saw a final table that featured Phil Galfond. Galfond would come up short in that final table online, finishing in fifth place, as Josh Pollock earned the bracelet over Jason Gooch.
It only took five levels of play to get down to those fortunate souls who would earn some cash and a line on their Hendon Mob resume. Along the way, however, players such as Daniel Negreanu and Manig Loeser were unceremoniously sent to the rail. Picking up some additional ammunition for the bankroll were players such as Dan Smith, Alex Epstein, Leif ‘mothernight’ Force and recent Triple Crown winner Roberto Romanello.
O’Dea Strikes at the Final Table
O’Dea had his work cut out for him at the final table, but he would strike quickly. Starting off in the lower third of the chip stacks with just over three million in chips, O’Dea would get a huge double through Daniel ‘BoooooBie’ Juncadella while holding a great PLO hand – A♣ A♥ 7♥ 7♣ – against Juncadella’s appealing A-A-8♥ 6♥. A seven on the flop gave O’Dea a set, but the five on the turn gave Juncadella outs to the straight that would beat O’Dea (redraws ARE important in Omaha!). A deuce on the river was insignificant, however, as O’Dea rocketed over 10 million in chips and Juncadella was left with scraps and out in ninth place soon afterwards.
O’Dea was in the chip lead, but he would face challengers very quickly. Nital ‘4TheAnimals’ Jethalal mounted a charge to snatch the lead from O’Dea, taking down Ruslan ‘zverrmvp’ Nazarenko in seventh place and Jarred ‘Solosalt’ Solomon in fifth to shoot over the 20 million chip mark. The gauntlet would be thrown, however, as O’Dea fought back to eliminate Benjamin ‘Wapbap’ Voreland in fourth to retake the top slot and reinforce that position in taking out Robert ‘Bobzothejock’ Le Roux in third to set up the heads-up fight.
With roughly a 3:2 lead over Jethalal, it could have been a drawn-out battle, but O’Dea made quick work of it. In only about ten minutes, O’Dea would have all the 50 million chips in play in what turned out to be a dramatic final hand. On that hand, O’Dea potted and saw Jethalal defend his big blind to see an A-5-6 flop. The potting fight then began, winding up eventually with Jethalal’s chips all in the middle and the cards on their backs:
Jethalal’s two pair (and redraw to a straight) looked great, but not against O’Dea’s flopped set, but there were two more cards to come. The King on the turn helped neither man, nor did the nine that came on the river. With that virtual card on the felt, O’Dea captured his first WSOP bracelet in a stirring run.
1. Eoghan ‘DrRoche’ O’Dea, $100,945*
2. Nital ‘4TheAnimals’ Jethalal, $81,963
3. Robert ‘Bobzothejock’ Le Roux, $59,480
4. Benjamin ‘Wapbap’ Voreland, $43,165
5. Jarred ‘Solosalt’ Solomon, $31,325
6. Chi Chung ‘chipuker’ Ho, $22,732
7. Ruslan ‘zverrmvp’ Nazarenko, $16,497
8. Lorenzo ‘EhUsGuri’ Bazei, $11,972
9. Daniel ‘BoooooBie’ Juncadella, $8688
(* – champion also receives a $12,000 WSOP Europe package)
O’Dea, who was a part of the 2011 WSOP Championship Event “November Nine” where he finished in sixth place, had come close to winning a WSOP bracelet before in Omaha events, but never grasped the brass ring. By winning this tournament, he enters a rarefied air that previously only one pair occupied. Along with his father Donnacha, the O’Deas join the Brunsons, Doyle and Todd, as the only father-son bracelet winners in the history of the WSOP.