EPT Returns to Dublin for First Time Since 2007

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The second European Poker Tour Main Event of the year got going Sunday, as Day 1A of the EPT Dublin Main Event kicked off with 147 poker players spending their Valentine’s Day hoping to end up flush with hearts (Do you see what I did there? Valentine’s Day? Hearts? Flush? That’s why they pay me the big bucks.). It is a packed leader board, as Germany’s Gilles Bernies leads with 189,600 chips, followed by Mike “timex” McDonald with 162,400, and then a whole host of players in the 130’s and 120’s.

While Dublin seems like a choice location for a European Poker Tour stop, this is the first time in a decade that the EPT has found its way to the Irish city. Dublin was one of the original seven stops on the Tour; the Irish Winter Tournament was won by Ram Vaswani in October 2004, just as the poker boom was really starting hit high gear. The  name of the tournament changed over the next few years, but Dublin remained on the schedule through Season 4, when it was renamed simply EPT Dublin in the fall of 2007.

But that was it. Dublin was replaced by Budapest, Hungary in Season 5 and though Budapest disappeared the following season (the tour stop, not the actual city OBVIOUSLY), Dublin did not return. It is back now, with the Royal Dublin Society serving as host.

The chip leader, Bernies, is relatively unaccomplished on the live tournament circuit, though with about $75,000 in lifetime earnings, “relatively” is the operative word. He is certainly more accomplished than the vast majority of people on Earth and I, for one, would be thrilled to have won that much money playing poker (in before “but how much did you lose?”).  He has picked up the pace as of late, as most of that total has come from a first and a second place finish in minor tournaments in October and December, respectively. Bernies also had a small cash in the Oktoberfest event at the World Series of Poker Europe in October.

One of the most significant hands of the day was the one that catapulted Mike McDonald into second place. At the end of the night, he and his tablemates saw a flop of Q♣-J♠-J, which prompted Daniel Shapiro to move all-in for 25,000 chips. Artem Litvinov asked McDonald how many chips he had remaining and when McDonald revealed that number to be 46,000, Litvinov shoved. McDonald made the call, showing pocket Queens for a flopped full house. Shapiro had A-Q for two pair and Litvinov had J♣-T for trips. Action flop!

The turn and river were both low cards, improving nobody and giving McDonald the hand while eliminating Shapiro. That took McDonald’s stack up to 150,000, close to where he ended the night, while Litvinov fell to 130,000, also close to how he finished up.

Day 1B of EPT Dublin will commence at noon local time Tuesday.

European Poker Tour Dublin Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1.    Gilles Bernies – 189,600
2.    Mike McDonald – 162,400
3.    Ian Hunter – 139,400
4.    Artem Litvinov – 138,900
5.    Victor Ilyukhin – 131,400
6.    Adrian Mateos – 128,800
7.    Anthony Zinno – 124,800
8.    Fabrice Soulier – 123,400
9.    Kamran Aliyev – 114,200
10.    Jean-Noel Thorel – 110,000

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