With 294 overall entries, a four-hour bubble and an epic heads-up battle for the title, the Dublin leg of the Unibet Open proved extremely good value not only for the players who paid €1,100 to enter but also fans of tournament poker.
In the end, it was Martin Olali who came from behind heads-up to claim the win, but it was anything other than easy-going.
From the bubble taking four hours, the Unibet Open Main Event was thrilling stuff in Dublin, and by the time the action reached the final table, the eight remaining players all had their eyes on the €64,110 top prize.
First to be disappointed at missing out was Jamie Nixon, whose all-in move from the small blind was called by the original raiser from the under-the-gun position, Samuel Baneham. Nixon had pocket fours, but he was way behind Baneham’s pocket tens and the board of ack-six-eight-nine-seven eventually gave Baneham the straight and sent Nixon his way.
Busting in seventh place was Ciaran Burke, who moved all-in for just under 12 big blinds from the cutoff with jack-ten. He was called by Steven Vollers, who had opened the action to 120,000 and committed his stack with the dominating ace-jack. The eight-high board didn’t do for Burke and he went home with €9,680 in winnings.
Next to leave was the longest-lasting Norwegian player, Espen Jorstad, whose micro-stack was committed with jack-deuce and called by king-nine of Weijie Zheng which held. Jorstad was followed out of the door by Zheng himself, however, as Alex Hendriks delivered his opponent with pocket queens, Zheng’s ineffectual pocket sixes no match for the premium hand.
With four players remaining, Samuel Baneham left when he raised from the cutoff with pocket kings and was only called by Vollers from the small blind with pocket fours. The flop of jack-four-two looked innocent enough to Baneham, however, who three-bet all-in and was called. A nine and jack on turn and river ended his hopes of turning his early superiority into the outright win.
Three left, and it would be the talented Alex Hendriks who missed out on what would turn into an epic heads-up. Hendriks was all-in with king-ten, but was called by Vollers again, who held king-queen and held through the board to go into heads-up with a big chip lead.
Despite having a 7:1 ratio chip lead near the beginning of the duel, Vollers let Martin Olali back into the contest. After many hands going to and fro, Olali drew himself marginally ahead. At that point, Olali opened the betting and saw Vollers shove from the big blind. Olali made the call with pocket jacks and he was well ahead of Vollers’ king-eight. The flop brought an entertaining eight-nine-ten to pair up Vollers but give Olali an open-ended straight draw.
The turn card was the seven and that gave Olali the straight and the meaningless river of a nine landed as the two men were shaking hands, shattered after a lengthy heads-up battle that had brought a dramatic end to a fantastic day at the Unibet Open felt.
Unibet Open Dublin Main Event final table results:
|1st||Martin Olali||United Kingdom||€ 64,110|
|2nd||Steven Vollers||Netherlands||€ 40,020|
|3rd||Alex Hendriks||Netherlands||€ 27,600|
|4th||Samuel Baneham||Ireland||€ 20,440|
|5th||Weijie Zheng||Ireland||€ 15,730|
|6th||Espen Uhlen Jorstad||Norway||€ 12,100|
|7th||Ciaran Burke||Ireland||€ 9,680|
|8th||Jamie Nixon||England||€ 7,740|