In the idle moments between playing poker for tens of millions of dollars, there’s a chance the top players draw two columns on a piece of paper and produce a check-list of achievements and remaining goals.
If this is so, then the card belonging to Steve O’Dwyer must be one of the most lop-sided in the world game. O’Dwyer, who already has EPT Grand Final and EPT Super High Roller titles to his name, has now ticked the box belonging to the EPT Single-Day High Roller. There have only been a handful of these played, but O’Dwyer already has his trophy.
At a little after 3.30am in Malta, O’Dwyer finished off Illari Sahamies heads up to claim the latest title on a frankly breathtaking CV. O’Dwyer turned in his now characteristic measured and lethal final table performance to pick up €327,030. It’s the seventh time he has won a major title and it pushes his live tournament cashes past $11 million.
“I have 100% of the chips in play in the 1 day HR at #eptmalta,” O’Dwyer tweeted beside an emoticon of a flexing arm muscle. It was as appropriate an emoticon as any man could find in the circumstances.
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O’Dwyer took over the chip lead in the tournament when about seven players remained, and from there it was a simple case of making all the right moves at all the right times as the tournament got shallow in its final stages. Sahamies, the fearsome Finn who arguably best represents the kind of get-rich-quick nature of contemporary poker (at least at the nosebleed level) led briefly four handed.
But O’Dwyer did the damage when it counted most, including the final hand when his 8♠9♠ hit an eight on the flop to better Sahamies’ Q♠J♠.
The best way to figure out how they got to that point is to look at the panel at the top of the main page covering this tournament. You can flick through all the blow-by-blow action, from the early registrations, through the early eliminations, re-entries, re-eliminations and stack-building.
Some big names fell by the wayside, including the likes of Dzmitry Urbanovich, John Juanda, Mike McDonald, Johnny Lodden, Ole Schemion, Mustapha Kanit, Scott Seiver, Shaun Deeb and Dominik Panka.
Things slowed a little when they got close to the bubble, forcing an early switch to hand-for-hand play, but Juha Helppi and Dan Smith fell the wrong side of the payouts line, while Mukul Pahuja and Rainer Kempe fell just the right side.
As the tournament numbers thinned even further, Christopher Frank took over the lead. But true to the nature of this type of event, he was out before the final table was even set, handing the leader’s mantle to Jean-Noel Thorel.
Thorel was the oldest player at the final two tables, but he wasn’t playing the normal veteran’s game. His chips were always involved and not always winning; not even with aces against Jason Wheeler’s queen-jack. Wheeler made a straight.
Jason Mercier narrowly missed out on the final. He perished in tenth. His Red Spade colleague Isaac Haxton, of Team Online, got himself into the final four, but was wiped out by the irresistible O’Dwyer. By that point, Thorel had gone in sixth.
Wheeler, who clung on and clung on to finish fourth in the €25,000 High Roller (for €179,000) went one better in this, finishing third. He added another €143,630 to the pot on what is turning into a very nice trip.
It left O’Dwyer to square off against Sahamies, with the American holding a three-to-one chip lead. Neither of them wanted to hang around and the duel lasted all of four hands.
O’Dwyer’s last outright tournament victory came on Sahamies’ home soil, in Finland, in October. And he was back to rub it in to the Finns one more time.
€10,000 Single Day High Roller
Prize pool: €1,299,800
Places paid: 17
1. Steve O’Dwyer (Ireland) €327,030
2. Ilari Sahamies (Finland) €220,970
3. Jason Wheeler (United States) €143,630
4. Isaac Haxton (United States) Team PokerStars Online €118,930
5. Niko Soininen (Finland) €95,925
6. Jean-Noel Thorel (France) €75,650
7. Vlado Banicevic (Montenegro) €57,840
8. Julian Stuer (Germany) €43,540
9. Byron Kaverman (United States) €32,495
10. Jason Mercier (United States) (Team PokerStars Pro) €26,645
11. Jussi Nevanlinna (Finland) €26,645
12. Christopher Frank (Germany) €23,395
13. Dario Sammartino (Italy) €23,395
14. Ricardo Alvarado (United States) €21,450
15. Senh Ung (Great Britain) €21,450
16. Rainer Kempe (Germany) €20,405
17. Mukul Pahuja (United States) €20,405