The Irish Open was one of Europe’s most prestigious tournaments long before the likes of the WSOPE and EPT arrived. Nowadays it still maintains its place as one of the toughest and most sought after tournament crowns on the world stage, along with a reputation for stellar organization and raucous Celtic atmosphere.
Although 50% of the field was composed of Irish nationals, dotted amongst the swathes of green were a number of notable visitors from around the world. Well known poker-pair Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly made the trip across the Atlantic, along with the likes of Jamie Gold, Dan Harrington, and Andy Black.
This year’s event attracted a bumper crowd of 700 main event entrants, the second biggest field ever in its history. The collected €3,000 buy-ins built up a prize pool of over €2.2 million, with the top 70 players walking away with a slice of the cash. The deepstack freezeout took 37 hours to complete and eventually culminated in a tussle between accomplished Swede Christer Johansson and former poker host turned pro Kara Scott.
As a host on British TV show Poker Night Live and Seasons 4 and 5 of the European Poker Tour, Scott has become a well known presence on the poker circuit. A 104th place finish in this year’s WSOP main event prompted a leap into full time professional play, with her run in the Irish Open seeming to vindicate her decision.
Johansson is a well known online presence at high stakes Omaha tables, with no shortage of big-time tournament success on his resume. Along with numerous EPT and WSOP final tables, he also has WPT title to his name. The 38 year old former electrician has been a pro for some 9 years, amassing over $2 million in live tournament winnings.
A lengthy multi-day event concluded with a strangely speedy final table, with the climactic heads up battle coming in at a modest 80 minutes. In the final hand Scott made a pre-flop raise which was called by Johansson. The J-7-K flop prompted a raise from the Swede, followed by an all-in from his opponent. Johansson made the call and flipped up K-3, well ahead of Scott’s J-9. A queen and an ace on the turn and river sealed the deal and confirmed that Christen Johansson was to become the 2009 Irish Open Champion. He picked up €600,000 for his troubles, with Scott pocketing a healthy €312,000 for second place.