Breaking Down the Action:
  • Who Reached the Final Table?
  • A Flurry of Eliminations
  • The Battle to Make Heads-Up
  • Veksler Dominates Duel to Emerge Victorious

With a €1 million guarantee, partypoker hosted this year’s €1,100-entry Irish Open Main Event and after a few days of terrific action at the felt, it was Ukrainian poker pro Pavel Veksler who walked away with the €292,257 top prize.

With 1,880 entries, who else made the final table and how did Veksler beat the likes of Andreas Berggren and Justin Oiumette along the way?

Who Reached the Final Table?

Going into the final day, it was Bulgarian player Stoyan Obreshkov who held the chip lead, with a massive 141 big blinds to his name. Coming into play second in chips was Canadian Justin Ouimette, with 101 big blinds but it looked like both those players might be dominating the table, with everyone else coming into play below the average of 60 big blinds. As is often the way in Texas No Limit Hold’em, things changed very quickly.

The first player to go would only win €22,480 of the massive 21.88 million prizepool, a pot of money far outreaching the €1 million guarantee laid on by partypoker. That first bust-out happened after an incredible two hours of play, which ran stacks even more shallow than they had started. Austria-based Justus Held busted for just one big blind when king-four couldn’t hold against jack-ten, and his elimination finally kick-started some serious action.

A Flurry of Eliminations

Once Held couldn’t hold, it didn’t take long for others players to join him on the virtual rail. Former partypoker MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event winner Justin Ouimette would have hoped that going into the final with 101 big blinds assured him of least a podium finish, but he couldn’t make the final seven when he plummeted down the ranks. In the end, the Canadian Ouimette moved all-in with queen-ten and saw his chips split between Pavel Veksler – who had begun the day 7th in chips – and Victor Bonifacio after their ace-jack hands hit an ace on the turn .

Somewhat surprisingly, it was Bonifacio who departed next, his ace-king shot down in flames by Argentina’s Franco Spitale, who had pocket aces in the next seat. Not long later, Julian Adamson busted when his short stack was pushed forward on pocket jacks and lost a flip to Pavel Veksler, whose ace-queen hit an ace and a queen to reduce the field to five players.

The Battle to Make Heads-Up

It’s hard to make the final table of a major online poker tournament but anyone who enjoys playing poker will know, making a big score from a tournament as big as the Irish Open can build a bankroll overnight if you made it there via a satellite.

It was Latvian player Eduards Kudrjavcevs who busted in 5th place for a massive €61,228. His final 16 big blinds went into the middle with ace-queen and his conqueror was Andreas Berggren, whose ace-king dominated and held to bring play four-handed. It would be Berggren himself who left in 4th, however, after an all-in for over 30 big blinds with pocket sixes after Veksler raised saw the Ukrainian call with pocket nines and held.

That hand gave Veksler a massive lead, with almost double his opponents’ stacks combined.  It was vital for Obreshkov to win the all-in that would send Spitale out of the event in 3rd and he did so when the Bulgarian raise-called off his stack with pocket threes only to discover that his opponent had pocket aces.

Veksler Dominates Duel to Emerge Victorious

Pavel Veksler had a roughly 2:1 chip lead over Stoyan Obreshkov at the start of play, but while he would eventually win, the Bulgarian’s efforts to even up the stacks were perhaps the most important action of the heads-up battle.

While he didn’t have to come back from the sort of 97:3 deficit that Phil Hellmuth managed to last week against Daniel Negreanu, Obreshkov’s main mission was to get within range and when he did so, the two men discussed and then agreed a deal to almost split the money.

Deal agreed, Veksler edged away from his opponent more with seemingly every hand until Veksler moved all-in with ten times his opponent’s stack with a suited queen-six. Obreshkov had an easy decision with ace-king, but a six on the river ended the tournament in Veksler’s favour and left him slightly richer than Obreshkov when both players checked their balances in the morning.

Will they fire them on their way to Las Vegas when the World Series of Poker returns to Sin City in September? We can’t wait to find out.

2021 Irish Open Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Pavel Veksler Ukraine €265,999*
2nd Stoyan Obreshkov Bulgaria €224,768*
3rd Franco Spitale Argentina €135,482
4th Andreas Berggren Sweden €89,896
5th Eduards Kudrjavcevs Latvia €61,228
6th Julian Adamson United Kingdom €46,742
7th Victor Bonifacio Brazil €36,241
8th Justin Ouimette Canada €28,776
9th Justus Held Germany €22,480

*Denotes heads-up deal made at the final table.

Want to watch the final table play out in all its glory in the company of partypoker’s James Dempsey and Henry Kilbane and special guests including Fintan Gavin and Louise Butler? You can do so right here:

Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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