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Ireland dominates the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII

16/12/2008
It seemed inevitable, based on the statistics, that one of the four Irishmen in the six-handed final table of the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII would win. And last weekend, exactly that happened. Belfast’s Marty Smyth scooped the $1 million as 400 jammed the King’s Suite at the Hilton’s Metropole Hotel, Edgware Road, and watched the action from a live satellite feed.

Smyth now has nearly $4 million in career winnings, including three Poker Million final tables in as many years—but this was the first win. Fellow Irishman and internet player Eoghan O’Dea, son of WSOP bracelet holder Donnacha O’Dea, had to settle for second place. It didn’t seem that Smyth would make it, though, after getting off to a crippling start. “I played a big hand and thought I was winning but it turns out I wasn’t,” he said. “At that stage, bookmakers were offering odds of 66/1.”

Also played live on Sky Sports 3, the final table got underway with a joint chip lead shared by Ciaran O’Leary and O’Dea with 339,000. The rest were Smyth, Liam Flood, Brit Kevin Allen and Norway’s Svein Petter Nielsen. At one stage, Smyth was knocked down to 15,000 chips in the first level after Flood’s kings smashed Smyth’s A-K. Things then seemed bleak, but he fought as the short-stack and played some great poker, winning three all-ins.

“I still can’t quite believe it,” said Smyth afterward. “I thought I was gone when I lost most of my chips early in the tournament. To come back and win $1 million is probably the highlight of my career. It just shows it’s never over until it’s over.”
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