After 2,945 players were whittled down to just one in the €1,100/$1,185 main event, Pablo Brito Silva took home a top prize worth €462,099/$504,777.
That prize was the second-biggest of Silva’s career. More significantly, it $176,000 more than 2019 Irish Poker Open winner Weijie Zheng took home.
IPO Healthier than Ever Despite Coronavirus
Although the organizers had their hands forced due to the coronavirus, the decision to go digital proved positive.
Traditionally, the Irish Poker Open takes place at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel. Bouncing back from a lull in recent years, records were broken in 2019. Thanks to four starting flights and a $1.1 million guarantee, 1,807 entries anted up last year.
Organizers were hoping to parlay that turning into even more success this year until coronavirus threw a spanner in the works. Undeterred, the team partnered with Partypoker to create an online equivalent.
That move made the Irish Poker Open more accessible. The end result was almost 1,100 more buy-ins than in 2019. What’s more, the $1.1 million guarantee was virtually trebled.
Those numbers clearly focused the minds of those involved, as some of poker’s best made deep runs. The final day saw 51 return players return to action, including top pros Tom Middleton and Parker Talbot.
In the end, however, it was Silva who took gold. Rising up through the ranks on Sunday, he took control after Sihao Zhang, who started the day as chip leader, crashed out in third.
Dramatic Finish to Remarkable Event
The heads-up battle between Silva and Andras Nemeth was both enthralling and, sometimes, bemusing for those watching. Audacious bluffs and questionable bet sizing made for a dramatic finish to an all-round remarkable event.
Silva eventually clinched the Irish Poker Open title with 9♥7♣. After a flurry of bets and calls, both players watched the board roll out J♣8♦4♣T♦.
Nemeth moved all-in with J♦T♣ and was immediately called by Silva with a straight.
With two pair, Nemeth needed a jack or a 10 on the river to stay alive. However, the 3♥ sent the final pot to Silva and brought the tournament to an end.
2020 Irish Poker Open Main Event Result
- Pablo Brito Silva – $504,777
- Andras Nemeth – $352,793
- Sihao Zhang – $227,891
- Eduardo Silva – $150,676
- Gerard Finlay – $104,325
- Tom Middleton – $71,294
- Parker Talbot – $45,647
- Shaun Conroy – $31,500
The online version of the Irish Poker Open will go down as a triumph for all involved. Silva followed up his recent Partypoker Live Millions win with another major title. For Partypoker and the Irish Poker Open, the event was a triumph of innovation.
This begs the question: will there be more online MTTs like this in the future? Although coronavirus has created exceptional circumstances, the interest in this year’s event can’t be ignored.
While a complete move away from live events might be a mistake, the two companies could revolutionize the Irish Poker Open if they can find a way to offer more hybrid events in 2021. What’s more, they could spark a new trend across the industry as a whole.