The second leg of the inaugural Showdown Poker Tour has concluded in the poker hotspot of Dublin, Ireland, with a victory by Jeff Sharpe, who previously had a 3rd place finish at the Caribbean Poker Classic last November and a 17th place at the EPT Deauville in February behind him.
After a small but select band of players competed in London at the first event, the Showdown organisers were hoping for an increased gathering at the Fitzwilliam Card Club for the crowning event of the Fitzwilliam Pokerfest 2006.
A meaty €5,000 represented the buying in cost for those putting up for direct entry. Surefire contenders would be the Hendon Mob who have already committed to the Tour. Barny Boatman, Joe Beevers, Ram Vaswani and Ross Boatman are enjoying an eventful 2006 with their highly-publicised change in sponsors to Full Tilt Poker and a series of creditable tournament finishes spread amongst all four.
Also lining up for action were Ben Grundy (final table at the EPT Monte Carlo), Roy Brindley (3rd in the William Hill Grand Prix) and Andy Black (5th in the 2005 WSOP Championship Event). However, the big buy-in and an increasingly overcrowded calendar of poker events seem to have taken their toll, as a thin field of 20 players sat down at three tables with only the prospect of a top three finish to get their hands on any Euros! The bubble place in 4th would cost a painful €20,000, in the absence of any deal.
Ross Boatman, Andy Black, Ben Grundy and Joe Beevers were immediately thrown together on one table by the draw, while Roy Brindley and Ram Vaswani renewed rivalries at another, reprising their battle at the William Hill Grand Prix Final.
The first “name” casualty was Roy Brindley who, after taking an early chip lead, suffered some ill-luck against Ram Vaswani when his straight was counterfeited on the river. He was busted shortly afterwards by the same Hendon Mobster.
Barny Boatman was the first Mobster gunned down, and was soon followed by his brother Ross. By Day 2, twelve men good and true remained to pass judgement. Rather predictably in this Scandinavian poker age, the top three players were Swedish and Danish - Ola Brandborn, Niklas Ohman and Kent Ballegaard. Ben Grundy was the short stack and perished in no time.
Andy Black soon became crowd favourite as other Irish interests fell away to the bar. The final six were established after the third Mobster, Joe Beevers, lost out to Andy Black to finish in 7th. Ram Vaswani soon paid for his continued aggression by crashing out in 5th. Day 2 concluded leaving the remaining four to dream about the bubble. Evenly matched in chipcounts, the final four were Niklas Ohman, Ola Brandborn, Andy Black and Jeff Sharpe.
Day 3 would see the conclusion to the second Showdown Poker Tour event, with one poor soul theoretically heading for a bubbly exit. However, it is reported that €10,000 was skimmed off the top in a deal, so a profitable day would ensue for all four contenders. That fourth man looked likely to be Jeff Sharpe, who lost a lot of chips early on, but short-handed poker is never predictable. Cue a bust out by Ireland’s Andy Black and a collective groan from the audience. In that 3-way pot, the erstwhile short stack Sharpe tripled up!
Because of the small field, we were once again presented with a final three loaded with chips and no pressure on the blinds. Eventually, Niklas Ohman fell in 3rd place, followed by Ola Brandborn in the runner-up spot.
Congratulations go then to Jeff Sharpe for adding another impressive final table statistic to his CV.
The Showdown Poker Tour now takes a break before moving on to France in August. The Casino Barriere de Trouville will desperately be hoping for a better turnout but somehow it seems unlikely. As currently scheduled (6th – 10th August), it is up against the final week of the World Series of Poker!
UK Poker News thanks Ireland’s Antes Up for some of the tournament data used in this report.
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