PokerStars Festival Dublin: Gary McGinty's G.O.A.T.?

Approaching midnight last night at the Regency Hotel, Dublin, Gary McGinty was asked if he had just finished the single best day of poker of his career.

Surprisingly for a man who was in the process of bagging up 2.835 million chips, the runaway chip lead of the 16 players still in the PokerStars Festival Main Event, McGinty demurred.

"I played a €1K turbo at the Irish Open," McGinty said. "I knocked a few players out there, and was lucky enough to win it."

But really? Was that better than this? For at least five hours on Saturday--a day on which a returning field of 199 players was slimmed to its last two tables--McGinty's name sat atop the leader board. As challengers fell away, the gap only grew wider between McGinty and the rest, mainly because he was the one wreaking most of the carnage.

"I was fortunate enough to pick up some nice hands along the way, some nice coolers along the way," he said.

Under duress, this 29-year-old from Meath, finally admitted it: "It's really good actually, I must say."


Gary McGinty: "Really good actually"

McGinty's humility at the end of a hugely dominant day probably speaks to his experience as a tournament player. Although he is not a professional--he has a day job in a waste energy management company--McGinty has a decent poker resume. The Irish Open side-event victory accounts for nearly $30,000 of his $63,000 live tournament scores, but he has a fine record online too.

Playing as "comegethappy" on PokerStars, McGinty has tournament cashes of more than $350,000 across the sites, including third place in a WCOOP event a couple of weeks ago. From a 2,851 field in a $55 hold'em event, McGinty outlasted all but two and picked up more than $10,000.

Dreams of giving up the day job will be on hold as McGinty returns today to headline the final day's play. The first job is to make it to the final table, then to push on towards the €130,410 first prize.

Here's how they line up. We start at noon and play to a winner:

Table 1
1: Sacha Lebreton, Ireland - 400,000 (16 BBs)
2: Sean Prendiville, Ireland - 1,030,000 (43)
3: Edoardo Poggiali, Italy - 372,000 (16)
4: Andrew Grimason, Ireland - 1,568,000 (65)
5: Padhraic Mulligan, Ireland - 978,000 (41)
6: James O'Callaghan, Ireland - 976,000 (41)
7: Gary McGinty, Ireland - 2,835,000 (118)
8: Sean Bradley, Ireland - 422,000 (18)

Table 2
1: Florian Duta, Romania - 1,586,000 (66)
2: Alexander Bretherton, United Kingdom - 767,000 (32)
3: Ivan Tononi, Italy - 850,000 (35)
4: Michael Graydon, Ireland - 1,631,000 (68)
5: Antonio Merone, Italy - 969,000 (40)
6: Virgilio Dicicco, Italy - 317,000 (13)
7: Noel McMahon, Ireland - 582,000 (24)
8: Sean Bradley, Ireland - 422,000 (18)

A reminder of the payouts.

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in Live Poker