EPT10 Barcelona: Gallagher makes good

We met Tom Gallagher back on Day 1A, then shared his story here regarding the remarkable sequence of online satellite hurdles he had jumped in order to leap all of the way from his home in Ireland to a cheaply-purchased seat in the EPT Barcelona Main Event.

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Tom on Day 1... low on chips!

At the time we spoke, the PokerStars qualifier had seen his starting stack chopped from 30,000 to start down to just 6,000. While we wished him well, we knew the chance of him even making it through that first day of play wasn't exactly strong.

Thus were we pleased to see him still around and bagging a short stack at the end of Day 1. We spotted him again at the end of Day 2, again with below average chips but still in the hunt.

Circling the floor once more during the tense lead-up to the bubble bursting on today's Day 3, we spotted the tall Irishman's US Open cap yet again. Before long everyone -- including Gallagher -- was in the money, and after lasting a bit longer in his first ever European Poker Tour event, he'd finally finish in 146th for a €8,680 cash.

Given that he'd only put €20 on PokerStars to start, even a min-cash represents a nifty return on investment.

"The dream is over!" he said with a grin after busting. "Well, for now anyway. I'll have to put another €20 on PokerStars and try to qualify again!"

Despite having just busted, Gallagher was nonetheless ecstatic about about how his trip to Barcelona had gone.

"It's been a fantastic experience. It really is a dream for a 51-year-old recreational poker player like me to be amongst all these whiz kids in their mid-20s."

Gallagher first became interested in playing online after being influenced by poker-playing friends like Feargal Nealon. Indeed, he only thought about trying to win an EPT Barcelona seat after seeing other poker buddies making trips to play on the tour. Once here, he found himself vying against some tough opponents as he negotiated his way to the money.

"When I won my seat, I did loads of research, watching lots of EPTs on TV. It's so great to see all these guys in person.  I was sat today next to Joao Barbosa who won EPT Warsaw. Yesterday I was on a table with Theo Jorgensen. I had one hand with Theo where I raised, he reraised and then I raised again and he folded... so that felt good!"

Gallagher didn't just profit monetarily this week, but in terms of increasing his poker know-how, too.

"In another hand, I laid down jacks to this other Danish player. He said he'd tell me what he'd had when he busted. I saw him at dinner last night and he said he'd had aces. Two, three years ago, I would have snap-called that and it be all over."

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Tom on Day 3... in the money!

The dream of an EPT final table or title may be over for Gallagher, but a dream vacation continues for him and his family.
"My wife and son are coming out tomorrow," he explained. "I won the full hotel package so I'm staying at the Hotel Arts which is fantastic. It's basically been a paid holiday for eight days. I've loved it."

There's a whole season's worth of EPT events left to go this year, and lots of ways to get there. For more information, see the "How to Play" page to learn how you, too, can win a dream trip to play with poker's best on the EPT.

Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Check out all the festival results here or take a look at what happened in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour