EPT9 Deauville Day 4: Lappin licked, but prospects good for the Irish

In the kind of anodyne world in which the best pre-flop poker hand always wins, the following would be a photograph of David Lappin. But it's not. Instead this is Aurelien Guiglini, who eliminated Lappin just before the first break of the day, rivering a two-outer to send the last Irish representative in Deauville to the rail.

How many outs did you have, Aurelian?


Aurelien Guiglini: Lappin's nemesis

That's right, two.

The hand in question was actually pretty standard. Lappin had three-bet his pocket kings from the blinds and Guiglini called in late position with pocket sevens. There were two deuces on the flop and another on the turn, with both players happy to see their hands improve from one pair, to two pair, to a full house.

But when the seven rivered, only one of them was really happy. All the chips went in and Lappin bust. ("#KingsWillAlwaysBeGG" he tweeted later. "3 scoops of gelato to make the pain go away. #f**kings")

It was a hammer blow to a lot of people: Lappin, of course, but also Dara O'Kearney, who was railing him throughout the tournament. PokerStars Blog was also disappointed because we had a post ready to go about Lappin. And the whole of the Irish poker community wept as well because many of them had a financial interest in Lappin's action.

"About half of Ireland have a small piece of me," said Lappin earlier, dismissing claims that the close tracking of his progress here was solely out of national pride. "It sounds like patriotism, but it's really greed. You can quote me on that."

Lappin is known as one of the most outspoken players on the Irish poker scene, writing a regular blog on his personal website in which few punches are pulled. Here he is, for instance, on the subject of qualifying for EPT Deauville, which he did via a satellite shortly before Christmas.

"I would like to slip in a sneaky brag about how I won an EPT satellite to Deauville. As my friend Nick 'rounder63' Carrillo snap-posted, playing a $100 rebuy satty 'kinda sounds like spew for u' but, in my defence, the field was soft as all the ballers are EPTing in Prague right now and there was a pretty big overlay. Yes, I know I am a bankroll nit but, on February 3rd 2013, 'the coward' will be playing the biggest buy-in tourney of his career thus far. In 52 days, I'm going to be stationing it off against the big boys."

As blogged by the self-styled "coward", Lappin is was playing his first ever EPT, having been encouraged to make an appearance here by Jason Tompkins, who made the final table in Sanremo. Ireland has traditionally been one of European poker's powerhouses, but has been through a fallow period of late. Tompkins, though, had discovered that there was quite a bit of value still available on Europe's premier tour, prompting O'Kearney and Lappin, among others, to leave their laptops and get back on the live tournament grind.

Hence the satellite and hence the qualification for Lappin.

Lappin is a Supernova on PokerStars, a high-volume grinder of MTTs and formerly a beast at the 45-man sit and goes on Full Tilt Poker. He also plays most of the big Irish festivals and sometimes at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin.

"I'm just fact-checking here," Lappin piped up as O'Kearney filled us in on all the details above. But O'Kearney had it all correct, as well he should. They know one another pretty well.

Both Lappin and O'Kearney are members of a small group of travelling Irish pros, known unofficially as "The Firm". It also includes Padraig O'Neill, Daragh Davey, James Noonan and Nick Newport, most of whom started their poker careers online.

Typically, the Irish game has been played predominantly in the flourishing card clubs in Dublin and beyond, but there are scores of players now who develop their game online and only gradually migrate to the live scene. This is reason for optimism for the future of Irish poker, according to O'Kearney.

"There's a much stronger prospect of an Irish player winning now," he said. "Obviously everybody would like to be the first Irish EPT winner."

It wasn't to be for Lappin here in Deauville, but no doubt his success will offer encouragement for more of his countrymen to come back to the EPT tables. It's London up next, which is as close as it gets for Irish players. Grab a piece of all The Firm while it's still available--and fold kings pre-flop.

Follow the nitty gritty of the action from EPT9 Deauville on our live coverage page. Or tune in to PokerStars.tv for the latest live streaming.

PokerStars Blog's awesome competition to name an EPT champion and win yourself a tournament ticket is back. Just head over to the competition page, do some stuff on Twitter, and you could be ante-ing up online. Enjoy.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour