Crozier leads heading into UKIPT Dublin final table
Holding aces when someone five-bet jams into you for 50 big blinds is always welcome. When it happens with 13 players remaining and €100,000 up for grabs, well, you'd not only usher that situation into your front room but roll out the red carpet and cue a 21 gun salute. That's what happened for Graeme Crozier who knocked out Michael Schneider after the German shoved with eights for 800,000. That pot took him to the top of the field, a position which he did not relinquish.
Crozier holds 1,949,000 and is in pole position to pick up the €100,000 first place prize following a shotgun finish to Day 3 that bumped off two players simultaneously, cutting two tables of five to one of eight in a double-barrelled shove. Trevor Dinneen jammed queens and lost to Stephen McGrath's ace-king while Adrian Sanchez three-bet shoved ace-ten into Seamus Birt who made a tough call with ace-jack to send the Spaniard packing in 9th.
The final table
Seat one: Padraig O'Neill, Ireland, PokerStars Player, 1,347,000
Seat two: Keith Swain, United Kingdom, PokerStars Player, 282,000
Seat three: Lee Atherton, United Kingdom, PokerStars Player, 846,000
Seat four: Graeme Crozier, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier , 1,949,000
Seat five: Stephen McGrath, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 992,000
Seat six: Seamus Birt, Ireland, 1,805,000
Seat seven: Vincent Buis, Netherlands, PokerStars Player, 253,000
Seat eight: Richard Evans, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 1,090,000
Birt comes into the final table second in chips with 1,805,000 after showcasing an ability to spot a bluff and demonstrating the mental fortitude to follow through on his read. As well as picking off Sanchez, Birt made a tough call with top pair following a big shove from Irish Open runner-up Paul Carr. He had air.
Sitting third in chips is Padraig O'Neill with 1,347,000 but in some ways the young Irishman may be disappointed not to have more. He was up to nearly 2,000,000 after dispatching two tough opponents in Joel Benzinou (22nd, €2,200) and Shifaaz Taus (16th, €2,800). O'Neill's attempts to play the bullying big stack game horribly backfired though when Richard Evans smooth called a three-bet with pocket kings, flopped top set and allowed O'Neill to barrel into him on a 5♠J♥K♦J♣ board with J♠9♥.
That double up to 1,000,000 marked a remarkable comeback for Evans who'd been down to just two big blinds some five hours earlier. He cracked Lee Atherton's jacks with a raggy ace and had trebled up with pocket nines through O'Neill's pocket aces and Andrew Miles' queens all-in pre-flop. Miles was sent to the rail, Evans heads to the final table with more than a million chips. Poker. It's a funny old game.
Atherton and Stephen McGrath both put in workmanlike performances, avoiding risk but chipping up nonetheless. O'Neill at one point realised that he'd barely won a hand of note against McGrath and seemed bamboozled by his arsenal of limp-raises and min-raises. They seemed to work.
Dutchman Vincent Buis will be looking to follow in countryman Joeri Zandvliet's footsteps, who won last year. Buis has previous in Dublin, he won a tournament here in February. He's short stacked but comes across as a player who knows his shoving and calling ranges. He certainly looked shocked when he knocked out Mark Baxter (12th, €4,000) after the Brit called all-in with 3♠9♣. He wasn't the only one.
Buis is not the only short stack. There is also Keith Swain who also has little more than ten big blinds. He'll need luck on his side to spin up a big stack but Swain has thus far proved to be pretty resilient. Tomorrow will almost certainly be his largest tournament cash.
The day started with 58 players and we saw the back of many talented players but mention must go to Marc MacDonnell who consistently tried to build a big stack taking on all-comers. Unfortunately for the young Irishman he ran kings into the aces of overnight chip leader Robert Healey in a huge 500,000 pot and never recovered. Healey bust in 21st (€2,800) while MacDonnell tumbled out in 29th (€1,800). We'll see more of MacDonnell in the future. To see all the cash finishers and the breakdown of the final eight payouts click through to the UKIPT prizepool and payouts page.
Play resumes at 12 noon tomorrow. Join us then as we crown a new UKIPT champion.
All images are copyright of Mickey May and must credited as such.