WSOP Main Event: Dave Murray -- A glinting jewel from the Emerald Isle

by Howard Swains

Dave Murray is the man we have been looking for.

At every event, there is at least one player who manages to plough his way through the field, dominate his table, win huge pots, boss the meek and undermine the powerful. This player is supremely talented, classy and emminently attention-worthy, but what makes them unique among all others is that somehow, through no fault except ours, we manage to miss them entirely.

Dave has been in our blind spot since the start of the tournament, but having now amassed $809,000 in chips, the secret is out.

"I got lucky a couple of times today," he claimed after popping into the media room, where finally we were able to catch up. "I hit a one-outer, I think, and doubled up. Then I got another set over set and doubled up again."

Details, please.

The hands Dave is referring to happened before table 141 was broken earlier today. With pocket tens and an eight-high board, he pushed in. One player folded pocket jacks but another, with the snowmen, called. When the hands were shown, Dave was informed that another adversary had passed a ten pre-flop. He was down to one out, but sure enough the case ten rivered and he was still breathing.

Soon after, his pocket queens were called by sixes, and while the six flopped, the queen turned and all the money went in. Another double up - he began the day with 225,000 - and Dave was back in the driving seat.

Our new hero is 21-years-old and from Dublin, Ireland, where he recently finished a degree in maths and computer science. He took a job (one of those jobs between jobs) as a poker dealer in the Fitzwilliam card club, where he was able to witness both the luck and the consummate hold 'em skills of the Irish first hand. The Emerald Isle has produced a disproportionate number of top quality players; between downing pints, picking four-leaf clovers and dancing jigs, the entire nation can all play poker very well indeed.

Dave is no exception. OK, I haven't seen him down any pints nor dance any jigs, but his poker is excellent. He played his largest live tournament on the Barcelona EPT last year after winning a live super satellite and won his way to Vegas a couple of months ago via the well-worn PokerStars $16 double shoot-out, then £650 satellite path.

"I had a big stack all along. It was quite comfortable," he said.

The momentum started then, when he played through the night to claim his seat, shows no sign of halting. There are fewer than 400 left, nearing the end of Day Four. Murray is now in the spotlight, where he is already a natural.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker