“I was a bit shocked at the start when I realised I had such a chance at a life changing score,” he told the PokerStars Blog, which seemed understandable. But there was another element to the story that made it so fascinating. O’Rourke told us this during the first break of play on Day 4 of the EPT Prague Main Event, where the Irishman is among the last 45 players.
“I’ve only been playing Spin and Gos since I got to the EPT here in Prague. I’ve played no more than 50. I’ve been playing them every morning, 12 or 16 in total in sets of four,” he said. “The first set this morning the $1,000,000 rolls in. I couldn’t believe it. I saw $1M and thought what the hell? Is this really happening? I’m playing for a million!”
As far as O’Rourke was concerned though he was now only playing one Spin and Go. “I sat out of the other three, I woke my roommate up (Marc Riley) and told him I was playing for a million. He made me pull up the lobby because he didn’t believe me.”
O’Rourke, 31, is a former train driver now living in Portlaoise, Ireland. Now though he’s very much a modern family man, playing poker only for fun.
“I’ve my own daughter, she lives with her mother. Then I’ve got two step-kids and two foster kids,” he said. “Basically I’m a family man and play poker a bit on the side. I don’t play every night, maybe two to three nights a week. It’s more of a hobby and I’m enjoying it more because of it.”
“It was a bigger rush, especially for the time frame. I could’ve won a million in like two minutes. That’s pretty sick and I’ll probably never get that chance again.”
While O’Rourke missed out on the million – first place going to Australian player ‘GrindHeaps’ – he still banked $100,000. Not bad for a few minutes of poker.
“For $100 it’s a great return,” he said. “Of course I’m happy, but in the back of my mind I can’t help but think what might’ve been. However, I know I’m extremely lucky to have even got the chance at it.”
What’s more, he was full of praise for the million dollar winner.
“I looked him up afterwards and saw he’s gone for Supernova Elite a few times and is a big grinder. So congratulations to him, he probably deserved it more than me, he grinds them hard you know.”
Asked about the final hand – O’Rourke shoved for 11 big blinds with pocket threes after ‘GrindHeaps’ had limped from the button with pocket jacks – it’s clear that it might bother him for a while. “I’m not sure about the final hand, if I win that pot I’m chip leader though. It’s hard to play pocket threes out of position. I don’t know. It’s probably ok, but with the size of the bubble I don’t know.”
You might think that having played for a million dollars O’Rourke would cut short his Spin and Go session, but once he’d recovered from the mental exertion of it he fired up some more. “I played four more afterwards!”
That was all he had time for this morning as more pressing issues came up, like the Main Event here in Prague. No million in the Spin & Go, that’s true. But there is still the first prize of €921,540 up for grabs.
“I won a really big flip with queens against ace-king of diamonds,” he said, reflecting on the first level of the day. “There were two diamonds on the flop and I managed to hold somehow in a 200 big blind pot. I guess my luck is in today.”
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