A Monster Success: Playing Ireland’s Newest Poker Competition

  • Brainchild of Fintan Gavin, The Monster is a new addition to Irish live poker
  • My first experience featured a clash with Mossie Fitzgerald in a turbo
  • Kyle Slattery took first prize in the Main Event for €22,245 ($24,381)
  • The organizers did an amazing job to create a truly memorable event
The Monster final table
It was a highly-competitive field on the final table of The Monster Main Event (pictured) in Ireland. [Image: Irish Poker Tour Twitter]

A change of fortune

In my recent piece announcing The Monster poker competition, I made fun of my own lack of success at the recent Irish Open poker festival.

That piece was written on the train to the last day of the festival. As it happens, I ended up avoiding completely bricking the series with two min cashes in the Seniors and the last hyper side event, but heeding the advice Spike Milligan’s father gave him as a child (“never let a boring truth obscure a better fiction”) I didn’t bother changing the piece.

it’s always nice to start a festival with a result

Truth be told, I try to pay as little attention as I can to short-term variance and results. It’s all one big session and small sample groups like one festival are as meaningless as any other small sample group. Nevertheless, I’m human and as such subject to the same cognitive dissonance and biases as others of my species, so it’s always nice to start a festival with a result – something I hoped for when heading for Ireland’s newest poker event.

Taking on The Monster

The Monster took place from April 27-30 at the Green Isle Hotel in Dublin. After busting my first attempt at the Main Event I decided to max late reg the nightly turbo rather than fire again in the Main. That meant coming in short, and remaining so for most of the tournament (dropping below three bbs at several points), but three-handed I found myself with the chiplead when I tried one of those plays that I know is long-term profitable but feels short-term awful when it doesn’t work out (as it didn’t on this occasion).

as soon as I bust they chopped

I limped Aces from the small blind into the other big stack of Mossie Fitzgerald in the big blind (big is relative, particularly in a turbo, he had about 20 big blinds and I had a few more), hoping he’d raise, or flop a single pair and stack off. Neither happened, we got it in on QJ2 flush draw with me hoping he had a single pair or one of the multitude of possible draws. He had neither, and his flopped two pair held. I lingered with my short stack a few more hands and as soon as I bust they chopped, Mossie claiming the trophy as the chipleader:

I always think that’s the best way to handle chops rather than flipping for the trophy or insisting they play for it. One of the many things I like about the Irish Poker Tour is there are no-nonsense rules about chops. The organizers accept that it’s the players’ money to do with as they like, and once it’s been chopped the tournament has effectively ended as a truly competitive event.

Success all round

Andy Black continued his recent run of good form by claiming the High Roller trophy in a similar fashion (three-way chop) and cashing the Main Event. I was on his Main Event table on Day 2 until a lost flip ended my own involvement.

Kyle took the Monster title and €22,245 ($24,381)

Tour head honcho Fintan Gavin went all the way to the final table of the Main Event. Railing him I was approached by Brian Slattery who took the €58,000 ($63,568) first prize in the premier event at the Road to Limerick Festival in February 2022. On this occasion, he was railing his son, Kyle, who ended up taking first prize. After a deal with Trevor Crawford, Kyle took the Monster title and €22,245 ($24,381). Trevor wasn’t too upset as he pocketed €20,000 ($21,919) himself:

I managed two other cashes in side events, a sixth, and a min cash in the last event of the festival. More importantly, I had a great time catching up with people I hadn’t seen in ages. It was particularly lovely to see my friend Louise who I hadn’t seen since the pandemic. She popped in on the Saturday and railed me on my final table for a while.

The whole team led by Fintan, Donal, and Ramona did an amazing job to create a truly memorable event. I have played poker all over the world and can honestly say this is the best team I’ve seen anywhere. More on this in my next article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *