Tuesday, 27 April 2010

SeanEuphoria: First Past the Line

At 7pm yesterday evening, 39 players took their seat in the $2 No Limit Hold’em Quad Aces freezeout, all eager to emulate the success of Rob ‘SirNutFlopper’ Weston who took down event one earlier in the month. After two hours and 51 minutes, it was ‘SeanEuphoria’ Gundy who took the $31,20 first prize.

1st SeanEuphoria -- $31.20
2nd RedKiteBlackBelt -- $19.50
3rd bigstudmuffin70 -- $12.48
4th Bambury -- $8.58
5th doochats -- $6.24
6th AngelVicki48
7th StilettoMafiosa
8th TFMonty007
9th losbert40

“Thanks everyone,” said Sean in victory, “Well played final table. Had my aces cracked just before the final table bubble paid, they paid off against the same person a few hands later. Unlucky Andy [RedKiteBlackBelt], great play as always.”

The Quad Aces tournaments run parallel with various milestone events in the UK calendar. This time, the occasion was the London Marathon, and if the winner of our Quads Aces Bonus Tourney were able to correctly predict the winning time, then he’d win a seat into the $250,000 Guaranteed iPoker event worth $320.

Out of a field of 14, Sandy ‘sandy1611’ Drennan emerged victorious, picking up $55.50 for his troubles.

1st sandy1611 -- $55.50
2nd JHobbit1 -- $33.30
3rd M4TR1X -- $22.20
4th brigal19
5th insider66666
6th CareybearBBP
7th cornishtone
8th NevFackinBartos
9th AngelVickie48

Despite Kenya dominating recent years, it was an Ethiopian who broke the white tape, Tsegaye Kebede completing the course in two hours and five minutes. Unfortunately, although Chris Leigh, Brian Gallagher, Carey Hollick and Kim Vernon correctly predicted the winning time, Sandy didn’t put forward a time, and thus missed out on the extra value. Nevertheless, he still took away those all-important bragging rights.

The next leg will take place on Thursday, May 6 and will coincide with the General Election. With one Ace each, Sean Gundy and Rob Weston both have a chance of going to Vegas if they are able to pick up one more Ace. And it’s not over for everyone else: you get 500 Belt Points for winning a leg, but if you can win the final two, then you’ll be off to Vegas for less than a tenner!

To participate in the Quad Aces promotion, simply open up the lobby and find the relevant tournament in ‘scheduled’ > ‘Black Belt tournaments’. If you don’t currently have an account, then signing up is easy: just download the poker client the software and follow the simple steps provided.

Click here for all the details of our Quad Aces promotion.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Race to Vegas with Quad Aces

This Sunday, April 25 at 7pm, Black Belt Poker brings to you its second leg of our Quad Aces promotion, the Ace of Clubs. Last week, Rob ‘SirNutFlopper’ Weston picked up the Ace of Diamonds when he overcame a field of 49 to win the opening event. This means that he is on course to win an all expenses paid trip to Vegas to play in the WSOP Main Event.

But it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and there are still three Quad Aces tournaments remaining, the next of which being Sunday’s ‘London Marathon’ leg. As before, the event will be a $2+0.20 No Limit Hold’em freezeout, with the winner earning an extra 500 Belt Points and the chance to go to Vegas if they are able to win at least one of the other two Quad Aces tournaments.

Ace of Diamonds (A1) = Grand National –Saturday, April 10 – won by SirNutFlopper
Ace of Clubs (A2) = London Marathon –Sunday, April 25
Ace of Hearts (A3) = General Election – Thursday, May 6
Ace of Spades (A4) = FA Cup Final –Saturday, May 15

One Ace: 500 Belt Points
Pair of Aces: Vegas Holiday – flights and accommodation for a week in LV
Set of Aces: $1,500 WSOP buy-in plus flights and week’s accommodation
Quad Aces: $10k WSOP Main Event package, including flights and accommodation

Each leg, we also offer players the chance to win a bonus prize in our Quad Aces Bonus Tourney, a $3+0.30 No Limit Hold’em rebuy. To be eligible for the bonus, the winning player must have correctly predicted the winning time in the London Marathon to the minute.* Last time, winner Brian ‘brigal’ Gallagher was inches away from playing in the iPoker Monthly Million when he incorrectly chose second-placed Black Appalchia as the Grand National winner.

To participate in the Quad Aces promotion, simply open up the lobby and find the relevant tournament in ‘scheduled’ > ‘Black Belt tournaments’. If you don’t currently have an account, then signing up is easy: just download the poker client the software and follow the simple steps provided.

Click here for all the details of our Quad Aces promotion.

* All seconds will be rounded down (ie. 2.10:59 = 2.10). To submit your prediction, please post your answer on the relevant thread in 'Groups', 'Promotions' tab.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Channing Completes 48 Hours in Big Game IV

At 8pm on Tuesday evening, Black Belt Poker’s Neil Channing completed 48 hours straight of cash poker in the PartyPoker Big Game IV.

Channing took his seat at Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair at 8pm on Sunday and entered the game to The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’. Standing in his way was a tough line-up that included David ‘Viffer’ Peat, Isaac Haxton and Black Belt Poker blogger Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz, whilst the likes of Andrew Feldman, Justin Bonomo and Tony G joined the game later in the day.

This year’s Big Game IV was £25/50 eight-handed No Limit Hold’em with various stipulations thrown into the mix such as a straddle, seven-deuce rule, and numerous PokerNews pots whereby the winner earned an additional £1,000.

Adorning the same karate suit that made its debut in March’s Black Belt London Live, Channing enjoyed a steady, if fruitless start before winning a gargantuan £68,350 pot against Viffer. On an 8d-4d-3h flop, all the chips flew in, Channing drawing to just the one out with 4d-4c versus 8h-8s. However, after a harmless 2s hit the turn, the 4s arrived on the river to award Channing a last-gasp pot and stack of over £70,000.

Despite taking one of the biggest pots of the night, Channing was unable to finish the night in profit, luck avoiding him near the end of day and fatigue undoubtedly forming an inevitable obstacle. However, he did achieve one goal: completing the 48 hours, along with Viffer who had offered 3:1 odds at the start of the game. Channing was evicted at one point, but due to Tony G leaving the game, was brought back in after just 10 minutes.

David Peat was the eventual winner taking away a whopping profit of £147,275 as well as being the most aggressive player throughout, and thus exempt from each eviction process. The biggest loser was Roland De Wolfe who lost in excess of £60,000, whilst Luke Schwartz faired little better, losing just over £50,000. Both Jennifer Tilly and partner Phil Laak – who played for the majority of the 48 hours – left with a respectable profit.

“Viffer’s a very good player,” reported Channing, “and underrated by many. I’m obviously very tired from playing the whole 48 hours but pleased to have made it to the end. I think the eviction process could be reworked slightly, perhaps by having Jesse May making the decision as he gets to see how everyone is playing from the commentary booth.”

You don’t have to be a high roller to play Neil Channing as the 2008 Irish Open Champion will be back on Super Tuesday to participate in our Challenge Channing promotion. If you would like to try your hand at some $0.25/0.50 cash and tackle the GUKPT London runner-up, then be sure to grab your seat from 7.30 onwards

Also see Big Game IV – Part One: Room With a View, the opening part of our insider’s review of this year’s Big Game.

image courtesy of Anne Laymond

Sunday, 11 April 2010

SirNutFlopper Gallops to Victory

This April, Black Belt Poker brought to you its Quad Aces promotion: a unique concept exclusive to Black Belt Poker in which players are given the opportunity to go to Vegas for less than a tenner! By winning just two out of four $2 freezeouts, you could win a week’s holiday in Las Vegas, but snap up all four Aces and you’ll be jetting off to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event!

Each Quad Aces tournament coincides with some of the nation’s biggest events, and yesterday’s first outing ran parallel to the Grand National. The winner of the freezeout was Rob ‘SirNutFlopper’ Weston who bested a field of 49 players to pick up the $39.20 first prize and the first Ace, the Ace of Diamonds. Speaking after the event, Weston said simply, but confidently: “One down, three to go.”

As with each Quad Aces tournament, last night also saw 14 players compete in a $3 No Limit Hold’em rebuy whereby the winner earned a seat in the iPoker Monthly Million if they were able to correctly predict the winner of the Grand National. After a hard fought battle in which 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing came fifth, it was Brian ‘brigal’ Gallagher who picked up the victory, winning $102.

The winner of the 2010 Grand National – which, incidentally, was first won by Jem Mason (no relation to our own Jen Mason) riding Lottery in 1839 (yes, I confess, Wikipedia is my friend) - was 10:1 joint favourite Don’t Push It, ridden by Tony McCoy who picked up the accolade on his 15th attempt.

Unfortunately, and despite winning the rebuy event, Gallagher wasn’t able to take advantage of the added value as he incorrectly selected Black Appalchia who finished in second place to deliver what was the closest of near misses. Those who picked Don’t Push It included Mark ‘mavperth’ Valentine – who finished in sixth – and Tom ‘Werrrd’ Drew who forgot to enter the event.

For Weston, this is a cracking start that puts him in good stead for, at the very least, an unexpected trip to Vegas, whilst others will be vying for the remaining three tournaments, and the chance to play a $1,500 bracelet event. The next event will be the Ace of Clubs, taking place on Sunday, April 25 and coinciding with the London Marathon. Make sure you register for the event for your chance to go to Vegas.

See here for more details, including schedule, prizes and buy-in options.

Mitchell Talks Irish Open

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In an exclusive blog entry with Black Belt Poker, James Mitchell takes us through his recent Irish Open win in which he bested a record-equalling 708 field to take home the coveted title and €600,000 first prize.

As always, James’ dry sense of humour is in top form as he jokes about the price of drinks in Dublin, going out drinking the night before the final, and what the Irish consider to be the height of fashion, commenting:

“Seeing as I was playing for six figure sums I told the cab driver to take me to the best high end designer clothes shop in the city. He said, ‘say no more.’ What I have learnt from this is Debenhams is regarded in much higher stead in Ireland.”

Incredibly, James almost missed this year’s event, his lack of organisation resulting in a last minute buy-in. Of course, the hotel was full, but a former Grader made the save:

“…the night before the tournament, my friend Sida Yuen sent me a text saying he didn't realise his room was a twin and I could crash there if needed. When I woke up on Friday morning with a mild hangover from Dan Furnival's engagement party I thought why not and booked a flight.”

James Mitchell is a 20-year old poker pro from London who not only participated in last Summer’s Grading, but also became only the second player on Black Belt Poker to work their way through the ranks to Brown Belt. If you would like to hear more from the 2010 Irish Open Champion, then be sure to check out the rest of his blog now.

Blog Entry - My Irish Open
News Items - James and the Giant Cheque

Photos of James in 2010 Irish Open

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Movers & Shakers – February & March

It’s been a hectic, but rewarding couple of months for Black Belt Poker: Neil Channing came second in the London GUKPT, Paul Pham won London Live, James Mitchell became Irish Open Champion and Grading II: Destination Dublin saw numerous players earn brand, spanking new Belts.

We learned a lot from the first Grading, and we firmly believe that everyone involve in this year’s outing took a lot away from the process, whether that be improved discipline, better skill set, or simply a new network of friends. Either way, their commitment and dedication led to seven Blue Belts, seven Green Belts, and four Purple Belts. Our congratulations go out to all of them for their achievement.

Last month, our ‘Movers & Shakers’ article was notable in its absence due to the Grading and also complications caused by a recent iPoker update which allowed users to play in Euros and pounds, as well as dollars. However, we have adjusted our points system to cater for this change, and can this month bring you all the players that enjoyed promotion during the months of February and March.

Black Belt Poker would like to congratulate the following players on their achievement and wish you the very best of luck at the tables for the month of April:


Gavin Hall
Jamie Burland
Kevin Williams
Owen Robinson
Adam Goulding
Rob Jarrett-Smith
Simon Mairs


Ermyas Birru
Gerard Harraghy
Andy Brisland
Joe Roberts
John Hayes
Marty Rice
Mike Shaw


Carey Hollick
David La Ronde
Kevin Stephens
Lee Brooke-Pearce
Lee Clarke
Richard Hinds
Natasha Dwyer
Paul Marrow
Peter Rhodes
Ramsey Ajram
Richard Hinds
Stephen Knowles
Adam Collins


Allan Connolly
Anthony Fraser
Ashley Hames
Craig Perry
Dan Carter
Darren Cottrell
Dave Lloyd
David Tighe
Del Snelling
Derek Wallace
Dewi James
Eoin Kennedy
Francis Toon
Giovanni Pennetta
Gregory Scanlon
Hugh Gribbin
Jim Parberry
Joe Tooma
Johnny Kelly
Karim Louis
Kyle Milne
Mark Ranson
Martin Harris
Matt Gilbert
Matthew Wilby
Mike Ashman
Paul Pham
Paul Murrell
Peter Wigglesworth
Piotr Grabowski
Richard Wheatley
Richard Hurst
Ricky Smith
Sean Bolden
Shane Dewsbury
Steven Marskell
Tom Drew
Warren Jackman

For more information on the Black Belt Poker cardroom, the Belt-Up rewards system, or any of our promotions, please visit our help pages in the ‘Play Poker’ section of the site.

Monday, 5 April 2010

James & the Giant Cheque

Just one week after Senseis Channing and Persaud selected their latest Blue Belts, one of Black Belt Poker’s finest students, James Mitchell, last night became the 2010 Irish Open Champion, taking home the coveted title and big, comedy cheque worth €600,000.

Heading into the final table, James lay third in chips with 1,115,000 and enjoyed a relatively good seat position with the two bigger stacks sitting to his right. But despite this, James managed to get his stack in early doors against Declan Connolly, A-9 in all sorts of bother against pocket jacks. A bullet-less board and James’ stack had been dissected in half.

Luckily, this was just a minor blip for the 20-year old Londoner, as moments later he doubled up himself, A-5 outdrawing the pocket eights of Connolly for a fortunate, but welcome revenge. Then, soon after, James’s fortune continued as he eliminated Peter Murphy in eighth, K-T suited outdrawing Big Slick when a 10 hit the flop.

After such a turbulent start, James took somewhat of a back seat, watching graciously as Connolly, Edmund Sweeney, Ben Roberts and Paddy Power Sole Survivor Rob Sherwood finished seventh to fourth respectively. This left James, Paul Carr and Santeri Valikoski three-handed, all on similar stacks.

At this point, it really was anyone’s game, but Valikoski began to slide downhill quicker than a lard-coated eel, and with just several hundred thousand pushed all in from the button with Ts-5s, only to be picked off by James’s Kc-3h. An eventful Jc-7h-5c-7c-Ks board and the Finn was gone.

If onlookers thought the action had been entertaining up until now, they hadn’t see nothing yet as heads-up produced an epic seesaw encounter for the ages. With 3.7 to James’s 3.1 million, Carr had the slight edge and seemed to have the better of his opponent as he overbet pots and continually put James to a decision for his whole stack. Drummed down to 2.3 million, James made his move, getting it all in with Ac-9c versus As-6d. The Kd-Qc-3d-Tc-6c board was deceptive, but favoured James who once again regained the lead.

After Carr doubled up with A-A versus K-5o, it really looked like the local hero would be taking gold, and when he picked up queens against James’s A-6 suited, engravers were beginning to inscribe Carr’s name on the trophy. However, poker’s a “funny ol’ game”, and despite the most harmless of flops (3d-9d-Kc), the 7h turn was followed by a dramatic ace from space (Ad) which had the homegrown fans climbing the walls, and the travelling supporters erupting like Mount Vesuvius. Nobody in the room could quite believe what they’d seen.

But once the commotion had settled down, it was James who once again had his man by the short and curlies, and despite a dogged performance and never-say-die attitude that would make Rocky look like a wimp, Carr finally succumbed with Qs-5d versus Ah-8h, all in on a Jc-Jd-8c flop, the 4s turn and 8s river giving James a full house for victory.

As James soaked up the spotlight, he looked more startled than anyone, but it wasn’t a dream, Black Belt Poker’s James Mitchell was indeed the 2010 Irish Open Champion and had echoed the achievements of Neil Channing from two years prior. A man of few words, James said a few thank yous whilst commended runner-up Carr, who he confessed had the better of him heads-up.

Everyone at Black Belt Poker would like to offer James our congratulations. 20-years of age and from London, England, James was a former Grader who just missed out on becoming a member of the Vegas 8, but re-emerged later in the year to become only the second ever player to work his way up to Brown Belt status after earning winning points from his second place finish in the 2009 World Heads-Up Championships. This, however, is by far his biggest win, and we couldn’t be happier for him. Well done, sir, we tip our proverbial hat to you.

1st James Mitchell -- €600,000
2nd Paul Carr -- €312,600
3rd Santeri Valikoski -- €205,200
4th Rob Sherwood -- €163,300
5th Ben Roberts -- €130,600
6th Edmund Sweeney -- €100,800
7th Declan Connolly -- €75,000
8th Peter Murphy -- €56,300
9th Yann Dion -- €37,700

image of courtesy of Anne Laymond

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Dublin 3 Review: April 4

The Irish Open is one of the most enjoyable tournaments on the poker calendar, and this year has been no different. With 708 rolling up for the Main Event, Black Belt Poker boasted numerous representatives, most notably the Dublin 3 who were fresh off battling their way through the recent Grading.

Although Owen Robinson and Simon Mairs suffered early exits, they returned the following day to offer their support to Rob Jarrett-Smith as he looked to build upon a respectable stack of 42,900. Initially, all was going to plan, and Rob was gradually creeping his way up the ladder, but half way through the day he ran into a hand cooler than a fridge in the artic.

Having called a raise from the big blind with pocket deuces, Rob checked a set on a Qd-2c-Kd flop, before check-calling bets on a Td turn and Qs river. Unfortunately, his foe had made a bigger full house with Kh-Qc, but Rob sensed he was behind, later adding: “I knew he had K-Q, I just knew it, and I even said, 'I know this is going to look really nitty but I'm sure you have K-Q.'" Down to just 15,000, Rob exited soon after, running tens into the jacks of Black Belt’s very own Jen Mason.

Talking about Jen, she was fast becoming a real contender, and bashing her male opponents up like Lennox Lewis in a bad mood. She spent multiple hours on the feature table, and the commentary team were continually singing her praises. She may have eliminated one opponent with flopped quads versus a rivered straight, but she also made a terrific call with ace high to prove that she’s more than just a reporter. Sadly, she ran out of steam a little towards the end of the day, and as Day Three beckoned, little changed, her swan song coming with K-Q running into T-T in a battle of the blinds. Still, Jen made the money, taking home €5,500 for 53rd.

Also making it through to Day Three was Nik Persaud, who’d finished Day Two the same way Jen had started it. On the final hand of the night, he ran 8c-4c into the Kd-2d of Janne Nevalainen and Ad-Kc of Paddy Hicks on a Td-8d-4d flop. But despite the flopped flush, the turn came a Tc followed by a dramatic Ts river to award Persaud the pot, and Hicks the door. "I remember him patting Paddy Hicks on the back and saying bad luck," told Cos Paparestis in reference to the 79-year old fan favourite. "I said, 'Don't do that, you might kill him!'"

The next day, Nik arrived in confident mood, mustard keen to make his first major final. Initially, he looked like he might do just that, but just as he was building momentum and inching closer to securing that final table place, he crossed swords with then chip leader Santeri Valikoski.

With Yann Dion (who, incidentally, would later become the final table bubble) raising to 35,000 and Valikoski calling one seat along, Nik looked down at kings in the big blind and made it 115,000 to play. Dion folded, but the Finn made the call. The Ac-Js-6h flop went check-eheck, only for Nik to check-call a bet of 100,000 on the Jd turn. The river was the Qd, and after Nik had checked, Valikoski took one look at the dealer and announced all-in. Before the words had barely left Valikoski’s mouth, Nik made the call, only to be shown Qc-Jc for the full house. €18,300 for 15th seemed tasty on the surface, but provided little in the way of consolation to a clearly devestated Nik Persaud.

Meanwhile, James Mitchell, who’d started the day in third place, was enjoying fruitful times at the feature table, eliminating players such as Maurice Whelan with A-Q versus A-6. Most of James’ chips, however, had come from an epic encounter with Martin Hanitz. With the flop reading 3s-8c-6s, James led for 70,000, only for the Norwegian to move all in for half a million. James made the call with Qs-Qd; Hanitz tabled As-Js. Although vulnerable, James was able to dodge the numerous outs like an Olympic gymnast, the turn and river coming 4h and Tc respectively to send Hanitz home.

So, as we head into the final day, James Mitchell sits in third place with an incredible 1,155,000 in chips and is in with a great chance of emulating Neil Channing’s 2008 achievement of becoming Irish Open Champion. However, it won’t be easy, as in the final are the likes of Ben ‘The Gentleman’ Roberts and online pro Rob Sherwood, who also collected €100,000 by becoming the Paddy Power Sole Survivor. As one Neil Channing might say, “Must be nice.”

Seat 1: Peter Murphy -- 546,000
Seat 2: Ben Roberts -- 419,000
Seat 3: Edmund Sweeney -- 407,000
Seat 4: Santeri Valikoski -- 1,722,000
Seat 5: Rob Sherwood -- 497,000
Seat 6: Paul Carr -- 1,596,000
Seat 7: James Mitchell -- 1,155,000
Seat 8: Declan Connolly -- 735,000

Friday, 2 April 2010

Dublin 3 Report: April 2

For this year’s Graders, the Irish Open had been that bright star, the one that guided them through the gruelling six-week process and kept them strong when times got tough. For some, the chance to play the 2010 Irish Open - for most, their biggest tournament to date - was an opportunity that simply couldn’t be missed.

With Black Belt Poker adding another package to the prize pool, four Graders earned their shot at the title, with Simon Mairs, Owen Robinson, Rob Jarrett-Smith and Gavin Hall all invited to join Senseis Channing and Persaud in Dublin. In the interest of fairness, players were offered the chance to take Belt Points (totalling 100,000) instead, and although three of the newly crowned Blue Belts were already looking at flight details, Gavin decided to stay put in order to give himself a better chance of maintaining his Belt during the months of April and May. Thus, the Dublin 4 became the Dublin 3.

Incredibly, and despite the 708 thick field being crammed into one starting day (a tradition, it seems, at the Irish Open), the Dublin 3 were located within a table of each other with just one player separating Rob and Simon. The good news, however, was that there didn’t seem to be any danger men or ‘known pros’ in the vicinity, allowing the Dublin 3 to potentially feed off the locals unhindered.

Sadly, it didn’t quite work out that way for Simon Mairs who became our first casualty a few hours in. Down to 6,500 from a starting stack of 10,000, Simon faced a raise of 350 which he duly reraised to 1,100 with A-K suited. His opponent then pushed all in, and given that Simon had three-bet him a couple of times prior, he made the call, thinking his foe may be making the move with a more narrow range than usual. Unfortunately on this occasion, Simon found himself up against K-K, and then the rail.

Next to drop was Owen Robinson. Comforted by his girlfriend on the sidelines, Owen told of his fall from grace: “I only had 3,000 at the time,” he reported, “so when there was an open to 700, I came over the top with T-9. He made the call with K-J, and although I flopped an open-ended straight draw, I didn’t hit and that was that.”

By default, this therefore meant that Rob was the Black Belt Poker sole survivor. Unfortunately for him, we’re unable to match the $100,000 offered by Paddy Power, but a rivered boat an hour or two later certainly sufficed. Having juggled a circa 15-18,000 stack for the majority of the day, Rob finally doubled up when he flopped a set of threes on a 3-J-T board. It wasn’t easy, though, as his opponent made a straight on the turn with Q-9, and with the chips flying in, Rob was willing the board to pair, which indeed it did when a knave made the save on the river.

Whilst Rob managed to sneak his way into Day Two, he wasn’t alone, as Neil and Nik also came along for the ride. Whilst Nik enjoyed a good early start that quickly lost pace, Neil went for a more trudge-like approach, his stack rarely peaking over that 20,000 mark. Seated next to Jeff Kimber, and later Liam Flood, the table banter may have surpassed the hands, as he was rarely in danger of exiting the tournament, but similarly never threatening the chip lead.

As well as former Graders Toby Lewis, Sida Yuen, Jamie Roberts and Jerome Bradpiece (the latter of whom exited with 2-2 versus 8-8 after a highly frustrating and fruitless day), James Mitchell was also in the field, and perhaps endured the most turbulent day of anyone. Bluffing his way up to 40,000, Mitchell then hit a few hurdles and dropped down to around 15,000, before finding his tournament life hanging by a thread with Qd-Ts versus Kd-Kh. However, after a 9c-As-8c-Tc board, a lady in red arrived in the river to save Mitchell and rekindle memories of Chris De Burgh’s snap-fold chart-topper.

At 708 runners, the 2010 Irish Open equalled previous records, and proved yet again that it is the tournament that players circle in the calendar with a permanent marker. But, unlike other big buy-in tournament, the starting stack remains at 10,000, which may have accounted for two thirds of the field departing within just eight levels. Thankfully, Black Belt Poker still had representatives flying the flag come the end-of-day whistle, including Dublin 3 member Rob Jarrett-Smith, and, of course, former Champ Neil Channing who will be mustard keen to echo his 2008 success. Gosh, we’d never hear the end of it in BBP HQ, but at least I might get a pay rise. Good luck, tomorrow, gang. Bring it home.

NB: Chip counts yet to be received.