Docherty wins record-breaking 2023 Irish Open Main Event

The 2023 Irish Open Main Event – the biggest poker tournament ever held in Ireland — ended Monday evening (April 10) with PokerStars qualifier David Docherty taking home a first prize of €365,000. The €1,150 buy-in Main Event attracted a staggering 2,491 entries, creating a guarantee-busting €2,428,725 prize pool, up 22% up on last year.

David Docherty

Docherty, who made the final of EPT London last October, beat Irish delivery driver Declan Rice heads-up to take the title, cash prize and coveted Irish Open trophy.  His monster cash takes him to fifth place on the Scottish all-time money list – with total live tournament winnings of over $1 million. He won two Irish Open entries online in PokerStars €109 qualifiers and used both tickets.

Declan Rice won his seat in the tournament in a live satellite at the RDS venue – a satellite he only entered because he couldn’t get a seat in the cash game. It was a decision that led to a life-changing prize of €228,700.

Greek player Panagiotis Mavritsakis was third for €161,500 while Tom Waters, Managing Director of event sponsor Luxon Pay, proved he is no slouch at the poker tables and finished the event in fourth place for €124,500. Irish poker legend Andy Black was out in fifth place for €95,500 – a cash that brings him just a few thousand dollars shy of reaching the #1 spot in Ireland’s all-time money list (behind Max Silver). Others who cashed today include Benny Glaser, who won the €5k High Roller earlier in the week, well-known British pro Steve Watts and American Kevin O’Donnell.

The final four days of the festival were broadcast live on PokerStars TV with award-winning commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton joined by PokerStars Ambassador Nick Walsh and 2017 Irish Open champion Griffin Benger.

Before the event, PokerStars announced that this year’s Irish Poker Open would be included in the 2023 PokerStars UKIPT leaderboard. Tour details will be announced shortly but one thing’s for certain – David Docherty is already the soaraway leader. Prizes will be awarded to the top three players: a UKIPT 2024 Package worth £15,000 for the winner; live event credits worth £2,200 for the runner-up and £1,100 for the third-placed finisher.

The 2023 Irish Open festival featured some 35 tournaments and ran from April 3-10 at the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge. Thanks to this year’s partnership with PokerStars and Paddy Power, the Main Event field was boosted by 622 entries from players who won their seats online. For many of those taking part, it was their first experience of the Irish Open – an event first held in 1980 and celebrated as much for the “craic” and Irish bonhomie as it is for the poker.

And it wasn’t just the Main Event that broke records. Numbers were up across the board, with nearly every single tournament attracting more players than ever before. It was the festival’s first time at the historic Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge and the venue proved a perfect fit for Europe’s oldest poker tournament.

With 130 tables, the spectacular Main Hall at the RDS was packed for most of the week. In the lavish PokerStars and Paddy Power Players’ Lounge, players chilled out with a bar, giant screens, FIFA matches and traditional favourites like Shuffleboard, foosball and beer pong. There was live music every night in the RDS bar which was renamed the Chancers Arms especially for the festival. There were trips to the dog races at Shelbourne Park and another free outing to the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, one of Ireland’s top National Hunt meets. There were parties galore – including the official Players Party at Krystle nightclub on Sunday night and the après-poker party that took place every night in the Chancers Arms.

Paul O’Reilly, who organises the Irish Open with JP McCann, said: “Congratulations to our fantastic champion David Docherty. We are really thrilled with the success of this year’s event: a brand new venue and a brand new partnership with PokerStars and Paddy Power – it’s been an absolute winner. We want to thank all our hard-working staff – many of them are working year-round to put this event together. We also want to thank our partners and sponsors, the media and – most of all – the thousands of players who have come here this week and become a part of Irish poker history. It’s been sensational.”

Side events

There were some 35 different tournaments during the festival. Michael Kane won the €350 Championship Heads-Up event for €6,145 and cashed in both the JP Poker Masters and Hendon Mob Championship and finished third in the €3k High Roller. Four-time WSOP bracelet winner Benny Glaser took down the €5k Luxon Pay Championship High Roller for €106,980 while Cosmin Chis won the €3k edition for €106,640. Canada’s Elizabeth Bennett-Martin won the Ladies Championship.

UKIPT Leaderboard

All players cashing in eligible events at this year’s Irish Poker Open will be included in the 2023 PokerStars [UKIPT leaderboard]( Tour details will be announced shortly. Prizes will be awarded to the top three players: a UKIPT 2024 Package worth £15,000 for the winner; live event credits worth £2,200 for the runner-up and £1,100 for the third-placed finisher.