Irish Open champion David Docherty has won the 2023 UKIPT Player of the Year race after a sensational year in which he dominated the leaderboard virtually throughout the season.
Docherty’s victory in the record-breaking Irish Open last April – for a first prize of €365,000 – was an incredible feat. The €1,150 buy-in Main Event attracted a staggering 2,491 entries making it the biggest poker tournament ever held on the Emerald Isle. But Dublin was just the start of Docherty’s bid to win the prestigious POY title.
David Docherty’s Journey to UKIPT Player of the Year
David said: “I’ve played the UKIPT since its inception in 2010 and have made many of my best memories and friends in poker on the tour, so I reckon it means more to me than most folk to win Player of the Year. Being lucky enough to accumulate almost 200 points across the Irish Open and the Malta Summer Festival – where I finished fourth in the Main Event – also meant I had a substantial lead before many tour regulars had even played a stop.”
If the truth be told, Docherty had the POY title – and the £15,000 UKIPT 2024 prize package that goes with it – locked up long before the final started in Nottingham last week. He has cashed at every single event this season including fifth place in the UKIPT Blackpool High Roller for £5,940 but he ended the season in style last week when he took down the UKIPT Nottingham £3,200 Super High Roller for £46,180, the fifth biggest cash of his career to date. He now lies in sixth place on the Scotland all-time money list and has total live tournament winnings of close to $1.3 million.
He added: “The highlight of my year was undoubtedly the Irish Open. Winning such a historic title – with my friends and family watching the live stream from home and close friends watching live on the rail – was maybe the highlight of my life so far, let alone my year in poker. Winning the Super High Roller in Nottingham was also very special. It is my first official UKIPT tournament title after so many years of hitting crossbars on the tour and it was also a nice way to rubber-stamp the POTY title – even though I’d have won it without the extra points.
“But most importantly, I was playing in memory of a very close friend. Ollie Schaffmann was my roommate for a full UKIPT season back in the early days of the tour and he made his name with a runner-up finish in the inaugural UKIPT Nottingham main event. He sadly passed away of leukaemia in 2020. This was my first trip to Nottingham since then, so he was on my mind this weekend and it meant a lot to me to secure the title in the venue where he had his biggest result.’
Irish Open regular and PokerStars Team Pro Fintan “EasyWithAces” Hand has also excelled on the UKIPT this year. He won the Edinburgh Main Event for £44,200 and came third in the UKIPT Nottingham Super High Roller for £20,050. The popular Twitch streamer, a former dealer at Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Casino, only lives 15 minutes from the Irish Open venue at the Royal Dublin Society and sported a bright green, shamrock-embellished tailored suit during this year’s tournament. In 2017, he finished in seventh place for €19,445.
The UKIPT leaderboard is a points-based system, whereby every player who cashes in an eligible event (all standard Multi-Table Tournaments with a buy-in over £220/€220, excluding satellites) receives points based on their finishing position and number of event entries.
David Docherty snags the UKIPT 2024 Package for his Player of the Year win, but there are also live event credits up for grabs – £2,200 for the runner-up and £1,100 for the third-place finisher. Docherty qualified for the 2023 Irish Open for just $109 on PokerStars. Along with Paddy Power, PokerStars will also be running scores of satellites for Irish Open 2024.