Laurila wins epic 2024 Irish Open

Finnish poker pro Tero Laurila has won the record-breaking 2024 Irish Open Main Event for a first prize of €292,685.

The 38-year-old – a former floorball coach from the small town of Kouvola – used to primarily play cash but has been playing more and more tournaments in recent years. He was cheered on during the final by his friend, EPT Barcelona runner-up Kimmo Kurko who also had a deep run in the Main Event (finishing 16th for €17,140) and Finnish superstar Juha Helppi.

Laurila started playing poker in 2005 and admits: “I play often – as much as possible. Mostly live games and PLO cash game is my main game.” He had a big score last year in Spain and his online results include a fourth place in the PokerStars WCOOP Main Event for $126,000. Even before winning today, Laurila said that the Irish Open was the best festival he’d ever been to.

Although Laurila won the tournament, he actually cashes for less than runner-up Hiep Ninh thanks to a three-way deal when Mark Johnston was still in the fray. Ninh takes €335,636 home while Johnston got €232,685.

This year’s Irish Open was far and away the most spectacular poker festival Ireland has ever known. The Main Event broke its own record to become the richest poker tournament ever held in Ireland with 3,233 entries and a €3,152,175 prize pool, while the €500,000 guaranteed Mini Irish Open attracted 5,320 entries to become Ireland’s largest ever tournament. The festival was held from March 25 to April 1 at the historic Royal Dublin Society and featured a total of 35 poker tournaments.

The final day of the €1,150 Main Event started with just 14 players: Finland’s Tero Laurila was in the lead with Spanish PokerStars qualifier David Tous just behind him. Also making today’s final day was Irish veteran Padraig Parkinson who was eliminated in 13th place for his best ever run in an event he has played a gazillion times.

With a record-breaking 3,233 entries, the prize pool for the Main Event reached €3,152,175 with 480 paid. More than 800+ players qualified online for the event on PokerStars and Paddy Power as well as in live satellites at the venue and casinos around the world. Some incredible qualifier stories emerged during the event such as Dublin’s Dermot Harney who qualified for €5 on Paddy Power and finished 50th for €7,220 while Kyle O’Connor finished 294th for €2,340 after freerolling into a €1 Paddy Power promotion during the Cheltenham Festival.

Among those who cashed were Kimmo Kurko, Conor Beresford, Tobias Peters, Dara O’Kearney, David Lappin, PokerStars Team Pros Sebastian Huber and Fintan Hand, Friends of the Irish Open Raph Verdugo and Elizabeth Bennett-Martin, PokerStars VIP player liaison whizz Brandon Nguyen, this year’s Heads-up Champion – Spanish live stream commentator Alex Romero, Kully Sidhu, Brandon Sheils, WSOP Ladies runner-up Debs “the Destroyer” Worley-Roberts, The Club’s Adam McKola and PokerStars Ambassador Sebastian Huber.

Irish Open organiser Paul O’Reilly said: “Many congratulations to this year’s Main Event champion Tero Laurila – our first ever Finnish winner. We also would like to thank our sponsors and the thousands of players who competed this year for the most superb week at the Royal Dublin Society. The huge success of this year’s festival would not have been possible without a massive number of people working tirelessly to support it – 450 in all! – including a record 223-strong team of dealers and floor staff.