Shallow digs deep to claim €220,000 poker prize
A YOUNG Londoner went home with more than €220,000 after winning the top prize in Ireland's inaugural World Poker Tour tournament last night.
Poker pro David Shallow (29) beat 338 contenders to make it to the final table at the four-day tournament at Dublin's Citywest Hotel.
Some of the top poker players in the world have been playing Texas Hold 'Em for more than 12 hours a day since Thursday for a total prize pool of just under €800,000.
And in what was regarded as one of the fastest final tables played in a major international tournament, Mr Shallow played his final winning hand in a game that lasted less than three hours.
Champagne and a "bit of craic" was on hand last night after he was awarded a cheque for €222,280.
He also now qualifies for a $25,500 (€20,000) seat at the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas.
"It's the first WPT I've won. It feels good," he said last night. "It didn't seem that quick to me, but obviously I was playing."
Fellow Londoner Charles Chattha (29), from Lewisham, who came second, said his fortune had changed after a few disappointing games here.
"Ireland has been really bad to me in the past," he said. "When I first started in 2005 I came to Ireland three times and I did really badly. I vowed then I'd never play poker again in this country."
But he was persuaded to come back at the last minute and walked away with €140,000. "It's not bad," he said with a smile.
It was also a lucrative weekend for Galway native Ronan Gilligan who took home the third prize of €74,000 after crashing out in the final table in the last hour.
"I blew up in the end," said the 33-year-old marketing manager. But it was still a winning weekend after he qualified for the tournament by winning an online game.
The prize included a free 'buy-in' to the game worth €2,500, as well as free accommodation at the hotel and spending money.
"It's great to get this far," he said. "I played really well on Saturday and I played really bad today . . . But it's all good."
Meanwhile, former world snooker champion Ken Doherty (43) said he was happy enough to finish in 14th place.
"It's better than I expected. I was just delighted to get down to the top 36. But to get down to the top 14 in my first ever World Poker Tour, it's not bad for an amateur," he said.
But perhaps he was also planning to win back some of his chips by doing what he does best as he challenged fellow poker player and former pool prodigy James Akenhead from London to a friendly game of pool in the players' lounge.