Smyth's comback seals Poker Million VII crown - 14/12/2008
Marty Smyth produced a brilliant comeback to win the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII and pocket $1million in Friday night's live final on Sky Sports 3.
Roake makes his mark on day one in Warwickshire
The Belfast man was appearing in his third consecutive Poker Million final but found himself with just 15,000 in chips inside the first level after Liam Flood's kings held up against Smyth's ace-king hand. Smyth rode his luck as the short-stack to get back to parity then produced some fantastic poker to end up heads-up with Eoghan O'Dea and eventually win the big prize.
"That sort of stuff doesn't happen," said Smyth of his comeback in the final. "I was thinking of my exit speech and just going through the motions. All the pressure was off and I was thinking of going back to the party - with 15,000 in chips I have to win three all-in to get back into it."
With the blinds in the final starting at 5/10k, Smyth found himself in real trouble then but he won the aforementioned all-ins and stayed with his fellow Irishmen at the table, O'Dea, Flood and Ciaran O'Leary.
The two chase the chair semi-finalists made it through to the final but they were unable to progress past fifth and sixth positions. Svein Petter Neilsen was the short stack coming into the final with 179,000 in chips but was unable to make it out of the first level, moving all-in with A9 but running into the other chase the chair winner Kevin Allen with A10 and the Norwegian failed to hit a nine and left with $75,000.
Romford based poker pro Allen impressed in his TV debut but he had to settle for fifth spot when O'Leary's aces held against Allen's tens for the only Englishman in the final to drop to 46k. He got one all-in through and picked up a walk but when he raised on the button with 92 he was unfortunate the Smyth picked up KJ on the big blind and Allen was going back to Essex with $100,000.
So the four Irish players were left and a real tussle ensued with the chip lead changing hands at will in a hugely entertaining final. It was Flood who was to be the first to leave for the party in Edgware Road, finishing fourth for the second year in a row when he found himself short stacked and moved all-in with 45 and Marty re-raised all-in with AQ and hit a queen on the turn to make sure - Flood taking home $130,000.
Smyth was up to 868,000 and although the three players left soon moved close in chips, the blinds were at 15/30k and we were not far away from heads-up. So it proved when O'Leary moved all-in with A9 and Marty followed with red queens and the ladies held up to send Ciaran packing with $175,000.
Marty held a huge chip lead heads-up - 1,200,000 against O'Dea's 400,000 - but some crafty play by Donnacha's son saw him take the chip lead. The 20/40k level passed without incident but as the blinds were capped at 30/60k, action was inevitable. And it was Eoghan who had the first stab at the million dollar bounty when Marty was all-in with Q9 and O'Dea called with KJ. The flop and turn left O'Dea one card away from emulating his father's victory in 2004 but the queen of spades rescued Smyth's tournament on the river.
A few hands later it was Smyth's turn to take a shot at the big prize when O'Dea moved all-in with J4 and Smyth picked up an Ace and called. His other card was a deuce which was paired on the 928 flop, and when the turn and river came down 8 and 9, Marty Smyth was the champion.
"He's a good friend I didn't really want to be playing him for that amount of money bacuse he's also a very good player," said Smyth of O'Dea, who earned $250,000 as runner-up. "He plays a similar tricky game and was one card away from winning but after a few drinks when he wakes up in the morning he'll be happy with his performance."
"The semis are different in this tournament so I didn't expect to get through, a lot of guys came over so i wanted to get through to give them a good night out really. When you play a regular tournament you have so long to think about what to do with the money... you want to do well for everyone watching and have people who have shares in you - and the price has gone up!"
1 Marty Smyth $1,000,000
2 Eoghan O'Dea $250,000
3 Ciaran O'Leary $175,000
4 Liam Flood $130,000
5 Kevin Allen $100,000
6 Svein Petter Neilsen $75,000
FINAL STARTING STACKS
Eoghan O'Dea 339,000
Ciaran O'Leary 339,000
Marty Smyth 282,000
Liam Flood 237,000
Kevin Allen 224,000
Svein Petter Neilsen 179,000