Tero Laurila
Tero Laurila won the 2024 Irish Poker Open Main Event for over $300,000 after a three-way deal.

Massive tournament fields, the full ‘James and Joe’ PokerStars experience and memories that will last a lifetime. If the 2024 Irish Poker Open was under any pressure to perform, it exceeded the expectations of everyone in attendance. The conclusion of the €1,150 ($1,250) entry Main Event saw a three-way deal split up the best part of a million dollars as Finnish player Tero Laurila scooped the title and took home the trophy.

Stapes Bags ‘Best’ Live Score

One of the many highlights of a memorable 2024 Irish Poker Open this week was from a €350 side event. Having arrived in Ireland and not slept, Joe ‘Stapes’ Stapleton was possibly under orders to get a good night’s rest ahead of the Irish Poker Open Main Event taking place and live commentary beginning. Not a bit of it.

Stapes, playing his heart out, went on to finish fourth for a fantastic result worth $8,637. The PokerStars ambassador and long-time on-screen presenting partner of James Hartigan was delighted with his result and received much love from the poker industry:

Answering one of his fans who asked if it was his best score, Stapes confirmed that while he had won a bigger prize than the $8,600, he’d done so in a $5,000 buy-in event so clearly, in ROI (return on investment) terms, this was way more lucrative.

Joe 'Stapes' Stapleton
Joe ‘Stapes’ Stapleton was the toast of Dublin after scooping over $8,600 in a side event.

Main Event Figures Reflect Huge Turnout

The $1,250 buy-in IPO Main Event saw an incredible 3,233 entries pitch up in the Irish capital as Dublin’s Royal Dublin Society building housed the Paddypower-sponsored tournament. With a prizepool of a million euros more than trebled to €3.15 million, it was the Finnish player Tero Laurila who took home the trophy and €292,685 ($316,735) after a three-way deal ended the event.

The final day’s drama saw Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson cash for around $26,000 in 14th place along a rollercoaster ride to the final nine players. When the final table began, British player Stephen Groom led the other eight players, though only by a few chips. Sitting on 17.7 million, he was marginally ahead of Hiep Ninh on 17.6 million, with a big gap then back to Spanish player David Tous (11.9m).

The first player to leave the party was, surprisingly, Tous himself, whose hopes of victory went up in flames after a disastrous spell at the felt. All-in with AcTs, Tous lost to Ninh’s KhJc as the qualifier cashed for $41,580. Shortly after Tous went home, Adrian Thorne lost with Ad5d to Georgios Tsouloftas’ AcKc as a cruel board of KdTh5h2c3c played out, sending Thorne home with $54,065.

Boycey Bounced from the Fun

“I almost passed out with all the stress.”

Lithuanian player Vidmantas Beliauskas busted next for $70,300 in seventh place. He lost a coinflip to Mark Johnston as ace-ten couldn’t hit against pocket nine and Johnston went from strength to strength at the final table, chipping up further before Laurila’s pocket queens sent Stephen Groom to the rail for $91,425 after his pocket jacks failed to get any help.

Out in fifth for $118,850 was Oliver Boyce as Ninh continued his momentum. On a board showing Td7c3c8d, Boyce committed his chips with Ad9h for a gutshot but couldn’t hit against Ninh’s JsTc. Ninh was acting as something of a wrecking ball to others’ chances and swung again to eliminate Tsouloftas in fourth for $154,500 when the latter’s open-ended straight draw couldn’t hit against Ninh’s top pair, top kicker.

With three players left, the clock was paused and the three remaining players began discussions towards a three-way deal It took 30 minutes but eventually the numbers added up, with ICM and some set money for first and second place leaving everyone happy. Ninh, who was in charge at that moment, was guaranteed to win the most money and did so in second place after his pocket sixes lost to Laurila’s pocket tens.

Johnston busted in third when pocket nines lost to Ninh’s AcJc when an ace landed on the flop.  Soon, after a hero call from Laurila, it was all over, as Ninh shoved for 10 big blinds with 8s7h. Laurila called with QsJs and a board of Qh9s2cQdQc gave the champion the title with quad queens.

Laurila, Finland’s second-biggest winner this week after Samuli Sipila’s heroics at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas, was delighted with the result of a lifetime, and couldn’t hold back his delight with Irish Open host Laura Cornelius after the final card hit the felt.

“I almost passed out with all the stress coming out of my body and mind,” he said with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face. “I’ve [had] four and a half hours of sleep two to three nights in a row, but of course [I’ll celebrate] something with the guys.”

PokerStars 2024 $1,250 Irish Open Main Event Final Table Results:
Place Player Country Prize
1st Tero Laurila Finland $316,735*
2nd Hiep Ninh Rep. of Ireland $362,215*
3rd Mark Johnston United Kingdom $251,805*
4th Georgios Tsouloftas Cyprus $154,500
5th Oliver Boyce Rep. of Ireland $118,850
6th Stephen Groom United Kingdom $91,425
7th Vidmantas Beliauskas Lithuania $70,300
8th Adrian Thorne Rep. of Ireland $54,065
9th David Tous Spain $41,580

Headline image courtesy of Global Poker Award-nominated photographer Danny Maxwell for PokerStars, the home of the European Poker Tour.