John Keown Wins Irish Winter Festival 2011

John Keown has triumphed at the Paddy Power Poker Irish Winter Festival,after defeating a field of 395 players over three days to lift the trophy, and collect the €100,000 ($140,000) first place prize.
The Irish player qualified for the tournament via an online Paddy Power satellite and by becoming the last qualifier left in the competition, also picked up an extra bonus €20,000 Sole Survivor package.
As the €1,100 buy-in Main Event reached Day 3 at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, 12 players still remained in the competition with Noel O´Brien the chip leader (882,000) and John Keown lying in 5th place on a 581,500 stack.
Noel O´Brien subsequently dispatched Keith Maguire in 12th (€5,800) and Niall Smyth in 11th (€5,800), and after Robert Jones, too, was sent to the rail the final table of nine was then set.
At this stage, Noel O´Brien had a 370,000 chips lead over a second placed John Keown, and after briefly losing his pole position Noel O´Brien got back on top after dispatching Brian Warren in 6th (€18,550) with pocket aces versus As-Ks, while John Keown (A-K) knocked-out Michael Mazilu (Q-J) in 5th (€22,750).
Noel O´Brien then continued running over the table, and holding (K-Q)  eliminated Matej Kokalj (As-5h) in 4th (€28,750), and Chris Dowling in 3rd (€35,750) before finally going heads-up against John Keown.
At the start of heads-up play, O´Brien had a 3 to 2 chip advantage, but the lead changed hands several times until O´Brien was crippled after his 8d-3h all-in on a 4s-5h-3s flop was beaten by Keown’s Qs-7s draw.
Eventually, a short-stacked O’Brien got it all-in with Kc-6c up against Keown’s Ad-5d, which then held up relegating Noel O´Brien to a runner-up finish worth €57,950, while John Keown was crowned the 2011 Irish Winter Festival Champion.
With his win, John Keown has now earned around $250,000 from live tournaments and commenting later on his heads-up finale, said:
“It was a bit of a battle, but I think we’re both gambling men – I’ve known Noel a long time and we’ve had our wars over the years – we were both going to gamble and I came out on top. Poker’s a funny game, you can be so far in front, but it only takes one card to do the damage.”

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