The 2017 Irish Open Main Event attracted 1,129 players, which is the most in the event’s history. All of these €1,150 buy-ins created a €1,128,294 prize pool, which led to 135 players cashing.
When play was whittled down to the 9-player final table, Benger led with 8 million chips.
His stack quickly grew as his A-J combo dominated Michael Fletcher’s A-10, sending the latter to the rail in 9th place. Benger also took care of Michael Conaty (8th), Antony Wickert (5th), and Chris Dowling (3rd) en route to heads-up play.
The Toronto native wasn’t the only one building his chip stack, though, since Mihail Mazilu knocked out Vamshi Vandanapu (4th) and won some other big pots.
This helped Mazilu carry 20.8 million chips into the heads-up portion, while Benger had 13.05 million.
Benger would quickly gain the lead when he flopped a straight against Mazilu’s pocket 8’s. This gave him a 2:1 chip advantage, and he began pushing this edge to win more blinds and pots.
The final hand saw Benger (K-8) check-raise on a 6-2-8 flop, while Mazilu (T-8) went all in. The turn was a 9, and the river was a 2, giving Benger the hand and the tournament win.
He collected the top prize of €200,000, while Mazilu settled for the second-place payout of €125,000.
Mazilu isn’t found on HendonMob, meaning this must be his first tourney cash. Benger increases his live tournament winnings to $3,884,373 with the Irish Open victory. He’s also earned over $6.5 million playing online tournaments under “Flush_Entity.”
As for the Irish Open, the event was first organized by bookmaker Terry Rodgers in 1980. Since this time, the Irish Open has been a staple of European poker and, based on the 1,129-player field size, it’s still quite popular.
2017 Irish Open Final Table
1. Griffin Benger – €200,000
2. Mihail Mazilu – €125,000
3. Chris Dowling – €75,000
4. Vamshi Vandanapu – €50,000
5. Antony Wickert – €35,000
6. Sameer Singh – €25,000
7. Fintan Hand – €19,445
8. Michael Conaty – €15,750
9. Michael Fletcher – €13,500