The Open, traditionally held over Easter Weekend in one of many large rooms in the Irish capital, is continually one of the best-attended and most highly regarded tournaments on the European circuit. Andy Black, Padraig Parkinson, Alan Smurfit and PokerListings.com favorite Ciaran O'Leary, as well as bona fide Eurostars Trond Eidsvig, Ram Vaswani and David Ulliott and Canadian young guns Mizzi and Mike "Timex" McDonald.
Renowned poker bloggers Chris "Eurodonk" Hall and Jen "The Jar" Mason also sat down, as did some random player who kept whistling the opening bars to "The Homecoming." That little tic had very nearly driven the PokerListings.com contingent insane by the end of the day's eight 60-minute levels.
It was a day marked by the continued crush of painful eliminations, as we suppose all tournaments with hour-long levels and $10,000 starting stacks must be. Among the first to hit the exits was Ulliott, who wouldn't be the last pro to get all-in with A-K against A-A and find himself unable to conjure a miracle. Ulliott was dunzo toward the end of the day's second level.
A few levels later, J.J. Liu would commit all but $2,500 of her $25,000 stack into the middle, putting Andreas Hedman all-in on the strength of her own A-K. Hedman was more than happy to call, turning up American Airlines of his own and doubling up to more than $45,000 and an undisputed early claim on the chip lead.
Meanwhile, Roland de Wolfe was making like a human sine wave, letting his stack peak and trough as he performed poker trigonometry throughout the day. De Wolfe saw his stack fluctuate throughout the proceedings, building up to a run at the chip lead when he sent an opponent packing with a rivered nut flush against player two's two pair and then losing a number of chips after shoving in a semi-bluff that went sour when his rival mustered top two.
Also on the up and down was Andy Black, who seemed to straight dominate the table from the get-go, when he moved his entire $10,000 into the middle over top of an opponent's $1,100 wager on an ace-high board and then flashed the king of diamonds as he raked the pot. Throughout the day, Black seemingly raised every pot that was folded to him and often appeared to be playing without looking at his hole cards.
The poker world's biggest Eminem fan took his stack up to a high-water mark of $40,000 but then succumbed at the end of the day after committing his last $5,000 in a squeeze play gone sour. It saw him wind up all-in with A-9 against an opponent's A-Q and fall to a rivered broadway straight after flopping a nine.
Presumed chip leader at the end of the first day of play is one Jay Renehan, who stacked up an impressive $70,000-plus after a nuclear bomb of a hand that saw three players all-in on an 8-5-4 board, one with aces, one with eights and one with fives in a set-over-set-over rockets debacle. Renehan, obviously, held the eights and by the end of the hand his unlucky opponents held nothing.
Still alive after eight levels of play are the Texas Dolly and son, as well as Padraig Parkinson, Ciaran O'Leary, the aforementioned de Wolfe, Sorel Mizzi, David Colclough, Johannes Strassman, Trond Eidsvig and Soren Kongsgaard, among 110 others. Those survivors will get Good Friday to themselves while the second half of the field plays eight levels of its own.
Action begins at 2 p.m. (GMT) and will continue throughout the day, with PokerListings.com on hand to make sure none of the Easter spirit infiltrates the tables. Tune in or the bunny gets it.