Steve O'Dwyer has done it once again. Earlier this year O'Dwyer, who has more than $34 million in live tournament earnings, shipped the Irish Poker Open. This week, he entered the final day as the chip leader in the partypoker MILLIONS Europe €3,300 Main Event at the popular Casino Barcelona before eventually mounting a comeback against Luuk Gieles heads-up to win the title.
O'Dwyer has claimed countless trophies over the years but he shared with PokerListings that this one was something special.
"I don't have a trophy like that," O'Dwyer shared. "I really like that it has a globe on it. I love maps and I love geography."
Barcelona has been one of O'Dwyer's favorite places to play. The venue is something important to O'Dwyer who no longer wants to travel to Vegas after spending many years going there as can be evidenced by the fact that he hasn't play in the World Series of Poker for years.
"I always love playing here," O'Dwyer said about Casino Barcelona. "It is a great place to play poker."
O'Dwyer had a close call for another trophy earlier this festival as he was heads-up with a commanding chip lead against the formidable Teun Mulder in the partypoker MILLIONS Europe €10,300 High Roller. Mulder mounted a comeback to win the trophy in that event along with the €67,900 top prize leaving O'Dwyer to settle for the €29,100 top prize. O'Dwyer shared that he wasn't happy with his heads-up play in that event but had a couple of days thanks to playing in the Day 1a flight to brush up on his heads-up skills and was more confident facing Gieles due to that than in his match-up against another Dutch superstar in Mulder.
|7||Duco ten Haven||Netherlands||€38,500|
The partypoker MILLIONS Europe Main Event attracted 450 online and live entries to generate a €1,310,350 prize pool. A total of 67 players bagged stacks into Day 2, each securing at least a min-cash of €5,000 with fourth-place finisher Taras Khilko actually bagging up twice to earn an extra €5,000 on top of the fourth-place prize of €84,000.
Lukas Boubel qualified for the partypoker MILLIONS Europe Main Event at partypoker for just $0.01. He was living the dream by coming to Barcelona, but unfortunately for him, he just busted out in 18th place for €11,000 after his big slick ran into aces.
Boubel came to the Catalonian capital with his girlfriend and truly took in the experience as someone that typically plays low stakes. He shared with PokerListings that although he is disappointed that he didn’t go deeper with what he described as two mistakes because he was tired, after a quick break he relished in the fact that this was his biggest poker tournament cash.
“I was so excited to be playing with those I watch on TV like Steve O’Dwyer,” said Boubel.
Hopefully, for Boubel, this is the start of something big for the friendly player who exhibited strong play throughout the Main Event.
The penultimate day of the Main Event concluded after O'Dwyer ousted partypoker Team Online streamer Matt Staples in 10th place when his ace-queen held against ace-four suited. O'Dwyer began the day with a small lead over Gergely Bartos but it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Irishman.
Bartos took the chip lead after O'Dwyer was on the losing end of the first hand to Daniel Smyth. Shortly after Smyth snagged the lead back. O'Dwyer, however, was back on top after he ousted Jelle Moene in ninth place. O'Dwyer extended his chip lead as others did the dirty work in eliminating both Duco ten Haven and Pawel Brzeski.
O'Dwyer appeared to be in cruise control as he was busy padding his chip lead until he doubled Bartos in a massive pot when his ace-queen didn't get there against queens.
Bartos appeared to be the one in control at that point having padded his lead before sending Igor Picone to the rail when his fives were good against ace-trey suited. However, shortly after Taras Khilko send Smyth to the rail in fifth place, O'Dwyer was able to regain the lead once again during four-handed play. The lead then bounced around to Gieles before Bartos took control again. Gieles regained the lead before O'Dwyer was once again the table captain.
Bartos then delivered a bad beat to Gieles. A Cinderella story was in the making with Gieles down to under 3 big blinds at this point before he came storming back with two double-ups against O'Dwyer in flip situations. Shortly after, Gieles sent Khilko to the showers in fourth place and regained the lead after holding figuratively a chip and a chair. Bartos then ran his ace-five suited into Gieles's pocket rockets to hit the rail in third place and Gieles held double the stack of O'Dwyer to begin heads-up play.
Gieles shared with PokerListings before the day began how special it would be to win the trophy for him. The Dutch poker player is a seasoned pro who was witnessed regularly playing $10,000 buy-in events online during the pandemic and had a great support team with him including High Roller champ Mulder and fellow final tablist Moene.
However, by the time the dinner break came around, O'Dwyer had a small chip lead despite Gieles winning one memorable hand with quad treys, and the tournament was soon over once the action resumed.
Before long, O'Dwyer amassed a massive chip lead against Gieles before the final hand took place.
It appeared like the game would go on with Gieles back into things after he nailed two pair with king-four suited against O'Dwyer's ace-ten with the duo all in before Gieles nailed two pair on the king-four-nine landed on the flop. However, this wasn't meant to be as an ace came on the turn to give O’Dwyer the top pair before a nine paired the board on the river to give O’Dwyer a better two pair.
Although Gieles was unable to hoist the trophy, he did win a truck-load of cash to collect the second-place prize of €168,000.
Congrats to Steve O'Dwyer for adding yet another big trophy to his ever growing collection. That's a wrap for the PokerListings coverage of the 2022 partypoker MILLIONS Europe. Stay tuned as we cover other big poker festival around the world.
*Photos courtesy of partypoker photographer Mickey May