A SOUTH Donegal man finished in fifth place overall the arguably the biggest event in poker - the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship - last week in France and left with €275,000 in prize money.
Dermot Blain from Buckless has played poker professionally for over three years and was one of the 592 competitors who paid €10,400 apiece to enter the competition. The 27-year-old progressed to the final on Thursday at Hotel Majestic Barrière in Cannes and in front of the watching world claimed fifth places from the 10 finalists. New Yorker Elio Fox won the event and scooped €1.4m, while second placed Chris Moorman from England pocketed €800,000 and German Moritz Kranich was third and took home €550,000.
“There was a lot of pressure there with the television cameras as ESPN were covering the event and there were lots of lights,” Blain said from San Remo in Italy yesterday. “But it’s one of the most desirable competitions in poker and the big interest was certainly understandable. The standard of player, particularly in the final, was excellent. Ususally when you have 10 players like that there’s one or two weaker ones but that was not the case last week.”
Last year, the fomer St Catherine’s Vocational School in Killybegs and Sligo Institute of Technology student won the ‘PokerStars’ Asia Pacific poker tour main event and collected US $541,089 (€388,448) for his first major tournament title in Macau, China. Blain has previously competed in events in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Spain, Czech Republic and Morocco.
“I suppose a few eyebrows were raised when I intitially opted to turn professional, especially so as I had a business degree but it’s all fine now,” said Dermot, who will return to Donegal this week for a break. “Cannes was definitely the hardest level I have ever played at and all in all was an incredible experience.”