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Noel O’Brien gave himself the perfect early Christmas present this weekend when he won the €250 Macau Xmas Classic at the Macau Sporting Club in Cork, Ireland.

Any fears of the €25,000 guaranteed not being hit were soon dispelled when 88 players turned out for the first of two starting flights before a bigger crowd of 104 descended on the poker room for Day 1b, making a combined field of 192 and a prize pool weighing in at €42,240.

Several partypoker qualifiers were among the 192 starters, including David McCarthy who everyone was willing to go deep thanks to him qualifying for the Macau Xmas Classic for $0.01. Unfortunately for McCarthy, he bust on Day 1a when his pocket kings fell foul to queen-ten.

Twenty-two places were paid with a min-cash weighing in at €450. Ciaran O’Sullivan was the first in-the-money player to bust, with the Irish legend Padraig Parkinson falling in 20th place, also for €450.

One by one, the players fell by the wayside until only the final table of nine remained. Cathal Heapes found himself in a three-way all-in involving Jason O’Shea and Jacquie O’Connor that resulted in O’Shea’s ace-five river a five to treble up with O’Connor’s ace-king winning the side pot and sending Heapes, who held ace-ten, to the rail.

Paul Coolbear fell in eighth place, his ace-eight being no match for the dominating ace-ten of O’Brien before Ross Coveney bust in eighth place, the €1,600 he received for his deep run helping to numb the pain of elimination.

Once the tournament was down to only four players, the quartet paused the tournament clock and discussed the possibility of a deal based on ICM. The discussions bore fruit and all four banked four figure scores, with O’Brien collecting €8,440, the winner’s trophy and the title of champion. Congratulations also go to O’Shea, Joey Hourihan and Frank McParland who were involved in the four-way chop.

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