A special tournament
The European Deepstack in Dublin, Ireland is a tournament that has held a special place in my heart ever since I won the first one (in a five way chop: the final table also featured VegasSlotsOnline News’ Tony Baitson). The following year, Jason Tompkins announced his arrival on the scene chopping it heads-up with Francis “Wally” McCormack. Since then, several of the top Irish players of their generation have gone on to claim the title, including Declan Connolly (2013), Cathal “Shiner” Shine (2014), Emmet “Mully” Mullin (2017), and Stephen Kehoe (2020).
This time around, the chances of the title staying on Irish soil seemed slim at the start of the final table towards the end of last week, as two English visitors led the chip counts with almost half the chips in play. An English friend asked me who I thought would win, and how many would be in the chop. Without a second’s hesitation I replied:
LuckyMo will win, and he won’t chop.”
I was referring to Tomas Geleziunas, who went into the final table in fourth with less than 15% of the chips. Why was I so confident? Three reasons. First, not withstanding the presence of the seasoned and recently-relocated-to-Ireland Kevin O’Donnell and another seasoned Irish performer Larry Ryan, Tommy was in my opinion by far the strongest player at the table. Second, for all his considerable achievements online (he has been one of Ireland’s biggest crushers on the online felt for well over a decade), I know how much he craved the big live score that eluded him until now. And third, he was the most sober I’d ever seen him.
On Sunday, he confirmed my prediction, securing a €53,610 ($57,016) payday:
I first became aware of Tommy G as he was introduced to me when he started showing up to the monthly game in the Westbury with Big Mick G (Michael Graydon). Given they were both G, I assumed they might be cousins. I was surprised to find out later that the G in Tommy’s case stood for Geleziunas. Despite the Lithuanian surname, Tommy is as Irish as it gets, complete with a salt of the earth Dublin accent and a love for Guinness.
I was even more surprised to find out that Big Mick G’s drunken cousin (or whatever I thought he was) was actually one of Ireland’s top online players, known and feared the world over under the screen name “LuckyMo32.”
humble demeanour and seemingly casual approach
Tommy’s humble demeanour and seemingly casual approach both at and away from the table have caused many to underestimate him down the years, including my co-author Barry Carter. On a rare foray to Dublin to play live, Barry gloated to me that he had direct position on the local fish at the table, a very friendly drunk called Tommy. When he sent me a photo of a grinning Tommy, I advised him to rethink that initial read.
A few years ago, Tommy was on the Ireland team that went to compete at the Match Poker Nations Cup in Oxford. I was away in the Bahamas when I was drafted in by team captain Fintan Gavin to coach the team via Skype on the unique challenges of Duplicate Poker. My main memory of those sessions was Fintan starting them with: “Can we hang on for a few minutes?… LuckyMo is running late.”
The team duly won, and the last ever message in the WhatsApp group we set up for the event was a teammate beseeching someone to “hold the bus because LuckyMo is running late.”
Tommy takes the win
I honestly can’t think of a single person in Irish poker with a bad word to say for Tommy, which is why when he finally got the live win he craved at last week’s recent European Deepstack, it was a universally popular victory.
outlasted another popular veteran of the Irish scene, Larry Ryan
Along the way, he outlasted another popular veteran of the Irish scene, Larry Ryan. This was just the latest in a list of live final tables for Larry that includes a UKIPT (the one where Kevin Killeen defeated Max Silver heads up), EPT Prague, a WPT in Killarney (won by Richie Lawlor, which I also final tabled), and a Party Poker High Roller. Larry went into this one short stacked and showed all his laddering skills to make the top three.
When Larry bust, that left Tommy heads-up with the lady who had started the final table as chip-leader, Sharon Horn. Sharon, a GUKPT Main Event finalist, was unlucky not to go all the way but did a great job representing the growing tide of ladies poker.
Future Chip Race guest
One of the few downsides to the success of our podcast is that David and I routinely have to deal with angry fans annoyed we haven’t had their favourite on the show. There seems to be a naive assumption that everyone wants to be on the Chip Race, and would be if asked, but the reality is that in almost all cases the answer is “we asked and they said no.”
One of the more memorable exchanges between David and a LuckyMo fan went something like this:
“Why haven’t you had LuckyMo on the show? It just shows how out of touch with the Irish poker scene you are.”
“We have asked him several times.”
“Was he drunk when you asked?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him not drunk.”
Immediately after his victory on the weekend, I congratulated Mo and took the opportunity to invite him on the show. That conversation went like this:
“Any chance we can get you on Chip Race to talk about it?”
“Sure. Get onto me in a few days though. Can’t think straight at the minute.”
So there you have it folks: Tommy G, aka Lucky Mo, the people’s champion, will finally make his fans happy and come on the Chip Race.
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