Ignacio Menendez Takes Down Inaugural The Festival Nottingham Main Event

The Festival Nottingham concluded on February 19 with the crowning of the £500 buy-in Main Event champion. Some 609 players bought by the time late registration slammed shut and remained so, resulting in a guarantee busting £232,292 prize pool that the top 92 finishers shared.

When the dust settled at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, it was Argentina’s Ignacio Menendez that had all of the chip in play, and he scooped a career-best £38,595 after a heads-up deal with Sean O’Donnell.

The Festival Nottingham Main Event Final Table Results

Place Player Prize
1 Ignacio Menendez £37,595*
2 Sean O’Donnell £31,150*
3 Endrit Geci £18,250
4 Gyorgy Simon £12,592
5 Dmitri Dudakov £9,250
6 Vegard Andreassen £7,000
7 Michael O’Brien £5,500
8 Mark van der Voorden £4,500
9 Ananda Vemuri £3,500

*reflects a heads-up deal

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The nine-handed final table lost its first player early into proceedings, with Ananda Vemuri crashing out and made his way to the cashier’s desk to collect £3,500.

Eighth place went to Mark van der Voorden after he open-shoved for ten big blinds from the cutoff with pocket threes, and Sean O’Donnell called from the small blind with a superior pair of tens in the hole. The tens held, and van der Voorden was gone.

Almost immediately after van der Voorden busted, Michael O’Brien joined him on the rail. O’Brien was down to a little under 6.5 big blinds when he moved all-in from early position with pocket kings. Unbeknown to O’Brien, Endrit Geci was sat on the button with the only hand that could beat him preflop: pocket aces. Geci three-bet shoved, and everyone else folded. There was no help for O’Brien’s cowboys, and he busted in seventh for £5,500.

Sixth place and £7,000 went to Vegard Andreassen. He looked down at queen-eight under the gun and decided it was strong enough to commit the last of his five big blinds. Menendez called the shove from the small blind with pocket nines, and despite Andreassen flopping an inside straight draw, he ultimately missed his outs and crashed out of the Main Event.

Disaster for Dudakov

Dmitri DudakovDmitri Dudakov

The final five became four with the elimination of Dmitri Dudakov. He lost a coinflip with pocket tens versus the ace-king of O’Donnell, and his micro-stack of 1.5 big blinds went into the middle on the very next hand. The Poker Gods were not looking down on Dudakov and he headed into the cold Nottingham night with £9,250 for his efforts.

Hungary’s Gyorgy Simon fell in fourth for £12,592, the tournament’s first five-figure score. Simon came unstuck after a clash with Menendez. Simon shoved for a little over five big blinds with pocket tens in the small blind. Menendez gambled and called with suited nine-seven, and was rewarded with a seven-high straight by the river despite Simon flopping top set.

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Menendez Leads Going Into Heads-Up

Heads-up was set with Geci fell by the wayside. The former PartyPoker MILLIONS Online champion was down to 1.6 big blinds before he bust. O’Donnel raised on the button with ace-four of hearts, Geci called all-in with ace-queen, and Menendez came along for the ride in the big blind with eight-deuce offsuit. The active players checked down the board, and Menendez won with a rivered eight. Geci collected £18,250 for his third-place finish.

Menendez held a commanding 95 million to 27 million chip lead going into heads-up, but O’Donnell cracked Menendez’s aces with jack-eight to flip the contest on its head. O’Donnell’s lead lasted one hand before he found himself on the wrong side of an ace-king versus ace-queen situation.

The topsy-turvy nature of the one-on-one battle prompted both players to strike a deal that left the trophy and £4,250 to play for. Menendez captured the extra prize money during the 1,000,000/2,000,000/2,000,000a level when O’Donnell limp-called all-in for 37 million with ace-eight of diamonds, and finding himself against the king-seven of Menendez. A seven on the flop gifted Menendez the lead but O’Donnell picked up a flush draw. The turn paired a deuce, before the seven of diamonds on the river improved O’Donnell to a diamond flush but also Menendez to a tournament-winning full house!

The Festival Heads to Malta in May

The Festival next heads to the Portomaso Casino in St. Julians, Malta from May 15-21. Speaking about the upcoming Maltese stop, The Festival founder Martin “Frankie” van Zweigbergk said, “Malta is the perfect poker destination and the Portomaso Casino has a long history of successfully hosting big poker tournaments. I’m really happy that we will be able to make The Festival in Malta a reality thanks to Jonathan Micallef and the Portomaso Casino. All our players will have a fantastic poker and casino holiday in May.