Ciaran Cooney wins 2020 International Poker Open online on Unibet

Popular Irish player Ciaran “Underraiser” Cooney has won the 2020 International Poker Open on Unibet. The 45-year-old Dubliner bested a 211-entry field in the €50,000 guarantee Main Event to snag €12,524.58 – his biggest tournament victory.

Cooney, who owns a bathroom wholesale business and describes himself as a “weekend player”, is well-known in the Irish poker community after running the Irish Poker Rankings for six years. The leaderboard was sponsored by Unibet in 2018, its last year, and featured 100 live tournaments.

Cooney had a gruelling two-hour heads up against “Yey2020” on his way to victory. He said: “It was back and forth a lot and I had him all in a few times but he kept doubling up.” Cooney has been playing poker for around 12 years but Sunday night’s win was his biggest cash to date. He added: “I’ve won a few tournaments in my life but this was the biggest – and it’s nice to win an actual trophy.”

This was the first time that the International Poker Open, one of Ireland’s most prestigious events, has been held on online. The six-day festival featured a total of 12 events – all with a prize pool guarantee – plus numerous superqualifier satellites. More than €150,000 was guaranteed across the whole festival.

Unibet Ambassador Dara O’Kearney, author of the best-selling Poker Satellite Strategy and co-host of award-winning The Chip Race podcast, said: “It was great to see the event so well supported by the Irish poker community and particularly thrilling to see Ciaran Cooney, one of the great characters of the scene, take it down. A very popular winner”

Unibet Ambassador Ian Simpson live streamed every day of the festival on his Twitch channel while tournament director Nick O’Hara hosted a Facebook live stream each night. O’Hara said: “We’re really pleased with how the whole event went. Obviously, we missed the craic of a live event but there was still a good atmosphere on the live stream and it’s great that an Irish player won. Ciaran Cooney is from Dublin, where the event is normally held, so he really was winning on “home soil.” My thanks to everyone who took part and all my guests on the live stream – including Unibet Ambassador Dave Lappin who was fantastic on the live chats each evening.”

With 211 entries, the Main Event well exceeded its €50k guarantee, with a total prize pool of €59,502. There were 35 players who finished in the money with two Irish players making the final table – Ciaran Cooney and “Purrrt“, who finished third for €6,535. As well as the €300 buy-in Main Event, other festival highlights included a two-day, €25k guaranteed High Roller Event, a €25k guaranteed Mini Main Event and the €2k guarantee #QUEENRULES Ladies’ Event. A total of 600 unique players took part in the festival – including 64 players from Ireland – creating a total prize pool of nearly €200k. There were more than 1,500 tournament entries.

Swedish mum-of-four Noelia Rico beat a 84-entry field to take down the #QUEENRULES Ladies Event. Noelia, 39, has been playing poker for more than 16 years, juggling her passion for the game with raising a large family and her work in social services. She said: “Poker is my hobby but I have won a lot of tournaments over the years including being the short-handed Swedish champion a few years ago. I’m not a big player – I think the most I’ve ever won is $20k. It was great to take this one down though – my first actual trophy!”

The Mini Main event was won by “ImRichAreU18” for €5,262 after he beat a 262-player field while “Peraltiago” took down the High Roller for €8,141. The International Poker Open has been one of Europe’s longest-running and most popular live poker events and has been held annually since 2008. Tournament director O’Hara added: “It was a shame that we couldn’t have a live event this year but Covid-19 restrictions really made it impossible. We’re delighted that there was such a big turnout for our online event though and huge thanks to the amazing Unibet who have been extremely supportive and ensured that IPO 2020 could still go ahead.”

Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet Open’s Head of Events, said: “We’ve been sponsoring the IPO since 2018 so we were delighted that we could step in to help make sure this year’s event happened by hosting it online. We’re now looking forward to the final Unibet Open of the year which comes with a €250,000 Main Event guarantee. The Unibet Open is the flagship event of the €1m guarantee Unibet Online Series running November 22 to December 13.”

To compete in the Unibet Open, or any of Unibet’s other fantastic online tournaments, just set up a Unibet account. It’s easy to do – and you can play via either via the Unibet Poker Client or directly from your browser. See for more details.