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[Interview] Dermot Blain on winning Irish Player of the Year, EPT PLO event

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In his first year as a Full Tilt Poker UKIPT Tour Ambassador, Dermot Blain was a consistent force on the live grind. The young Irishman recorded cashes in Prague, London, Dublin, Las Vegas, and Montreal, placing him atop the GPI rankings for Irish players on the year.

Blain cashed in two UKIPT High Rollers in 2013, in Galway and in Nottingham, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively for five-figure scores. Those, part of ten total GPI-ranked cashes, earned him the runaway title for the second time in as many years. Blain made his mark on the awards ceremony by missing it — he was busy taking down a €1,100 Pot-Limit Omaha side event at EPT Deauville for €20,200.

The Full Tilt Poker Blog caught up with Blain in between tournament stops, at home, in Ireland.

Congratulations are in order, on the PLO win and on earning Irish Player of the Year honours.

Thank you.

Dermot Blain

Dermot Blain in the zone

Were you aware where you stood in the Player of the Year rankings during the year?

Yes, I won it last year and since it is now generally used as a gauge within the poker world, I had been keeping an eye on it throughout the year.

To be honest, it was a pretty quiet year for Irish players live, all the success has come online.

The ceremony last year was pretty cool, so I was looking forward to going. The GPI throws a good party!

Top 5, Irish Player of the Year

#1 — Dermot Blain, 430 pts
#2 — Peter Murphy, 260 pts
#3 — Marc MacDonnell, 236 pts
#4 — John O’Shea, 235 pts
#5 — Sean Prendiville, 227 pts

Ten live cashes for GPI points is pretty solid, do any of them stand out?

To be honest, I had a pretty frustrating year.

I had more bubbles and near-misses this year than any other. Solid is fair assessment, since I was pretty much break even. But the highlight would probably be my fourth at the High Roller in Galway.

It was not a massive score, €11,000. But it was my first festival as a Full Tilt Poker Tour Ambassador, so it was nice to get off to a good start.

At the conclusion of the year, you had 430 points to 2nd place Peter Murphy’s 260. You really set yourself apart, the top five consisting of other talented Irish professionals. Any bragging rights there?

I actually live with Peter. So a little bit!

Honestly, EPTs are my bread and butter and I am probably the only Irish player consistently playing all the events. So that gives me the best shot.

I would definitely love if someone was to challenge me in the next year. Competition is always good.

There is plenty of talent there, they just don’t travel as much I guess. This year it would be great if someone got off to a great start. I think the extra motivation going into the second half of the year would be great.

So what tournament are you looking forward to most in 2014?

Off the top of my head, the best I would say is UKIPT Dublin because it’s home court. I hear great things from last year about UKIPT Marbella.

EPT Prague… number one would be EPT Barcelona… I am looking forward to that more than Vegas! The WSOP $10k PLO event is special, obviously the WSOP Main Event is as well.

Full Tilt Poker’s Montreal Festival, with a million dollar guarantee, was pretty special this year. There was a freshness and a carefree attitude there that I had not seen in a long time.

The card room [Playground Poker Club] is also the best I have seen. I would love to go back there again.

Look for Part Two with Dermot on Thursday, here on the Full Tilt Poker blog.