The 8th leg of the 2010 GUKPT, the penultimate of this year’s tour, brought an extra buzz to the always-popular G Casino at the Sandcastle in Blackpool. Hundreds of players tried their luck in both the £1,000 Main Event and nine side tournaments, awarding more than £465,000 in prize money over the full festival week.
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This leg of the GUKPT was a poker series of extremes, from the large field sizes competing over the £100 No Limit Hold’em freezeouts (176 and 140) to the very short amount of time it took to crown the Main Event winner on the third day. Tables were turned, in more ways than one; as the winner of the Main Event went on to earn enough points to propel him above Alli Mallu’s 388 – to the top of the GUKPT Leaderboard and into serious contention for the £20,000 first prize which comes with the GUKPT Player of the Year title!
That winner was David Johnson, the last to take his seat for Day Three, and the last player standing after the swift final battle had sent nine others to the rail. He took home £67,750 after besting a field of 246, including tough heads up opposition in the form of Richard ‘Strummer9’ Herbert. A succession of big hands ran into bigger, with few deck-related upsets to stop the steady stream of finalists to the cash desk. Kevin Parkes was the first to be eliminated, running into Andy Bradshaw’s pocket Queens, while the same hand proved deadly rather than helpful to Lee Taylor soon thereafter. Ron “Vinnie” Musson was Taylor’s eliminator, his AK bumping him up to chip leader, outstripping Herbert, Bradshaw and start-of-day favourite Jack Ellwood.
Ellwood never found the momentum to regain the lead, instead standing by as Todd Wood ran Tens into Aces in 8th place, and Rob Boon’s big slick failed to outdraw Musson’s pocket Jacks. The final table was suddenly short-handed and it looked like the dinner break might be a permanent affair if they kept up the pace. As it was, just three players still had (pretty even) chips at the break, all having passed the million-chip mark. Johnson busted Andy Bradshaw with pocket Kings and Herbert took out a dwindled Ellwood with Queens. Dylan Randles, the start-of-day short stack; finally lost a crucial all-in, moving in with A-4 and running into Musson’s pocket Jacks – his £17,850 prize money a reward for his tenacious hold on his tournament life throughout Day Three.
Three-way action saw leader Richard Herbert pull even further away from his pair of opponents, taking a chunk from Vinnie Musson before finishing him off with pocket Sevens. However, despite a near two to one chip lead heads up he was not able to finish the final battle ahead. Less than half an hour later, a big shove (uncalled) from David Johnson had turned the tables giving him the chip advantage when both stacks went in for the final time. Johnson had flopped top pair vs. Herbert’s second pair and held to secure what must be one of the GUKPT’s swiftest ever final table victories. To glimpse the action as it happened, check out the live blog on www.gukpt.com.
With a prize pool of nearly a quarter of a million pounds, the Main Event was the richest tournament of the week, but there were very good returns in store for those who won the many-tabled side events. Arshad Hussain won £5,500 for defeating 122 players in the opening £150 NL Hold’em freezeout, while the £200 freezeout saw 211 runners compete for the £11,830 top prize, which went to Andrew Purser in the end. The bumper crop continued, with the two £100 freezeouts being taken down by Steven Heron and Jarrod Hollingdrake – the latter winning his £4,150 after a marathon one-dayer which ended up seeing the morning sun rise over the sea. Derek Kavanagh sneaked into five figures for his top spot in the £300 NL Hold’em freezeout, while Mohammed Kazi won £16,170 after beating 105 other players in the £500 freezeout.