The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour found its way back once again to the Luton G Casino for a full week’s worth of busy side events culminating in the £1,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, August 12th-15th. Top honours in this leg went to a familiar face (and voice) on the tournament circuit, Neil ‘Bad Beat’ Channing, who won £64,050 and his first GUKPT Main Event title.
229 players won seats online, found last minute tickets in Luton super-satellites or paid £1,000 the old fashioned way to take their chances at the felt this weekend, and just ten were still there at the start of play on Sunday. Chip leader Neil Channing had a couple of players hot on his heels stackwise – George White, Keith Johnson and Ricky Mackintosh, but the table divide between the haves and the have-nots became apparent quickly. With just 10% of Channing’s starting chips, Victor Ilyukhin had to move early and unfortunately for him it was to the rail in 10th place (although with £4,000).
There were two players making their impressive fifth GUKPT final table here, but neither of them made it much further, Jeff Kimber falling 9th and Joe Grech 8th – both of them running into different opponents’ pocket Aces to leave the final more open. Neil Channing was not to be left with a stagnant stack, however, and busted Les Fenton in 7th after flopping a set of Fives. Helping to drive the action was the unmistakeable voice of Adebayo Odetoyinbo, alternately jousting with Channing, badgering his opponents and apologising to the audience. He doubled through Carlo Citrone after Ricky Mackintosh’s exit in 6th place, changing the dynamic at the table after being short-stacked all day, and it was Citrone who had to accept 5th and £12,600 for making it this far. Another double for Ade courtesy of George White followed, and despite having picked up pocket Aces no fewer than four times during the final, White busted in 4th place, winning £16,000.
Despite holding the solid chip advantage between them (1.5 million or so apiece), Keith Johnson and Neil Channing found it tough to eliminate Odetoyinbo. He made his way back from just 400k to eventually find himself heads up with the only player remaining who could possibly give his table talk a run for its money. Keith Johnson lost a crucial race with pocket Sevens to Channing’s AK, which left him first short, and then shortly out. £28,050 for third place must be some consolation, however. For a glimpse of the final as it played out, complete with in-action pictures, visit http://blog.grosvenorukpokertour.com/?cat=1398 for the live blog.
Heads up play lasted mere minutes, with the same hand which busted Johnson taking down Odetoyinbo (who won £43,500). Channing, with more big slicks than BP was the last player standing, and gave him the GUKPT Luton 2010 title, the trophy, the seat in the Champion of Champions event and £64,050. Channing, the face of Black Belt Poker, eschewed the judo suit in which he’s previously appeared to play, and has proven with just three Main Events left on the calendar that he could beat his record (2nd in the London leg), building a stack early which carried him right through to the end.
Plentiful Side Event Action
Leading up to the Main Event’s dual flights, the side events were peppered liberally with familiar names from the GUKPT circuit, including previous previous GUKPT winner (and Luton Main Event finalist) Jeff Kimber, who won the biggest of the sides, the 94-runner £500 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout, taking down £14,570. He also placed in the £300 Pot Limit Omaha Double Chance event the following day, but the top spot there fell to David Lloyd who beat a field of 65 to claim his £6,250 first prize, with Carol Everton finishing 2nd and James Sullivan 3rd. Prior to that, the week began with a very popular £150 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout which was won by Kishani Mithani who collected £5,170 along with the opening event’s first place.
The Luton menu featured not one but two sides of £100 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout; the first was won by Brijesh Das who beat a slightly smaller field of 91 compared to the second, which saw Gabriel Chrysanthou come out on top having bested 126 opponents.
There was another £100 event at the start of the week which generated a prizepool of £6,600 despite the field size for this one being smaller than its freezout neighbours. The only rebuy event in the festival, Sunday’s event saw the top prize of £2,440 go to Avraham Darvish, with Brijesh Das making another final table appearance and coming in as runner up. Meanwhile Martin Holmes captured the £300 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout, winning just under £10k for his outlasting exactly 100 opponents, and the final event of the week, the £250 NL Bounty tournament was won by Tony Housden for £3,060 (plus whatever he received for his knockouts).
Also featuring in the side event winners’ list from this leg is the present leader in the 2010 race for GUKPT Ranking Points, the dangerous Alli Mallu, who took down the £200 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout bumping his lead to 318 points (ahead of new second place Neil Channing who’s shot up to 245). The race is far from over, however, with the final Summer Series (London and Manchester) at the end of August next up on the schedule.