Peter McAdams has beaten a field of 207 at Manchester’s G Casino to become the first GUKPT champion of 2011 and take down the top prize of £58,100. Among the tough competitors gracing the felt over four days of unremitting poker action were bracelet-winners Steve Jelinek and Lawrence Gosney, EPT champion Will Fry, double GUKPT trophy-hoister Priyan de Mel and several others well qualified in the live arena such as Marty Smyth, Julian Gardner, Karl Mahrenholz and Jeff Kimber.
The final featured an appearance by Kuljinder Sidhu, who won last year’s GUKPT Main Event here at Bury New Road and put in an impressive bid to make it a double, but fell at a late hurdle leaving the door open for a new champion. Unusually for this year’s Tour, the starting flights were split into two separate days, the second flight bringing 138 of the total 207 to the felt. After watching Carl McCarthy, Allan McLean and Andrew Wright top the Day 1A chip counts with over 80,000 each, the second, larger batch of players brought an even higher pace of action and left three players with six-figure stacks in front of the pack as a whole going into Day 2: Dan Brown, Michalis Michael and Michael Leedham.
The sting of being the first out of a Main Event in either flight is mitigated this year by the fact that the first eliminated receives Wild Card entry into each leg’s Champion of Champions’ event – the first being a £10,000 freeroll on the 2nd February for all winners of Manchester’s side and Main Events (including the Online 10% Series) held online on gcasino and bluesq cardrooms (www.gcasino.com/poker or www.bluesq.com/poker ).
The other initial Wild Card seat (given to the player randomly drawn on Table 5, Seat 5) went to Glenn Hopley, who fell a little later on Day 1B as the unpredictable Lawrence Gosney cracked his preflop Kings with Sixes. Last year’s GUKPT Leaderboard Winner David Johnson was busted by virtually the same match-up a little later, his Aces falling to the same under-pair, this time held by Terry Mitford.
Chun Man burst a fast-popping bubble, taking the unpaid 23rd spot after just one hand, running some unlucky Queens into the Kings of Allan McLean and leaving before the suggestion of a saver for the bubble had time to come to a vote. Meanwhile Spencer Lawrence, having spent 17 levels building a big stack saw it suddenly and dramatically destroyed after flopping bottom two pair against Allan McLean, whose broadway draw hit like a tournament-ending hammer and brought Day 2 to a close. McLean now held almost 1.2 million chips, double that of second-placed stack Daniel Charlton.
Rarely does a final start with the table nearly tipping due to the weight of one player’s stack; Simon Cawley, Lawrence Gosney, Matt Waterfall, Peter Mcadams and Osman Mustanoglu all held around 10% of the leader’s total chips. Unsurprisingly, a swift flurry of all-in moves attempted to boost the short stacks into contention for the top spots. Matt Waterfall’s shove with Sevens was unsuccessful (Peter McAdams held Queens), but 2010 Manchester champion Kuljinder Sidhu performed the double-up against McLean, starting a trend which was continued by no fewer than five other short stacks. McLean, however, was to have his bad-beat revenge on Sidhu, calling his all-in with 3-3 vs. Sidhu’s 7-7. Despite Sidhu flopping a seven for a set, four hearts gave one of McLean’s threes the flush and a round of applause congratulated Sidhu for his back-to-back final table appearances.
Lawrence Gosney, scourge of the early days, kept a relatively low profile on the final table until his elimination in 8th place. While he received no action moving in with Aces preflop, his K-T was looked up by Peter McAdams with a suited A-J, making a flush for good measure. The same hand match-up proved once again how fickle the deck can be as George Geary’s A-J fell to the K-J of Dan Charlton, and we were down to five players by the time the final side event (£100 Bounty Booster) kicked off at 5pm. In between these twin confrontations, Osman Mustanoglu finished in 7th place (£7,250) after getting it in with top pair vs. second pair on a Queen-high flop, only to see Charlton’s 7-6 hit running sixes on the turn and river. His misfortune was part of the two Dans’ rise to the lead – in just two levels Dan Charlton had taken the lead and lost it to Dan Brown (AJ to AK) leaving the dynamic for the end game very different from the start of the day.
Charlton’s rollercoaster recovered from its dip at the expense of Simon Cawley whose A-K lost a race against Jacks, leaving him short, and shortly out – in 5th, for £11,400. Charlton, meanwhile, hit the dinner break running with 1.3 million chips and coming back to the table managed to avoid the post-meal skirmishes which saw Peter McAdams and a now-shorter Allan McLean both double through leaving Dan Brown in bad shape and out shortly thereafter in 4th place (£15,000). McAdams now took his turn as a dominant force (all three of the remaining players had now had a turn at the top) and it was Allan McLean who finally dropped from the running after a hard-fought day in 3rd when the pocket threes which had worked so well for him earlier failed to hold against McAdams’ A-9. Left with less than a big blind, McLean was a check-down away from the rail and took home £25,350 for his performance.
Heads up play between Peter McAdams and Dan Charlton lasted mere minutes, but a crowd of onlookers still managed to gather round for the deciding hand – all in on a nine-high flop with McAdams holding pocket Kings and Charlton 9-8. The tiny sprinkling of chips left to Charlton was automatically all-in the next hand and followed the majority of his stack into McAdams’ hands, giving him the title, trophy and £58,100 first prize. After this dramatic burst onto the live scene they may be back, however, for the second leg of the GUKPT to be held in London’s Victoria casino, March 9th-20th; for more details on upcoming schedules, as well as full reports and last year’s archive, please visit http://grosvenorukpokertour.com.