When the GUKPT first released its schedule for season two, the poker world experienced its fair share of raised eyebrows with most puzzled expressions mouthing the word “Where?” in unison before eagerly booting up Googlemap on the PC. But unfamiliar settings and an extra gallon of petrol in the tank didn’t put off a stubborn poker world as a highly respectable 226 made the southerly journey, over 50 more than the Tour’s last outing in Bolton several weeks ago.
Of course, the usual suspects were there on mass, but in particular a host of previous champions that included Dave Clark, Tony Cascarino, Julian Thew, Mike Ellis, Marc Goodwin, and Jerome Bradpiece, not to mention 2007 Manchester champ Dave Colclough who crawled in with a face paler than snow and a stomach feeling besmirched by the festivities of the night prior. Also present were a few unexpected faces from overseas, Woody Deck, Cristiano Blanco, Cheryl Pulver and EPT Dortmund winner Andreas Hoivold (pictured) all making rare appearances on British soil.
Amid the hustle and bustle of last minute sign ups, the starting whistle sounded and we were off with all participants eying up the £68,350 first prize with the hunger of a rabid wolverine at feeding time. Although Steve Bovis, Julian Thew and Sam Trickett suffered early departures, it was Rumit Somaiya who fell first. Living up to his unfortunate moniker of ‘One Hand’, Rumit slipped up on the very first hand he played as his pocket kings ran headfirst into the bullets of Najam Qureshi and received no further help. Also exiting early doors was ‘Jaffacake’ Jeff Kimber. He flopped a straight, turned a flush draw, but felt the wrath of a set of aces that filled up on the river to send he 2007 Heads Up Champion hurtling to the rail quicker than a pack of dogs on a three-legged feline.
Not all players were floundering in Thanet, as the inflated stacks of Paul McIntyre and Tony Hardy proved. Woody Deck was also flourishing during the opening levels, and even enjoyed time at the top, but after his aces were cruelly outdrawn by Mark Friedman’s (right) pocket jacks for a - cue Eric Hall - monster monster pot, he departed soon after and the chip-leading baton was swiftly delivered into the palm of the American. Glen Ashworth was similarly godlike in his ascent to the top as he eliminated two birds with one stone, his pocket rockets launching into the combined faces of Steve Francis and Alin Torjoc whose kings and queens respectively were close, but no cigar.
However, the true divine force of day one was Mike Moore. As he won every showdown in sight, we thought the Messiah had finally arrived, and by the end of the night he boasted a mammoth 129,050 stack. One man who felt the full wrath of Moore’s mystical magic (hey, that alliterates!) was lovable rogue Ian Woodley. In the final few minutes of play, Woodley glanced down at one ace and shoved his chips across the line, only to be called by Moore’s pocket tens. Much to his elation, Woodley revealed a second ace, but the American Airlines weren’t enough as Moore spiked a ten to send the Londoner home.
Day 1b was so tame in comparison to its predecessor that Glen Ashworth’s chip-leading stack of 56,575 could only warrant seventh spot on the combined leader board, Mike Moore, Jonathan Gale, Jamie Brown, Dave Penly, Mike Tse and Paul McIntyre all accumulating more the night prior.
One man who was a survivor in more ways than one was Kiem Huynh (left). A sufferer of cerebral palsy, young Huynh was a joy to watch as he took a dangerously low, but still workable 14,275 stack into day two. But although heavily supported from the rail, Huynh was to progress no further as his K-9 ran into the pockets aces of Kevin Terry to see him fall frustratingly short of the money.
As Jonothon Butters, Kay Bushby and Jack Powell joined Huynh on the bench, it was James Browning who began to shine, the Poker Night Live star triumphing with aces versus queens and jacks to see his stack jump to the 150,000 mark. Meanwhile, Moore was busy extending his lead, his stack reaching the dizzy nose-bleeding heights of 162,000 and looking almost unsurpassable in its magnitude.
But although Moore wore dollar signs in his eyes, it was Jamie Brown who truly took the event by the scruff of the neck. On a rainbow Q-3-3-5-A board, Brown won a gargantuan pot courtesy of Praz Bansi whose A-3 was pipped at the post by Brown’s pocket fives. Whilst Bansi exited a hand or two later, Brown amassed a line of chips that made the Great Wall of China look diminutive. A quick tally confirmed everyone’s fears, Brown’s stack having elevated to 302,700 with James Keys his nearest rival on a paltry-in-comparison 140,400.
As Andrew Clark dodged the bubble with the nimbleness of an Olympic gymnast, we began to lose soldiers at a more rapid pace as the likes of Bernard Litman, Martin Frey and Stuart Nash were all shot down in the money. With Liam Pettman’s A-K out-coin-flipped by Dave Penly’s knaves which found a third member on the flop, we had our final table:
Seat 1: Karl Mahrenholz -- 128,600
Seat 2: Paul Rigg -- 409,600
Seat 3: Jamie Brown -- 485,800
Seat 4: Simon Trumper -- 50,600
Seat 5: Dave Penly -- 352,700
Seat 6: Mike Moore -- 280,000
Seat 7: Paul McIntyre -- 146,500
Seat 8: William Martin -- 233,800
Seat 9: Andrew Teng -- 178,300
Commencing proceedings as the shortest stack, Simon Trumper (left) was in desperate need of a double through which looked odds on favourite as his pocket eights matched up against the inferior K-4 of Jamie Brown. Sadly for the Dusk Till Dawner, the Poker Gods didn’t agree and duly dealt out a second king in the window.
Moments later, we lost Karl Marhrenholz, Mantis forced to wait another month before surpassing his achievements of the inaugural event. With A-J against Paul Rigg’s A-K, his future looked bleak, and the board delivered no surprises to see him exit in eighth.
With Paul McIntyre (A-3 vs. A-K), Martin William (Q-Js vs. A-T) and Dave Penly (A-J vs. Q-Q) exiting rather unspectacularly in seventh to fifth spots respectively, we were left with just four poker Trojans:
Jamie Brown -- 1.25 million
Andrew Teng -- 380k
Mike Moore -- 323k
Paul Rigg -- 280k
With Brown in seemingly invincible mood, it was he who finished off Paul Rigg, Brown’s K-T holding up against Rigg’s Q-T on a ten high flop. And when Brown defeated Moore with J-T versus fives, the youngster found himself heads-up for a GUKPT title with a 1.7 million to 460,000 chip lead.
Naturally, Andrew Teng, had other ideas, and with the never-say-die attitude of an unflushable spider, doubled up not once, but twice to take over the chip lead, the latter seeing his A-K survive a raggy board against Brown’s inferior A-5. Moments later, it was all over, Teng’s pocket eights holding up against pocket fours to earn the online pro the esteemed title of GUKPT Thanet champion for 2008.
Perhaps better known as tufat23, 23-year Teng is a formidable force at the virtual felt with a highly credible reputation on the 2+2 forums, not to mention a tutorial video on CardRunners.com. With numerous online tournament victories under his belt, this was Teng’s first result on the live scene, but one that will cement his status as a fierce player both online and live. Good Lord, is nowhere safe these days?!
1st Andrew Teng -- £68,380
2nd Jamie Brown -- £39,550
3rd Mike Moore -- £28,250
4th Paul Rigg -- £19,210
5th Dave Penly -- £14,690
6th William Martin -- £11,300
7th Paul McIntyre -- £9,040
8th Karl Mahrenholz -- £6,780
9th Simon Trumper -- £5,650