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Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Francis Lee

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The 10th leg of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) was at the seaside town of Blackpool, the last leg before the grand final to be held at the Victoria Casino London commencing on the 29th November. 350 entrants started out this event, all gunning for the £109,000 first place prize and the £3,000 final table seat at the grand final. When we were left with the final nine contestants to battle it out on the final table, the chip rankings leader board was as follows.

Final Table chip Rankings:

  • 1st Paul Murrell £691,000
  • 2nd Neil Channing £547,000
  • 3rd Ben Vinson £483,000
  • 4th Mike Williams £481,000
  • 5th Paul Bracken £460,000
  • 6th Paul Gardner £323,000
  • 7th Leo Kam £199,000
  • 8th Ben Herron £179,000
  • 9th Lee Biddulph £163,000

On the very first hand of play on the final table Leo Kam made an All In move, over the top of Mike Williams £35,000 raise with :ah :kh Williams was happy to call revealing pocket Kings and looked favourite to take the first pot and the first elimination. The board came down :3d :qh :9c :4s :9s missing both players handing Williams the pot. Leo Kam was left to head for the rail to collect his £8,800 9th place prize.

Only two hand later the two short stacked players Lee Biddulph and Ben Herron, locked horns moving All In pre Flop. Biddulph had Herron covered when the chip counts were completed by the ,he also found himself in a dominant position when the cards weere turn over having :ah :ks against :ac :qc The final board came down :8h :8d :7d :ad :5s giving Biddulph the pot with his two pair King high kicker beating Heron’s the two pair Queen high Kicker.

Play slowed down from this point with most pots ending before or after the flop had been dealt. Lee Biddulph early win didn’t help him much as during this period his chip stack had been blinded down to just £168,000. He made his move All In from the small blind with just :qd :7s after everyone folded round to him. Unfortunately for Biddulph his timing couldn’t have been any worse as Paul Murrell was in the big blind sitting on pocket Aces and instantly called. Biddulph’s tournament ended after pocket Aces held up with the board came down :2h :4c :8h :2s :3c

Ben Vison was leading the chip rankings at this point and extended his lead by eliminating Mike Williams out in 6th place. Vison made the first bet to £76,000 with :ad :kc Williams moved All In for another £370,000 and found his :ah :9d dominated when Vison made the call. Vison paired his King with the first card out, and with the final board showing :ks :10h :5s :10d :8h this was enough to take the pot.

Neil Channing on the short sack was the next player to be eliminated shortly after. Holding :kh :10h he moved All In over the top of Paul Murrell’s raise. Murrell called with pocket Eights which won the pot with the board coming down :3h :2c :3c :4h :qc

This win had moved Paul Murrell closer in the chip rankings to Ben Vison having £1million in chips to Vison’s £1.3 million. Paul Bracken and Paul Gardner were both on around the £550,000 mark and a double up for either player would put them in with a chance to win.

Things didn’t stay like this for long as Paul Bracken increased his chip stack to over £1 million in chips at the expense of Paul Murrell. Murrells demise came when he locked horns with Bracken again, moving All In after the Flop came down :4s :8c :9h Murrell had :9d :6d holding top pair but was unaware Bracken also had a Nine but with a King kicker holding :kd :9c Murrell needed a miracle to escape this unscathed, but the :4c on the Turn and :qc on the River confirmed his exit in 4th place.

Three handed play didn’t last very long as Bracken extended his chip lead by knocking Ben Vison out in 3rd place. Bracken made the first raise to £115,000 with :ad :8d Vison raised it up to £400,000 with :jh :10d Bracken quickly moved All In and Vison called. A good Flop came down for Bracken :8s :ac :ks giving him two pair, but Vison had outs hoping to catch a Queen for a straight. Vison’s tournament ended with the :4s and :kc coming down on the last two cards leaving him to collect £38,850 in 3rd place.

Paul Bracken had £2.1 million in chips going into the heads up showdown against Paul Gardner with £1.3 million. We didn’t see much action on the first few hand as both players sized each other up. The final hand came when both players limped into the pot and the Flop came down :10s :9h :6h Bracken opened the betting to £110,000, Gardner raised it to £310,000 and Bracken moved All In. Gardner calls with :10d :5d holding top pair but ran into Bracken’s :9d :6s having two pair. The :qc on the Turn meant Gardner needed a Ten, Five, or Queen to stay alive. Neither of these came as the :7d on the River confirmed Brackens win collecting the £109,000 first place prize and a seat at the main event in London next month.

Final Standings:

  • 1st Paul Bracken £109,700
  • 2nd Paul Gardner £56,500
  • 3rd Ben Vinson £38,850
  • 4th Paul Murrell £28,250
  • 5th Neil Channing £21,200
  • 6th Mike Williams £17,650
  • 7th Lee Biddulph £14,100
  • 8th Ben Herron £10,600
  • 9th Leo Kam £8,800

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