Londoner Andrew Couldridge wakes up today as the newest Pokerstars UKIPT champion. He topped a field of 650 in Nottingham to take home the £80,000 first prize, along with a coveted seat to EPT London valued at £5,250 and the Main Event trophy to put on his mantelpiece.
The Pokerstars.com UKIPT Nottingham festival, which took place between the 12th May and the 16th May at the renowned Dusk Till Dawn poker club, was originally scheduled to run to today (17th May) but after a large number of eliminations on Day 2 of the Main Event, Tournament Director Toby Stone made an executive decision to reduce the tournament to 5 days rather than 6 by playing to a set number of players left rather than a set number of levels. This allowed the Main Event Final Table to be run on Sunday rather than Monday, a decision rewarded by a large spectator presence which provided a scintillating and electric atmosphere all day. The decision to change the tournament and the festival dates was also discussed at length on many poker sites, with players commenting on how the decision "showed common sense" and praising Stone for being able to make that decision whilst the tournament was in play.
The atmosphere was jovial as the 8 remaining players began their final day's play, with the £80,000 first prize in sight for all of them. Newcastle's Gareth Walker was the first to be eliminated, but by 5pm, there were still 5 players left, with Nick Gavriel and Piotr Majewski the unlucky fallers. When the clock hit Level 29, it just seemed to spark the players into action, most notably eventual winner Couldridge who took his stack from 1m to 6m in 2 hands whilst eliminating both Graham Giles and Owen Robinson in consecutive hands. This left Couldridge, Oliver Schaffmann and Andros Spyrou to battle for the gold, but Schaffmann eliminated fellow short stack Spyrou in 3rd to go heads up with Couldridge but facing a 2 to 1 chip deficit. Schaffmann won the first 2 hands heads up to reduce the deficit, but the 3rd hand saw Couldridge claim victory when he hit running queens on the turn and river to cruelly outdraw Schaffmann's pocket nines with his and take the title.
The Main Event wasn’t the only tournament in the festival, as each day had at least 1 side event, with some days having 4 separate tournaments running at the same time. Both Day 1’s had £100 freezeouts, with Huang Guoxun taking home £4,750 on the Wednesday and Dan Stancer taking home £4,650 on the Thursday. On the Friday, the side event was a first for both the UKIPT and Dusk Till Dawn, a £200 six-max freezeout over 2 days. This was won by none other than Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly, who beat a strong field of 177 to take home a little over £11,000.
There was another first on the Saturday, with UKIPT and Dusk Till Dawn hosting their first ever Ladies event, a £100 freezeout. 40 ladies paid the £100 buy in, with Firhinia “Mary” Murray besting a field including EPT host Michelle Orpe and snowboarding phenomenon Zoe Gillings, taking home the £1,680 first prize. Saturday also saw a £300 2-day event, and the final table for this was streamed with a 15 minute delay online with new software that detects a player’s hole cards at the table.
Sunday saw the festival wind down with a £150 freezeout won by Margarita Mouyia and a £50 bounty event, where 6 players including Team PokerStars Pro Julian Thew, boxer Carl Froch and Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong had £300 bounties on their heads. Thew had the shame of being the first bounty to exit, whilst Yong managed to survive to the final table, narrowly beating UK Pokernews editor Barry Carter] into 3rd, with Carter finishing 4th. Sharon Wooldridge was the last player standing at the end and she took home £2,650.
Next up is UKIPT Killarney which runs from 24th to 27th July, and the buy in for the main event is €1,100. You can qualify exclusively for this on Pokerstars.
1 - Andrew Couldridge, United Kingdom, £80,000 (+ £5,300 package to EPT London)
2 - Oliver Schaffmann, Germany, PokerStars player, £46,700
3 - Andros Spyrou, United Kingdom, £30,000
4 - Owen Robinson, Ireland, £21,400
5 - Graham Giles, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, £16,500
6 - Piotr Majewski, Poland, PokerStars qualifier, £13,200
7 - Nicholas Gavriel, United Kingdom, £9,900
8 - Gareth Walker, United Kingdom, £7,600
9 - Mark Aldridge, United Kingdom, £5,300