While the sun was shining outside, it was raining value inside Dusk Till Dawn this week as Black Belt Poker returned to the East Midlands armed with a $75,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Nottingham Live II attracted 258 hopefuls over the weekend, but it wasn't enough to reach the guarantee as players were treated to a whopping $23,400 overlay.
After an exciting final day, it was Kevin Williams who prospered most from the added value, defeating Jack Sambrook in a short-but-sweet heads-up battle. In doing so, he scooped the $15,000 first prize as well as a big, shiny trophy.
Williams' achievement was even more admirable when glancing at the field, a fearsome lineup that included Neil Channing, Richard Ashby, Marty Smyth, Paul Jackson, James Keys and reigning Nottingham Live Champion Stuart Hyson.
The tournament had a fun atmosphere, thanks in part to Sam Razavi and Babis Lappas who sponsored six players into the event with the promise of a £2,000 Vegas package if they captured the title. The T&Cs were simple: 50% of their winnings would be donated to Cancer Research and any brave volunteers had to compete in full clown garb.
Kerryjane Craigie kindly donated her entire $200 winnings to the cause after creeping into the money, but last clown standing was Shane Norman who made the final second in chips. He was joined by Black Belt Poker sponsored pros Jerome Bradpiece and Kevin Williams.
The final table was a brisk affair, with Bradpiece the first domino to fall when his K-Q failed to outgun the A-K of Shane Norman. He was followed by Luke Bindon in eighth whose K-J was out-flipped by Chris Keyworth's 7-7.
Perhaps the most pivotal hand of the final was played out between Williams and Russ Swift. After Williams opened and Swift defended his big blind, the latter check-raised the flop before leading out on the turn and moving all in on the river. Despite his fears, Williams made the call with and was shown an inferior to scoop both the pot and the scalp.
Sixth place went to Norman, whose downfall witnessed more drama than an Eastenders omnibus. First, he doubled up Heap in a dramatic hand with A-A versus 7-7 (despite flopping a third bullet!) and then sang his swan song with Q-6 versus the 7-6 of David Craigon on a 5-8-6 flop when the river came a 4. Nevertheless, his efforts netted Cancer Research $1,900.
Two more causalities were forthcoming. Keyworth was unlocked in fifth when his flopped flush draw failed to improve against Williams' K-K. Matthew Heap was then added to the rail in fourth when his short stack push with was looked up by the of Williams.
Williams then took out his third consecutive opponent, this time David Craigon whose 9-6 was unraveled by the lowly 6-3. A crab on the river brought us to our final two players with Jack Sambrook the underdog and facing a 1.4 to 2.5 million chip disadvantage.
Those getting the popcorn in for a long heads-up battle were to be left disappointed; on the very first hand, Sambrook check-raised all in on the turn of board with , but was met by a call from Williams who tabled . No change on the river and the fat lady belted out her opening chord.
A Blue Belt on Black Belt Poker, Williams won no fewer than three Samurai seats worth $250+25 over the weekend, two for eliminating bounties Neil Channing and Peter Wigglesworth, and another for placing in the money. He also became the first bounty to win a Black Belt Live title.
"The inhabitants of my trophy cabinet have been a little lonely of late," commented Williams, "so I'm glad they've finally got a new friend. I was disappointed at how tough the final table was, but now I can laugh at everyone who used up their one time in the Euro Millions lottery."
Nottingham Live II may have reached its exciting conclusion, but the Black Belt tournament bus will back later this month. On Thursday, August 30, the Samurai returns for its second outing, along with a $250+25 buy-in and $10,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Final Table Results
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