Sam Macdonald has won the Sky Poker Tour Grand Final in Nottingham, besting a 286-strong field to get his hands on the coveted Sky Poker Tour trophy and £16,572 in prize money.
If word around the campfire is true, Macdonald only played in the Sky Poker Tour Grand Final after missing his train to Newcastle where he was going to play in the UKIPT Main Event. It appears Lady Luck was shining down on him on this occasion as his missed train resulted in him taking down his second major live title.
The nine-handed final table was set just after 18:30 on Sunday (Day 2) and along with Macdonald there were two other big names present. Ryan Spittles, known as Scotty77, is a Sky Poker resident pro player and Paul “Action” Jackson is a name that needs no introduction at all. As the final table began, this is how they lined up.
Almost immediately after the final table began Simon Allen was busted out. He three-bet shoved over the top of Christopher Cox's opening raise with only to run into a dominating . A queen on the flop was more than enough to see off Allen and the tournament was down to eight players.
Cox was the next casualty of the final table his falling foul of the of James Howard when the flop came down with two kings on it. Shortly after, the dangerous Spittles was sent to the rail. He called Macdonald's shove with on an board only to see Macdonald had flopped the nut flush with his .
Niraj Shourie was the next player to bust out, again at the hands of Howard. Howard opened with a standard raise, Macdonald smooth-called only the see Shourie three-bet all-in for 500,000 from the small blind. Howard stuck in a raise worth an additional 1,000,000 chips and Macdonald got out of the way. Howard turned over ace-king and needed to hit as he was up against a pair of sixes. Hit he did as a king landed on the turn and the Sky Poker Tour Grand Final was down to just five players.
Five became four when Sam Shackleton was eliminated in a reversal of the previous bust out! Howard opened for a raise and then called when Shackleton committed his entire stack. Shackleton showed ace-king and was up against Howard's pocket sixes, which held, to leave play three handed.
At this point the remaining three players discussed a deal for the remaining £50,000 of the prize pool. Howard held 4,130,000 chips to Jackson's 2,330,000 and Macdonald's 2,120,000. Eventually they decided to award £19,000 to Howard, leaving £15,000 to both Jackson and Macdonald, with the eventual winner taking home an additional £1,572, the trophy and bragging rights.
Almost immediately after the deal had been struck Jackson was sent to the rail – great business by him! Again ace-king was involved, this time it was in Jacson's ahnd and it failed to hit against the pocket fours of the in-form Howard.
Howard's luck ran out as soon as the heads-up battle started. Macdonald doubled up with versus Howard's when he flopped a deuce (Howard also flopped a seven) and then caught trip deuces on the river. Then Macdonald's ace-king prevailed against the dominated ace-seven to leave Howard with just two big blinds.
Two big blinds became slightly more substantial when he doubled up with king-queen to his opponent's nine-seven but it was all over when Howard shoved with and was snapped off by the king-queen of Macdonald. Neither player improved on a board and Macdonald was crowned 2011/12 Sky Poker Tour Grand Final Champion.
Sky Poker Tour Grand Final Final Table Payouts
*denotes deal struck when three-handed
Thanks to the Sky Poker forum for the data used in creating this article