Kevin Allen Stages Epic Comeback to Win the GUKPT Grand Final

Kevin Allen

The legendary “chip and a chair” story of Jack Strauss is one that everyone in the poker world is familiar with but in years to come they may talk about Kevin Allen’s remarkable comeback from seven big blinds to win the 2013 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Grand Final, which boasted one of the toughest Day 3 fields ever assembled in the UK.

Allen started Day 3 with 91,000 chips and was 13th out of the 13 remaining players. With the blinds at 6,000/12,000, nobody could have predicted that the popular dad of three would go all the way and bank the £158,700 first place prize.

The final day of the tournament commenced at 13:00 and within five minutes Allen’s comeback had started. The action passed around to Paul Hardwidge on the button and he shipped in his 12 big blind stack. Allen called off his remaining chips from the small blind with {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} to discover he was against {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}. The {j-Spades}{2-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} flop put Allen in front and when the turn and river fell {9-Spades} and {2-Diamonds} Allen’s double up was completed, but he still had plenty of work to do in this stellar field.

Hardwidge would bust shortly after Allen doubled through him, before Allen doubled again when he found {a-Hearts}{a-Clubs} when former Unibet Open London champion Pratik Ghatge held {q-Spades}{q-Hearts}. The aces held and suddenly Allen had more than half of a million chips in his arsenal and started to look like a real threat.

Nicholas Meng crashed out of the tournament on the one-hour mark and was followed to the rail by last year’s champion Sam Grafton. Grafton lost a large pot a few hands previously and his demise was complete when his {k-Spades}{k-Diamonds} were cracked by the {a-Spades}{10-Diamonds} of Matt Davenport.

Twenty minutes later and the final table was set when European Poker Loutraki champion Zimnan Ziyard moved all-in for 130,000 chips (blinds 8,000/16,000/2,000a) with {k-Spades}{6-Clubs} and found a caller in the shape of Scott Margerson who held {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs}. Ziyard caught a six on the flop of the {6-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{2-Spades}{4-Clubs} board, but couldn’t find any more outs and busted in 10th place.

2013 GUKPT Grand Final: Final Table Seat Draw

1Kevin Allen450,000
2Richard Kellett2,300,000
3Ben Jackson450,000
4Will Kassouf490,000
5Matt Davenport820,000
6Scott Margerson750,000
7Pratik Ghatge370,000
8Thomas Bichon1,020,000
9Rudolf Fourie750,000

Within 10 minutes of the final table getting underway Ghatge was eliminated. Richard Kellett, who started Day 3 as the chip leader, opened to 32,000. The action passed around to Ghatge in the small blind and he moved all-in. Thomas Bichon was the big blind and he snap-called. Kellett folded and the cards were flipped onto their backs, Ghatge showing {a-Spades}{k-Spades} and Bichon the {k-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}. A board reading {3-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Clubs} was not what Ghatge was hoping for and he busted in ninth place.

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It took almost 3.5 hours for the next player to head for the rail, that player being Will Kassouf. Allen called Kassouf’s 65,000 opening raise and then checked to him on a {q-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{a-Hearts} flop. Kassout fired a continuation bet of 115,000 at the pot and then called when Allen shipped his entire stack into the middle. Kassouf called with {q-Hearts}{9-Hearts} and was in front of the {k-Hearts}{10-Hearts} of Allen. The {5-Spades} failed to change anything but the {8-Hearts} river improved Allen to the nut flush and resigned Kassouf to eighth place money.

The wait for another exit was nowhere near as long as previously, taking just 30 minutes. Thomas Bichon opened to 60,000, South Africa’s Rudolf Fourie moved all in and Bichon called, showing the {a-Hearts}{k-Spades} as he did so. Bichon’s “Big Slick” was up against {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs} for a classic coinflip. Bichon took the lead on the {a-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} flop and stayed ahead on the {8-Spades} turn. However, the {q-Spades} river was one of two cards he did not want to see as it gifted Fourie a set of queens and sent Bichon to the rail.

Six became five with the elimination of Kellett. Allen opened the betting, but after seeing Kellett three-bet and Davenport cold four-bet all in, he soon folded. Kellett did not fold, he called, and showed {a-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}. Davenport turned over {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts} and when the five community cards ran out {5-Clubs}{k-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{6-Hearts} it was game over for Kellett.

Almost immediately after Kellett’s exit, Margerson followed him to the sidelines; Davenport again dealing the damage. Davenport opened to 80,000 and then called when Margerson shoved for 454,000 in total. Margerson was ahead, his [KsTh[ better preflop than the {j-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} of his opponent. It didn’t stay that way for long as the board four flushed with clubs to improve Davenport to a flush and leave Margerson wondering what could have been.

Earlier in the week, UK & Ireland PokerNews wrote about Ben Jackson’s new sponsorship deal and said that he had not cashed since April after playing a much reduced schedule. That’s all changed now with Jackson finishing fourth here for a cool £41,200. Jackson’s tournament ended when he moved all in with {a-Spades}{q-Diamonds} and was extremely unfortunate to run into the {k-Diamonds}{k-Clubs} of Davenport. The board ran out {q-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{10-Clubs}{10-Spades} ending Jackson’s hopes of becoming the tournament’s champion.

Three-handed play lasted over three hours, with the chip lead swapping hands several times. Davenport ran the worst during this timeframe and came undone when Allen put him all in from the small blind and Davenport called off his last four big blinds with what turned out ot be {9-Hearts}{7-Hearts}. Allen showed {a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} and when the dealer had finished spreading the community cards they read {3-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{j-Clubs}{10-Hearts} and Allen’s ace-high was good.

The chip stacks going into heads-up were almost even, Fourie leading by the narrow margin of 3.7 million to Allen’s 3.6 million. First blood went to Allen who then started to grind Fourie down, although Fourie did sneak the occasional three-bet shove in to keep Allen in his sights.

Then at 02:25 on Monday morning it was all over. Allen raised to 320,000, Fourie moved all in for 2.3 million and Allen called. Allen’s {k-Diamonds}{q-Spades} was in front of Fourie’s {j-Spades}{8-Spades} and stayed that way despite a scary looking {5-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{9-Spades} flop. The {4-Clubs} was the turn and the {3-Hearts} the river, Allen’s king-high won the hand, the tournament and the £158,700 first place prize. What a comeback!

2013 GUKPT Grand Final: Final Table Results

1stKevin Allen£158,700
2ndRudolph Fourie£105,800
3rdMatt Davenport£70,600
4thBen Jackson£41,200
5thScott Margerson£31,700
6thRichard Kellett£25,900
7thThomas Bichon£20,000
8thWill Kassouf£15,600
9thPratik Ghatge£11,000

Congratulations to Kevin Allen, a worthy champion and a top bloke to boot. This is Allen’s second victory of the year and his second of over £100,000 after he won The Monte Carlo at Dusk Till Dawn in April for £120,000.

That is it for the 2013 GUKPT season and the popular tour now takes a few months off before returning to The Vic February 2-9 for the first leg of the 2014 season. Check out the full 2014 GUKPT schedule here.

Lead image courtesy of the GUKPT Blog

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