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Rhys Jones Wins the 2014 GUKPT Manchester Main Event

Rhys Jones

Rhys Jones secured the first major live title of his career on Sunday night when he took down the 2014 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Manchester Main Event. Jones’ long journey back down South was made all the more easier by the £42,000 he secured for his victory.

Day 3 of the £1,080 buy-in Main Event kicked off at 1:05pm with the nine finalists in their seats ready to go to battle. All eyes were on chip leader Simon Deadman as he attempted to add an outright win to the trio of runner-up finishes he has had so far in 2014. As the tournament director requested the dealer to “shuffle up and deal,” the players were seated as follows:

2014 GUKPT Manchester Main Event Final Table

1Karl Mahrenholz575,500
2Simon Deadman772,000
3Graeme Crozier299,000
4Richard Kellett228,000
5Rhys Jones668,000
6Steve Warburton543,500
7Dahe Liu278,500
8Mark Harding120,500
9Nathan Jackson418,000

It took almost a full hour of poker before the first casualty of the final table was confirmed. Mark Harding started the day with the shortest stack and he tried desperately to claw his way back into contention. He looked set for a much needed double when he got his chips into the middle of a {6-Clubs}{J-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} board with {A-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} against the {A-Spades}{9-Clubs} of Nathan Jackson, but the {9-Hearts} on the river improved Jackson to two pair and resigned Harding to a ninth place finish.

Another 20 minutes passed before Graeme Crozier was heading for the exits. Having lost all but 20,000 chips when his {A-Hearts}{K-Spades} failed to get there against Richard Kellett’s {8-Spades}{8-Diamonds} Crozeir had his work cut out for him. He shipped his last 20,000 into the middle with what turned out to be {6-Hearts}{2-Clubs} and was looked up by Steve Warburton and his {J-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}. Neither player improved on the {3-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{7-Spades} board and Crozier busted.

Next to go was Poker Encore owner and all round good egg, Karl Mahrenholz. The board read {A-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} and in a flurry of activity, Mahrenholz was all-in with {K-Hearts}{J-Clubs} and Jones called with {A-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}. The {8-Clubs} river completed the hand and Mahrenholz was sent on his way in seventh place.

Seven became six at around 6:30pm when the action folded to Warburton in the small blind. Warburton, a cash game regular at the G Casino Manchester, set Dahe Liu all-in for his tournament life. Liu decided to take a chance with his {A-Spades}{5-Clubs} and discovered he was in a coinflip against Warburton’s {2-Spades}{2-Clubs}. It was a coinflip that went Warburton’s way as the five community cards fell {6-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} to gift Warburton an unnecessary set of deuces and with that Liu exited in sixth place and each of the five remaining players were guaranteed a five-figure score.

Liu’s seat hadn’t even had the chance to go cold before another player was heading for the sidelines. Jones, usually seen sporting the patched of Main Event Travel, opened to 40,000 and Jackson three-bet all-in for 364,000 in total. Jones counted out the necessary calling chips before pushing them over the betting line. Jackson had made his move with a legitimate hand, the {A-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs}, but he still needed to pair at least one of his holecards because Jones had called with {6-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}. Jackson paired his queen on the flop, yet he was completely crushed because Jones flopped a set. By the river the board read {6-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{2-Spades}, Jackson busted and Jones soared to 1.5 million chips.

Kellett became the fourth place finisher as the clock struck seven. Warburton clicked it open to 40,000 and Kellett responded with a three-bet to 93,000. Warburton paused for a few moments before four-betting to 165,000 and a huge pot was brewing. It grew even larger when Kellett five-bet all-in for 500,000 and larger still when Warburton called, turning over {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} as he did so Kellett could only muster {5-Diamonds}{5-Spades} and needed some help from the board to avoid being eliminated. That help failed to arrive as the {4-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{2-Spades} flop pushed Warburton even further in front, although the {6-Spades} on the turn gave Kellett a few outs to a straight. The {Q-Diamonds} completed the board and confirmed Kellett’s exit.

With Kellett out of the way and the three remaining stacks almost exactly even at 1.3 million each, the talented trio of Warburton, Jones and Deadman sat out and discussed a deal to flatten the payout structure. Eventually it was decided that they would take £39,000 each, second would get £40,000 and the champion £42,000. This also left £1,000 which had to be used for tips and drinks at the bar!

It didn’t take long for heads-up to be set thanks to a huge coinflip between Jones and Warburton. Warburton was all-in with {6-Hearts}{6-Spades} and Jones the caller with {A-Hearts}{J-Spades}. The {9-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{A-Spades} flop catapulted Jones into a substantial lead and it was all but over for Warburton. The {8-Diamonds} turn was followed onto the table by the {7-Spades} river and with that Warburton’s tournament was done and dusted.

Jones went into the heads-up battle with Deadman holding a 2.1 million to 1.7 million chip lead, but Deadman managed to draw level. Despite the pressure, both players played in superb spirit and agreed to enforce a rule where one card had to be shown at the end of each hand!

After an hour’s play, a big pot went the way of Jones, but it could have been much larger had Deadman not made a great fold. Deadman bet 365,000 into 700,000 on the river of a {K-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} board, only to be raised all-in by Jones. Deadman tanked for close to three minutes before folding, claiming he had a {K-} in his hand. It turned out to be a remarkable fold as Jones showed the {7-Hearts} for at least trip sevens.

Almost immediately after that great fold, Deaman found himself all in with pocket nines against Jones’ {A-}{10-}. If Jones caught an ace or ten on the board he would become the GUKPT Manchester champion. Alas he did not because the board ran out {6-}{4-}{Q-}{6-}{9-} to improve Deadman to a full house and to bolster his stack to the 1.4 million mark.

Jones attacked Deaman relentlessly, so much so that by the time the final hand took place at 9:20pm, Deadman only had 10 big blinds left. That final hand saw Jones set Deadman all-in for his last 400,000 chips and Deadman called for his tournament life with {K-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}. Jones showed {J-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} and needed to hit some part of the board because he trailed Deadman. Jones caught a nine on the flop and then hit running cards to improve to a straight ({10-Spades}{9-Hearts}{A-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}) to resign Deadman to a fourth runner-up finish in 2014 alone and to be forever known as the 2014 GUKPT Manchester Main Event champion.

2014 GUKPT Manchester Main Event Final Table Results

1Rhys Jones£42,000*
2Simon Deadman£40,000*
3Steve Warburton£39,000*
4Richard Kellett£15,000
5Nathan Jackson£11,500
6Dahe Liu£9,500
7Karl Mahrenholz£7,500
8Graeme Crozeir£5,500
9Mark Harding£4,000

*reflects a three-way deal

Next up for the GUKPT is a long trip North to the Scottish capital Edinburgh. The 2014 GUKPT Edinburgh Main Event has a lower buy-in of £550 but a still substantial £100,000 guaranteed prize pool on offer. If you plan on competing in Edinburgh, you will need to keep April 2-6 free in your diaries and don’t forget that you can qualify for the 2014 GUKPT Edinburgh Main Event at Grosvenor Poker for a fraction of the actual cost.

Lead image courtesy of the GUKPT Blog

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