Once again, Rob Yong and his excellent Dusk Till Dawn team deserve a pat on the back and a standing ovation for pulling out all the stops and hosting, without a hitch, another massive tournament at their Nottingham-based club.
In preparation for the PokerStars UKIPT, the Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) hosted a £250 buy-in Deepstack event that they decided to place a £150,000 guarantee on. When I heard about the size of the guarantee, I thought Yong had finally lost the plot, but fast-forward through two online Day 1s and two live Day 1s and the £150,000 guarantee was not only met, it was smashed by over £60,000!
The busy little bees behind the cashier desk took a total of 870 entries, which created a prize pool of £217,500. The same folks divvied this impressive sum among the top 107 finishers, with a min-cash being worth £600 and the eventual champion walking away with £23,000.
Sunday saw 299 players who survived their respective Day 1s return to the DTD to fold, bet and bluff their way into the money and, as they hoped, beyond.
Among those 299 returnees were such luminaries as Shaun Conning, Rupinder Bedi, Mark McCluskey, Renee Xie, Jeraint Hazan, Gabriel Tuna, Nick Hicks, Sky Poker’s Julian Thew, Ben Mayhew, Ben Vinson, DTD regular Waheed Ashraf, and UKIPT Series winner Thomas Postlethwaite. Sadly, for those players mentioned at least, none of them managed to scrape into the top 107 places and left the club empty handed.
Although they left empty handed, they didn’t feel as bad as Peter Mok who moved all-in with and was called by Lee Rawson’s . An ace landed on the flop and another on the turn to send Mok home in 108th place with the unwanted title of bubble boy. Ouch.
Mok’s exit guaranteed the 107 survivors some cash for the efforts with the likes of Ceri Rees, Yucel “Mad Turk” Eminoglu, Willie Tann, Stuart Kinghorn banking some readies.
As an added bonus, the DTD awarded the top 50 finishers with a seat to the upcoming £1 million guaranteed UKIPT Main Event, a nice little bonus for those who managed to navigate their way into the top 50.
There was a steady stream of eliminations, right up until 02:00am on Bank Holiday Monday when play was paused briefly as the final table was set. Here’s how the nine finalists lined up:
Popular pro Maria Demetriou was the final table’s first casualty, jamming 10 big blinds with and running slap-bang into the pocket rockets of Jiri Sladkovsky. The board ran out void of any drama and Demetriou busted in ninth place.
Shortly after, Demetriou was joined on the sidelines by European Poker Tour London finalist Leo McClean. He found himself all-in for 2.7 million chips with and Mick Hardy looked him up with . A board failed to come to McClean’s rescue and he became the eighth place finisher.
Seven became six with the elimination of Mick Corrigan in seventh place. Corrigan moved all-in for 600,000 (three big blinds) with pocket tens and was called by Nicholas Banks and his . A jack on the flop and an ace on the turn were more than enough to send Corrigan for an early bath if you can call it that at 4:00am in the morning!
Sixth place eventually went to Carl Williams after a battle of the blinds with Sladkovsky didn’t go to plan. A preflop raising war resulted in Williams being all-in with and Sladkovsky calling with . Neither player improved their hand by the river and Sladkovsky won by virtue of his king-kicker.
Five-handed play lasted the best part of an hour before Tony Vu was eliminated to reduce the player count further. Vu lost the majority of his stack when his failed to get their against Sladkovsky’s pocket eights and pushed his micro-stack into the middle with what turned out to be and lost to Sladkovsky’s .
George Baldock was the next play to lose his chips, losing a flip to Hardy. The latter min-raised to 1 million with pocket sevens and then called when Baldock three-bet all-in for 4 million with . A seven on the flop cemented Hardy’s lead and his set of sevens held to send Baldock home as the sun was coming up.
As the clocks showed 07:10am – yes seven in the morning – Banks open-jammed for 8 million from the small blind with and Hardy snap-called with a much superior . Those nines held and heads-up was set.
Hardy went into the heads-up battle with a large chip lead, but Sladkovsky doubled early into the battle when his jacks held against .
Sladkovsky then found aces on the very next hand and doubled against to take a 32 million to 12 million lead. The blinds then increased to 500,000/1,000,000 and with only 44 million chips in play, there couldn’t be much more play left.
Then, at 08:05 in the morning, there was an all-in and call n a flop, Hardy holding and Sladkovsky the . There was a significant chance the pot would be split, but a on the turn and on the river gifted Sladkovsky an unlikely straight that brought the tournament to a thrilling conclusion.
Next up for the DTD and UKIPT Nottingham festival is the £3,300 High Roller 8-Max event at 6:00pm that features a £300,000 guaranteed prize pool.
The£1 million guaranteed UKIPT Nottingham Main Event starts on Wednesday at 12:00pm and looks set to be a massive field. Earlier today, Yong urged players who have won seats or who plan to buy in prior to the event starting to choose their start day because Day 1c is looking like a sell-out.
As always, UK & Ireland PokerNews will have recaps of the action from the biggest events of the UKIPT Nottingham schedule.
Many thanks to Blonde Poker for their updates that were used to create this article