Eighteen months ago, Eleanor Gudger decided to become a professional poker player and it looks to be a decision that she got correct because in the early hours of November 17, she won the £1 million guaranteed 2014 partypoker WPT500 UK for a career-best cash haul of £140,000. Gudger has been a PKR Team Pro since March 2014.
If the name Gudger rings bells inside your head it is because in December 2013, John Gudger, Eleanor's father, won the WPT National UK Milton Keynes Main Event, meaning there are a brace of World Poker Tour titles in the Gudger family, something of a rarity in the game.
Gudger was one of 61 players returning to Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) for the third and final day's play in the £500 buy-in event and by the time the eight-handed final table was determined, she found herself second in chips and with a legitimate shot at glory.
2014 partypoker WPT500 UK Final Table
Each of the finalists locked up £10,000 for their efforts, but Habib Chatoo won no further money because he crashed out in eighth place when he moved all-in with and Matthew Noonan called with . By the river the board read and Chatoo was gone.
Next to fall was Haroon Hussain who won his seat in the tournament via a home game involving the legendary “Mad” Marty Wilson.
Noonan made it 600,000 to play, Hussain called then James Parker squeezed all-in for around 6,000,000. Noonan tossed his cards into the muck, but Hussain called with only to see his hand crushed by the in Parker's hand. Hussain was drawing dead by the turn of the board and became the seventh place finisher.
Richard Buck's WPT experience ended in a sixth place finish after Derek Payne caught an ace on the river to send Buck to the rail. All of the chips went into the middle on a flop, Buck holding and Payne . The turn failed to alter the course of the hand, but the on fifth street improved Payne to the best hand and resigned Buck to sixth place money.
The 2014 Genting Poker Series (GPS) Sheffield champion, James Parker, busted next before a micro-stacked Payne pushed all-in for five big blinds with from the small blind and Gudger called from the next seat along with . Gudger caught a seven on the flop and when the turn and river ran out without an ace in sight, it was game over for Payne.
Hamid Rowshanei became another Gudger victim to send the tie into the heads-up stage.
Gudger raised to 2,000,000 and Rowshanaei called. Rowshanaei check-called a 2,000,000 continuation bet on the flop before leading out on the turn with an all-in bet. Sadly for Rowshanaei, his was drawing dead the second Gudger called with . The inconsequential completed the board and confirmed Rowshanaei's demise.
Going into heads-up, Gudger held a 44,200,000 to 18,350,000 chip lead over Noonan and it proved too large of a bridge to gap. As the clock approached 1:30 a.m. on November 17, Noonan pushed all-in with and Gudger called with the dominating . Although the flop gave a chance of a chopped pot, the turn and river meant Gudger's queen-kicker played and she became the 2014 partypoker WPT UK champion!
2014 partypoker WPT500 UK Final Table Results
Made it home and hit the champers; thanks for all the awesome support <3 #winner #WPT500 next stop WPT Main Event.....Follow @Elz442
While Gudger was obviously delighted with her victory, heading home for some champagne, 10 of her fellow PKR players have reasons to celebrate after they each won a 1% share of any prize that Gudger won in the WPT500 UK. With Gudger securing a £140,000 payday, the 10 lucky promotion winners each collect £1,400 too!
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Lead image courtesy of the World Poker Tour Live Updates team