The first champion of the 2015 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) is none other than Victor Ilyukhin after he topped the 289-strong field to get his hands on the winner's trophy and £82,600 in cold, hard cash.
Ilyukhin is a regular on the UK poker circuit, most often seen playing alongside his son, also called Victor. Ilyukhin Snr now has bragging rights when it comes to who has the largest live tournament score, the £82,600 here much larger than junior's £45,400 that was awarded for finishing third in the 2012 GUKPT Grand Final.
The final day's play began with 20 players in the hunt for the title, but early exits for Joe Beevers, Alan Stearn, Ellie Biessek and Adam Kossew reduced the field further.
Over the next three hours or so, Marc Hunter, Justin Sevilla, Graham Parkin, Abi Khaitan, Andrew Christoforou, the legendary Barny Boatman and Mark James crashed out, the latter bursting the final table bubble.
2015 GUKPT London Main Event Final Table
It didn't too long for the finalists to get some more elbow room because when Niall Murray min-raised to 40,000 and then called when Jerome O'Shea three-bet all-in for 150,000 in total, the first elimination occurred. Murray showed and was flipping against the of O'Shea. Those eights stayed best on the flop and turn but an ace on the river of the board sealed O'Shea's fate.
About 90-minutes later, Ross Boatman headed for the exits. After losing all but four big blinds of his stack when Alex Spencer hit a three outer on the river against him, Boatman jammed is micro-stack into the middle with and Adrian Memed called with . The board provided no relief for Boatman and he busted in eighth place.
Shortly after Boatman's exit, early favourite Charie Combes fell by the wayside. Spencer raised to 50,000 with , Combes re-raised all-in for 400,000 with and Spencer called to put Combes at risk of elimination. The flop kept the queens of Combes in front, but also gifted Spencer with outs to a flush. The on the turn gifted Combes a set of queens, but the river completed Spencer's flush and busted Combes.
Next to fall was Memed who was the first player to bank a five-figure score. The blinds were now 15,000/30,000/3,000a and Memed was down to 350,000 chips. The action passed to him in the small blind and he moved all-in with what turned out to be and will count himself unlucky to run into Ilyukhin's dominating . Neither player improved on the board, meaning Ilyukhin's jack-kicker played and Memed crashed out.
Fifth place went to Vladimir Swaton as the clocks turned to 9:30 p.m. Swaton shoved his nine big blind stack into the middle of the felt holding and Ilyukhin looked him up with the . A double for Swaton looked most likely by the turn of the board. However, the river gave Ilyukhin a pair of aces and Swaton was eliminated.
Swaton's seat hadn't even gone cold before Murray was following him to the cashier's desk. Murray was first to act in the small blind and he moved all-in for 470,000 with and Spencer called from the big blind with . Murray took the lead on the flop, with the turn meaning he had to now dodge a club or a ten as either would gift Spencer the best hand. Sadly for Murray, the river was the flush-completing and he became the fourth place finisher.
Heads-up was set an hour after Murray's exit when Zahari Petrov moved all-in with and Ilyukhin called with . Unlike many of the previous exits, there was little drama among the community cards in this exit as Petrov was drawing dead by the turn of the board.
Spencer, the reigning Sky Poker UK Poker Championships Main Event champion, went into the one-on-one battle holding a 3,700,000 to 2,100,000 chip lead but couldn't use that lead to his advantage.
The final hand saw Spencer make it 200,000 to go with , Ilyukhin three-bet to 560,00 with and then call when Spencer moved all-in. The flop gave Spencer trip jacks and the writing looked to be on the wall for Ilyukhin. That was until the made an appearance on the turn to improve Ilyukhin to a full house! The rolled off on the river to bust Spencer and leave a delighted Ilyukhin to become the 2015 GUKPT London Main Event champion.
2015 GUKPT London Main Event Final Table Results
Next up for the GUKPT is the Manchester leg in March. The festival runs from March 8 through March 15 at the Grosvenor G Casino on Bury New Road and you can qualify for the £1,090 buy-in Main Event at Grosvenor Poker.