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Miikka Toikka Wins the Largest-Ever GUKPT Goliath

Miikka Toikka

When you read about live poker tournaments having several thousand entrants these reports usually stem from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. However, once per year, there is a huge tournament held in the United Kingdom called The Goliath.

Its name is quite apt because it’s a massive beast that is taken down by a single man or woman after a week-long battle. This year’s Goliath was gargantuan as 4,120 entries were taken over the course of seven starting days, creating a first place prize of £75,800 despite the event itself only costing £120 to buy into.

Sunday 16 August, was when the final day’s action took place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The 4,120-strong field had been reduced to two eight-handed tables and it was Leeds’ Shane “AJKMoscow” Mossop who was the man to catch, having ended Day 2 with a colossal 12,980,000 stack.

Play restarted at 12:00pm and over the next three hours “Mr G,” Tom Runnacles, Charlie Godwin, Adam Clarke, Adam Wilson, Matt Harris and Sunny Mistri bust, the latter’s exit leaving only the final table of nine.

2015 GUKPT Goliath Final Table

1Grant Ferguson3,975,000
2Sunil Moti19,380,000
3Ben Boulden11,440,000
4Ryan Meager4,315,000
5Phil Bain14,645,000
6Shane Mossop4,070,000
7Miikka Toikka27,220,000
8Katie Swift6,060,000
9Andrew James13,830,000

Within minutes of the final table action commencing, Miikka Toikka opened the betting with a min-raise to 800,000 and Grant Ferguson three-bet all-in for 2.7 million. Ben Boulden cold-called from the big blind and Toikka called.

A flop reading {k-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} saw Boulden check, Toikka bet 1 million and Boulden call. Both players then checked the {8-Diamonds} turn before Boulden fired a 2 million bet on the {j-Hearts} river, a bet that Toikka snap-called.

Ferguson showed {a-Clubs}{6-Hearts} for ace-high, Boulden {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts} for a pair of aces and Toikka the {k-Spades}{10-Diamonds} for trip kings. Ferguson bust in ninth place while Toikka soared to more than 30 million chips.

Ten minutes later the start-of-the-day chip leader was eliminated.

Shane Mossop open-shoved for 2.,8 million from the button with {q-Diamonds}{q-Spades} and found himself facing the {a-Clubs}{j-Hearts} of Katie Swift who had re-shoved from the small blind. The queens remained the best hand on the {k-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} flop and the {5-Clubs} turn, but the {q-Clubs} river not only improved Mossop to a set of queen, it also gifted Swift a flush!

Ben Boulden’s tournament then came crashing down in two short hands. The first saw him lose all but four big blinds when his {j-Diamonds}{j-Clubs} couldn’t get there against Ryan Meager’s {q-Diamonds}{q-Hearts} and then the rest of Boulden’s stack went into the middle with {a-Diamonds}{k-Hearts} versus the {k-Clubs}{k-Diamonds} of Meager. A final board reading {2-Spades}{10-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{7-Spades} was enough to send Boulden to the rail in seventh place.

The sixth place finisher was Andrew James whose exit hand started with him completing his small blind and Sunil Moti checking his option. James then led for 2 million on the {j-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{5-Spades} flop and Moti called. Both players tapped the table and checked the {q-Hearts} turn before James bet all-in for 3.4 million on the {9-Hearts} river. Moti instantly called and turned over {a-Spades}{10-Spades} for a straight, crushing the {k-Hearts}{5-Clubs} of his now bust opponent.

James’s seat hadn’t even gone cold when Phil Bain exited in fifth place. Bain pushed all-in for slightly less than 10 big blinds with {k-Hearts}{q-Hearts} and found a caller in the shape of Meager and his {8-Hearts}{8-Spades}. James’ hand failed to melt his opponent’s snowmen as the five community cards fell {a-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{6-Clubs} to leave only four players in the hunt for the title of champion.

Those four finalists paused the tournament and discussed a potential deal, which was eventually reached. They decided to take £5,000 from first place and add it to fourth, meaning the least anyone was taking home was £25,200.

That sum is now in the bank account of Sunil Moti who called an all-in bet with {10-Spades}{7-Spades} on the turn of the {2-Spades}{3-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{x-} board only to be shown {3-Hearts}{3-Diamonds} by Toikka. Moti was drawing dead and when the {a-Clubs} completed the board, Moti headed for the exits.

Ryan Meager’s tournament ended with a third place finish and £29,050 in a cooler hand. Toikka raised to 2.5 million and then instantly called when Meager three-bet all-in for 20 million. Meager showed {a-Clubs}{q-Spades} and was trailing the {k-Spades}{k-Diamonds} of Toikka. Those kings held as the dealer spread the {j-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{6-Spades} community cards to send the tournament into the heads-up stages.

Heads-up was short and sweet thanks to it being a real David and Goliath setting, quite fitting considering the tournament’s name. Toikka went into heads-up with 95 million chips compared to the 9.5 million of Katie Swift.

On the second hand of heads-up, Swift moved all-in with {k-Hearts}{j-Clubs} and Toikka called with {a-Diamonds}{4-Spades}. Both players improved to a pair on the {a-Spades}{k-Spades}{10-Spades} flop, but it was Toikka who had one hand on the trophy. The {10-Diamonds} turn was no help to Swift and neither was the {3-Hearts} river, which sent her to the rail and left a delighted Toikka to become the 2015 Goliath champion.

2015 GUKPT Goliath Final Table Results

1Miikka Toikka£70,800
2Katie Swift£46,300
3Ryan Meager£29,050
4Sunil Moti£25,200
5Philip Bain£12,650
6Andrew James£8,400
7Ben Boulden£5,900
8Shane Mossop£3,800
9Grand Ferguson£3,100

There is no doubt at all that the Goliath will return in 2016, so start saving up for what will be another spectacular event. Could it reach 5,000 entries? We only have 12 months to wait to find out!

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  • Liverpool-based Finn takes down largest-ever tournament held outside Las Vegas

  • Katie Swift falls in second place for £46,300

  • Organisers hopeful of 5,000 entrants in 2016

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