Deals are commonplace in tournament poker, particularly live events, but are usually done when there are only two or three players remaining. However, on Sunday, at the 2016 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) London Main Event there was an eight-handed deal struck, then a further deal when the tournament was heads-up.
The headlines should have been praising the fact 394 players turned out for the opening leg of the 2016 GUKPT, but instead the poker community is left scratching its head over what is, quite frankly, a ridiculous set of circumstances.
Until the final table, the GUKPT London Main Event played out like any other tournament and saw some of the United Kingdom’s top poker talent battle it out for what they thought would be a £109,550 first place prize.
Day 3, the final day, began with 30 players returning to their seats, all of whom were in the money places and guaranteed £2,750. One of poker’s most colourful characters, Deborah Worley-Roberts, was one of the first exits of the day, falling in 29th place.
Following Worley-Roberts to the sidelines were such luminaries as Ben Heath (26th for £2,750), Charlie Carrel (20th for £3,550), Leo Margets (19th for £3,550), and Danny Toffel (17th for £3,950), with the exit of Grant Wheelhouse in 10th place (£6,300) setting the final table.
2016 GUKPT London Final Table
Blinds at the final table started at 12,000/24,000/3,000a meaning none of the nine finalists were perilously short of chips, which is why it took almost 90-minutes for the first player to bust.
By this time, the blinds had risen to 15,000/30,000/3,000a, and Mark Banin opened to 63,000 with and then called when former World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event champion Adrian Mateos three-bet all-in for 380,000 with . Both players caught a piece of the flop, Banin turning trip queens with the arrival of the . The inconsequential landed on the turn to bust Mateos.
What happened next is bamboozling. After continuing to play for almost two hours without another elimination, the remaining eight players discussed and agreed to a deal, which locked up amounts varying from £24,049 and £49,981, leaving an additional £48,000 for the eventual champion.
Dahe Liu was the first deal maker to bust, his being no match for the of Ben Winsor as the board ran . Marc Foggin followed Liu to the rail 25-minutes later when he three-bet all-in over the top of a Martin Hogarty opening raise, and Hogarty called. Foggin’s was ahead of Hogarty’s and went further ahead on the flop. The turn failed to alter the hand, but the river improved Hogarty to a straight and left Foggin with no chips.
Banin was the next to fall, losing all but one ante when his couldn’t get there versus Dan Barriocanal’s dominating . Banin fell a couple of hands later.
The player known simply as “Mr.B” bust in fifth place, again at the hands of Barriocanal, with Mykola Vysotski heading for the rail in fourth place when he committed his stack with on a flop only to run into Hogarty’s , which held.
Reigning GUKPT Grand Final champion, Ben Winsor, almost went back-to-back in GUKPT events, but had to make do with third place in this latest tournament. Down to a mere five big blinds, Winsor pinned his hopes of a spin up on and was called by Barriocanal and his . Winsor was drawing dead by the turn of the board, sending the tournament to the heads-up stage.
Hogarty took a 4,600,000 to 3,200,000 chip lead into heads-up and with blinds of 50,000/100,000 a long heads-up battle looked on the cards. Before play resumed, the heads-up duo decided to make another deal that locked up an additional £15,000 each and left £18,000 for the champion.
After an hour of play, and amazingly no further deals, Barriocanal opened to 250,000, which was three-bet to 520,000 by Hogarty. Barriocanal responded with a four-bet of 2,800,000 and Hogarty called, albeit after two minutes in the tank.
Neither player improved on the board, Barriocanal bust and Hogarty walked away with £66,538 and the title of 2016 GUKPT London champion.
2016 GUKPT London Final Table Results
**reflects a heads-up deal
*reflects an eight-handed deal
Next up for the GUKPT is a trip to Manchester between February 28 and March 6. You can qualify for the £1,100 buy-in £200,000 guaranteed Main Event at Grosvenor Poker.