Julian Thew wins Leg 1 of 2008 GUKPT

Julian Thew
Julian Thew wins another GUKPT title.

Julian Thew became the first person to win two Grosvenor UK Poker Tour main events early this morning when he took down the first leg of the 2008 tour.

Thew defeated a playing field of 280 players to take home £86,800 and a seat in the £3,000 grand final at the end of the season, plus a seat in the Champion of Champions tournament. This is his second GUKPT main event win after taking down Leg 8 of the GUKPT inaugural season in 2007.

After his 2007 win, Thew also went on to win the European Poker Tour Baden event.

According to the GUKPT Web site, Thew took his latest victory in stride and paid compliments to runner-up Karim Louis. The two battled in heads-up play for more than two and a half hours to determine the winner.

When heads-up began, Karim was the chip leader. He held an almost 2-1 lead over Thew after eliminating Jim Reid, who had started the final table with the chip lead, in third place.

Initially it looked like Reid might use his chip lead to run over the table. He took out the short stack, Robert Cowen, on the very first hand when the final table started. Louis, who started the final table second in the chip count, began to inch toward the lead as he took Fabio Esposito out in eighth place.

Marcus Bebb-Jones was the next to leave, though he would promptly enter the £150 side event and go on to make his second final table of the day. Hitting the rail behind him was Nik Persaud in sixth place.

Fifth place went to Joe Grech, who had dominated on Day 2 but couldn't turn it into a win. Irishman Michael Bolger, playing in his first GUKPT, finished in fourth place.

Reid's demise came shortly after losing most of his chips on a diamond flush draw against Louis. Louis managed to make a pair on the flop and also had a higher flush draw if enough diamonds had hit the table to finish it off for either player.

Heads-up began with Louis and Thew playing rather cagily, but then Thew started to close the chip gap when he won an all-in pot with A-K versus Louis' pocket tens. Louis would fight back and almost draw even with Thew on several hands after that as the match was dominated by small-pot poker.

But it all came to an end when Thew's pocket fives held up against Louis' A-Q.

The final-table results were as follows:

Place Name Prize
1st Julian Thew £86,800
2nd Karim Louis £46,200
3rd Jim Reid £30,800
4th Michael Bolger £22,400
5th Joe Grech £16,800
6th Nik Persaud £14,000
7th Marcus Bebb-Jones £11,200
8th Fabio Esposito £8,400
9th Robert Cowen £5,600

The next GUKPT event is in Walsall from Feb. 11-17 with the main event beginning Feb. 14. The GUKPT is expecting a field of up to 400 players to take part in the tournament.

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