Litman first GUKPT champ for 2009

Bernard Litman

The Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour started off its 2009 in Brighton this last weekend, with Bernard Litman becoming the first champion of the year for the tour.

Litman, a 53-year-old entrepreneur from Benfleet in Essex, topped a field of 235 players at the Grosvenor Casino to earn a £70,520 prize.

He earned his prize after battling his way up to and through a final table that included EPT event winner Andreas Hoivold as well as James Sudworth, Nick Holbrook, Keir Ratcliff, Ramsey Ajram, Nathan Lee, Matt Perrins and Richard Lewidon.

Hoivold was the dominant player during the early stages of the final table. He maintained his chip lead until there were four players left, but then Sudworth come out on top of a hand with A-T against Hoivold's pocket nines and took him down a few notches.

Hoivold ended up going out in fourth place, and Sudworth worked his way up to a heads-up match against Litman.

The heads-up battle lasted 30 minutes, with Litman starting off with a 2-1 chip lead over Sudworth. However, Sudworth took a shot at getting back in the game and doubling up with pocket queens to Litman's K-2.

The two were at it again not much later as they got all the chips in with Litman sitting with jacks and Sudworth with sevens. This time the jacks would prevail and Sudworth would take the second-place spot.

The final table played out as follows:

Place Player Prize
1st Bernard Litman £70,520
2nd James Sudworth £43,480
3rd Nick Holbrook £28,790
4th Andreas Hoivold £18,560
5th Keir Ratcliff £13,860
6th Ramsey Ajram £11,520
7th Richard Lewidon £9,160
8th Matt Perrins £6,820
9th Nathan Lee £4,700

Litman paid compliments to his heads-up opponent during the post-tournament interview. He admitted that it had been a hard slog to get through the £1,000 No-Limit Texas Hold'em main event.

Litman has been playing poker for more than five years now. According to the GUKPT, Litman said he's recently seen marked improvement in his game.

Last year Litman qualified online for several GUKPT events, but this time he paid his own way and walked away with the win.

The side events in the week-long GUKPT tournament series were also well-attended. Dave Colclough turned in a win in the £100 Omaha rebuy event, and main event finalist Matt Perrins also secured a victory earlier in the week in the £200 No-Limit Hold'em event that kicked off the festival.

Shana Casaletto made GUKPT history during the preliminary events as well. She became the first woman to earn a GUKPT victory this year and the second female ever to win a GUKPT event, and then took down another competition, becoming the first player in the tour's history to win back-to-back events.

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