Team Scotland takes 2006 European Poker Grand Slam

Team Scotland has won the 2006 European Poker Grand Slam, a two-day No-Limit Hold'em tournament hosted at the Casino Star City in Birmingham, UK, on January 11 and 12. The 6-player Scottish team championed a 35-player field consisting of competitors from France, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Ireland, England, and Wales.

Team Scotland emerged victorious and claimed the €110,000 Grand Prize and bragging rights after three of its players made it to the final table, which lasted a whopping 11 hours and included players from Scotland, Wales, France, and Sweden. Team rankings list France as second, followed by Wales, Ireland, Sweden, England, and Northern Ireland. Individual player rankings at the final table saw Lars Kjestrup (Sweden), Iwan Jones (Wales), and Rory Matthews (Scotland) take first, second, and third places. They received €50,000, €30,000, and €20,000, respectively.

Scottish team captain Philip Starrs rated the 2006 European Poker Grand Slam as one of the best tournaments he'd ever played in. "It's the first time ever this type of event has been played and it was an amazing ride. We had a hard time getting here - we paid ourselves in and unlike other teams we had next to no sponsorship - so it's fantastic that we have become the Grand Slam champions and are happy to take on all comers at the next event. We don't win much as a country so this is very special and we don't intend to give it up easily."

Swedish player Lars Kjestrup said his win was his finest ever poker victory. "Of course I'm disappointed that Sweden didn't win the team event but to win the event outright is amazing. I got some good cards, some good luck and was under some pressure to defend my chips but the victory is great for me and I look forward to defending my title."

The event will be televised across Europe in 6 one-hour shows on Sky Sports in March, 2006.

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