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U.K. poker report: GUKPT hits Brighton
One victim is the Great Britain Poker Tour. Other poker purveyors in the region, however, continue to thrive and in some cases are even expanding their offerings.
GBPT comes to an end
The start of the year brought the news that the Great Britain Poker Tour (GBPT) run by Gala Casinos would not be returning for a third season.
The GBPT, with its £500 buy-in, was seen as a cheaper alternative to the Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour (GUKPT) run by Grosvenor and Blue Square, but its demise leaves the latter as the sole major poker tour in the United Kingdom.
The GBPT was not without its highlights, though, during its two-season run. During the Grand Final of the first season, Gala brought over Joe Beevers ahead of Rob "Vaga Lion" Akery. Coincidentally, Rob Akery also finished second in the second season Grand Final, behind Alan Vinson.
Poker thrives at Dusk Till Dawn
But if the recession has hit Gala, it certainly hasn't hit Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham. The poker club posted record numbers for its monthly deep-stack £300 event in January, getting 295 players.
It raised the cap again already this month, managing to fit in 360 players in total for an event with a £108,000 prize pool from which first place took over £32,000.
Based on this success, as well as on the popularity of its recent Anniversary Cup in December, the club has announced three big festival weekends in May, September and December.
The first two will have £1,000 buy-ins, and the third will have a £2,000 buy-in. But the twist will be that the three will use the structures of the biggest three live tournaments in the world - the Simon Trumper has confidently declared that he believes the club will sell these weekend events out. He is hoping to attract some of the biggest names in Europe to the poker club.
It certainly gets a few Scandinavians. The Norwegian Poker Championships proved so popular at DTD last year that the club is getting ready to host it again in a few weeks.
GUKPT crowns first 2009 champion
The GUKPT saw veteran Bernard Litman crowned as the first winner of the 2009 tour in January, succeeding Julian Thew, who won this event last year.
The tournament took place in Brighton and was remarkable because of the huge influx of young Internet players, which was above and beyond what the tour had seen in the past. Also notable was Litman's victory, given that he came to the final table as one of the shortest stacks and faced mostly younger opposition.
Most people were pointing to former EPT winner Andreas Hoivold as the favorite, despite his entering the final as one of the middling stacks. Indeed, the rest of the table seemed to go after him nonstop early on until he got a lucky double-up with nines against aces in a button/big blind battle.
The person on the receiving end of this bad beat was Ramsey Arjam, a cash player rated incredibly highly by Neil Channing, and, other than Hoivold, probably the most dangerous player at the table.
Hoivold, though, ended up knocking out Ajram in fifth place before he himself became the next casualty when another youngster, James Sudworth, put him to the sword with 9-9 holding against A-T.
Sudworth got to heads-up against Litman, and after a short battle, they got it all-in preflop, Sudworth with 7♦ 7♥ against Litman's J♥ J♣, a dominating position for the elder of the two until the flop came T♦ 8♦ 6♦.
Suddenly it had gone from 80-20 to a coin flip, but running T♥ and T♣ gave both players houses. In the end Litman triumphed, scooping the first major tournament in the United Kingdom this year.