Watchman secures GUKPT Blackpool win

Brian Clarke

Nine legs down, the Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour is on a roll toward this year's final event in London. This last stop took place at the G casino in Blackpool, where Brian Clarke took down the £96,500 top prize.

Brian Clarke, a night watchman from Scotland, was on guard last weekend and defended his chip stack at what the GUKPT is calling one of its most incredible final tables ever to take place in the United Kingdom.

There were 341 players in the GUKPT Blackpool main event that stretched over four days. The final table came down to Clarke, Damian Evans, Zachary Ford, Darren Hickman, Andreas Hoivold, Guy Johnson, Gareth Jones, Eddie Lundon and Alan Vinson.

Evans was the first one out at the final table, followed by Johnson. Jones, who is a two-time British champion, hung on until seventh place.

Lundon and Hickman were the next to hit the rail, while Vinson took fourth place. Vinson's son Ben also made the final table in this event during the previous GUKPT season.

Hoivold and Ford both held the chip lead at various stages of the final table, but Hoivold eventually fell in third place. Had he won, the Norwegian would have become the first Scandinavian winner of a GUKPT event.

Ford had a massive chip lead going into heads-up. It looked like it was going to be a short match as Clarke's tournament life was on the line with 6-5.

Ford had him beat with K-T, but a five on the river gave Clarke a pair and a new lease on his tournament life. According to the GUKPT, Clarke was unstoppable in all-in hands from that point on.

A few more double-ups later, Clarke had the lead. An hour into heads-up play he had the win as well.

On the final hand Ford held A-K against Clarke's pocket queens. Ford seemed to look good when he hit a king on the flop. An ace on the turn looked even better, but then the river brought a queen to give Clarke trips.

This was Ford's second GUKPT final in 2008. He finished third at the Manchester leg in April. The final-table results were:

Place Name Prize
1st Brian Clarke


2nd Zachary Ford


3rd Andreas Hoivold


4th Alan Vinson


5th Darren Hickman


6th Eddie Lundon


7th Gareth Jones


8th Guy Johnson


9th Damian Evans


There were a few other events during the nine-day stop in Blackpool as well. The G casino played host to a £150 Pot-Limit Hold'em Freezeout that maxed out at 200 players, and another 37 players joined the game as alternates.

With a total of 237 players, it was the largest side event so far in the GUKPT's two-year history.

There was also a £300 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout that saw 207 players enter. Marc Goodwin posted another win with this event, which also puts him atop the GUKPT leaderboard for the season.

There's only one more stop on the tour left, the Grand Final, so Goodwin is the favorite now to be the GUKPT player of the year and earn the £10,000 prize that goes with it.

Sam Trickett also posted another win in Blackpool by taking down Saturday's £300 No-Limit Hold'em event.

The £3,000 Grand Final will take place at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London. The main event is scheduled to take place Nov. 27-30, and warm-up events begin Thursday, Nov. 20.

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