And so ends a great poker festival - the first-ever 888poker Festival London at Aspers Casino.
Ka Him Li captured the main event, Eric le Goff the High Roller and plenty of stars including Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Moorman and Sam Grafton all made final-table appearances
“Make it Big” was the theme of this 888poker Festival and it certainly delivered with a £228,096 main event prize pool and plenty of smiling faces around.
And while the main event has just ended, there are still at least 10 tables still buzzing with cash games in the 888poker room.
Cavalcade of Stars
The £200,000 Main Event guarantee was reached quickly on Day 1B over the weekend and players were off on the hunt for the ITM places. Among the big names in the field were 888poker team pros Moorman, Sofia Lövgren, Dominik Nitsche and Kara Scott.
Joining in from points near and far were Esfandiari, Grafton, Michael Mizrachi, Melanie Weisner, Tom Middleton, Steve Watts, Leo McClean, Oanh Bui, Christopher Brammer, Adrien Allain and former world champion Martin Jacobson.
Two of many big faces in the crowd.
All told there were 288 entries, 172 of them on Day 1B.
Moorman was among the re-entries when he flopped Broadway with K-Q but was sucked out on by a set of jacks hitting runner-runner full house.
He bought back in but still couldn’t survive Day 1, busting within minutes of his wife.
Scott and Grafton Thrive
Kara Scott turned out to be the 888poker ambassador to carry the largest chip stack on to Day 2 with Mizrachi, Natalie Hof, Lövgren and Nitsche following her.
At the end of Day 2 Scott remained the only 888poker ambassador in the field and she had had a tough go to get that far. Being short-stacked she hung in there and managed to get her chips in good three times but each time the showdown ended in a split.
Kara goes deep.
Eventually she managed to double with pocket tens through pocket nines so she came back into the final with a proper stack.
On the other side of the table Sam "@SquidPoker" Grafton was one of the big stacks heading into the last day.
Having run deep at EPT Barcelona and excelled as a commentator for the Global Poker League, it's been a good year for the English player now living in Warsaw.
On the final day Scott was the second player to go, finishing in 13th place. She 3-bet all-in with 25 bb and pocket tens but was called by two mighty kings which stopped her run right there.
Looked like the boss.
Grafton then looked like the boss of the table and went into the chiplead until there were just four players left.
But then thunder struck and he lost not only the chiplead but his whole tournament life in a matter of three hands.
Two hands later Philippe Souki lost his stack, too, and both times Ka Him Li was the man to benefit. Li went into the heads-up with a 6.7-1.9 chiplead but Shah Raza made a quick double-up.
When Raza won another big hand, the players discussed a deal. They came to an agreement that should go down in poker history as one of the – let’s say most unconventional - deals we’ve ever seen.
Corresponding to the chipstacks Li was granted £5k more than Raza - £45k and £40k, respectively – and that left just £300 to play for or 0.35% of the money for the top two spots.
What’s even more amazing is that the heads-up went on for another 45 minutes before the winner was found.
Congratulations to Ka Him Li, winner of the first 888poker “Make It Big” live poker festival at the Aspers Casino in London. It was literally a full week of poker for Li as he had already played in the opening event, finishing in 35th place out of 700.
888poker Festival Main Event Final-Table Payouts
|1||Ka Him Li||£50,000/£45,300*|
|9||Enzo del Piero||£5,040|
Esfandiari/Moorman Make HR Final Table
Thirty-seven players and 10 re-entries made up the field of the £2,000 high roller and of the 888poker ambassadors Esfandiari and Moorman both made the final table.
Similar tale for Middleton.
They both made the top six players, too, which meant they were in the money.
But then Esfandiari was the first to leave the table when he couldn’t find a fold with top pair against a well-hidden full house.
Moorman led the chipcount with four players left but went on a downhill spiral and busted in fourth place.
It was Tom Middleton, then, the former EPT Barcelona winner, who was the favorite but eventually had to settle for second place as French player Eric le Goff was invincible on that night.
It was a short heads-up but still enough time for Esfandiari to sit down in the main event and bust it before the high roller was finished.
888poker Festival High-Roller Payouts
|1||Eric le Goff||France||£30,000|
PokerListings will soon meet up with 888poker again when the best low buy-in poker tournament in Europe - the Battle of Malta - kicks off in just 10 days
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