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Gary Morfett wins the National

Champions Poker League's 2008-2009 National Final was held this Saturday (19th September) at Circus Casino Star City, Birmingham, and was a resounding success!

Click here to see the full results!

Photos are now up! Click here to go to the galleries!


The start

197 players in total attended the National Final, making it the biggest final in the league's history! The day started well, with all attending players getting a free CPL T-shirt before posing for a group photo which was so large it had to be taken from the balcony!

Whilst we signed everyone in and distributed the t-shirts players were amusing themselves by having photos taken with our Vegas showgirl, taking advantage of the free 5 bet vouchers provided by the casino and playing on the roulette tables or ogling the 10,500 worth of prizes tantalizingly displayed by the sing-in desk.

Though we had even more players than we were anticipating, the final managed to get started more or less
on time and after a short introduction the call was given to shuffle up and deal!


The tournament

Play followed the same format as the quarterly finals, with a break after an hour for food, but unfortunately some players didn't even make it that far. Spare a thought for poor James Morrison who barely made as far as the third blind level before being knocked out of the tournament after his queens and 3's full house was beaten by a queens and 6's. Four further players were eliminated before the call was made for a break in play.

Our players then filed downstairs to enjoy the excellent buffet lunch, provided free of charge! Once everyone had eaten their fill the players sat back down and play resumed in earnest. Players were soon tumbling like dominoes with small queues forming at the sign-out desk. Resigned faces recounted bad beat stories one after another whilst picking up their free copies of Bluff magazine to read whilst they waited for their friends to finish playing.

Spot prizes were given out on the day to any players hitting Quads, of special note being Peter Bibbings who hit Quad aces and grabbed himself a freeview box. As one player shouted, "If you're gonna hit Quads, might as well do it properly!"

Several hours later another break was called, with barely 35 players left in! Soon enough, we reached the bubble, with poor Jonathan Brown going out in 21st. Jonathan didn't go home empty handed however, taking home a mini chip set as a commiseration prize to go with his free t-shirt and magazine.


The last 20

Another short break was announced as the final two tables were set up and roped off. The crowds gathered as the players returned, safe in the knowledge that no matter what they were not going home empty handed.

Soon after play resumed, Tom 'MADDOG' Johns was knocked out, taking home a 4GB mp3 player. The next 9 went out as follows:

John 'Jioney' Little - 19th - Ipod Shuffle 2nd Gen

Chris 'Ace Mechanic' Davies - 18th - 500 Piece CPL Chip set

Sam Smith - 17th - CPL folding oval table

Derek Young - 16th - 4GB Ipod shuffle 3rd Gen

John 'the Chef' Canavan - 15th - Alba Pocket Camcorder.

Mark 'Taffinator' Kingdon - 14th - Samsung 10MP camera

Jimmy 'xSkye 69x' Kelly - 13th - CPL folding oval table + 500 Piece CPL chip set

David 'HEAVY' Steele - 12th - Playstation Portable

Chris Barton - 11th - Nintendo DS + Big Brain Academy


The final table

With only 10 players left, the final table was decided. Going in to the final table, the standings looked like this:

Mark 'Dumb Dumb' Steer from the Calder in Accrington - 261,800
Chris Starling from the Alma in Cambridge- 241,500
Mathew 'Matt' Barnes from Swaggers in Tamworth - 139,900
Alan Bridges from the Plough in Barnsley- 121,800
Tim 'Hedger' Edghill from the King William in Glastonbury - 103,900
David Clelland from the New Inn in Hollingworth- 89,100
Gary 'GMAN' Morfett from the Sportsman in Dunstable - 78,800
Keith 'Chatters' Chapman from the Sacred Heart in Wigan- 78,000
Katie 'Roller' Rolls from the Hope & Anchor in Bristol- 62,000
Ann-marie 'the grinder' Houlihan from the Amble Inn in Harpenden - 17,900

Congratulations must go to Anne-Marie Houlihan and Katie Rolls, the first two women to even reach the Final Table at a CPL National Final!

After posing for a quick photo in their free CPL caps, the final table got under way.

Unfortunately, the very short-stacked Anne-Marie Houlihan couldn't hold on and went out almost immediately, taking home an Xbox 360 with a game after pitting her A 10 against Gary Morfett's K J and Alan Bridges' K A with 7 8 9 10 3 coming down in the middle, leaving Gary with a straight.

Next out was Keith Chapman, who pitted his 5 2 against Matt Barnes' A J with K 4 3 J 7 coming down in the middle.
Despite this, Keith was very pleased to receive his Elonex Laptop to give to his son, the prize he had announced several times he was in the tournament to get.

David Clelland came out next, going all-in with pocket tens and being called once again by Gary Morfett with pocket jacks. 3 9 J 5 3 came down on the table and David Clelland went out, taking home 8th place prize: a 23" LG TV.

At this point our last remaining lady, Katie Rolls, announced she wanted to go out on 7th place, to get the prize of an iPhone, but despite herself hung on, with Tim Edghill going out before her. Tim went all-in with A 9 against Alan Bridges' A Q, losing out on the river as the centre cards came down 4 A 4 6 Q.

Tim was soon followed by Chris Starling, who had entered the table with the 2nd largest amount of chips. Chris went out in an unfortunate turn to Mark Steer after going all-in with A 9 against Mark's 6 2. The cards came down 3 8 6 3 2, giving Mark two pair and leaving Chris to go home with the 350 Hugo Boss watch and its presentation box. Chris was dissapointed, but also relieved as he told us the 42" TV for 5th prize would not fit in his car.

Now the big prizes started coming out, with 5th place's
42" TV worth 750 and the others worth over 1000 each. Katie Rolls was the next player out, despite having doubled up several times over the course of the final table. Katie went out in 5th place, making her the highest ranking lady in CPL history and she was presented with a small goody bag to mark the occasion.

Katie matched her A 9 against Mark Steer's 5 6, but the centre cards came down 4 10 5 2 7 giving Mark a pair on the flop and that was that. Thankfully Katie's boyfriend had driven to the final in a van, so there was space to put the 42" Samsung Plasma TV she won as well as all the other goodies she had collected over the day.

Now just guys were left on the table and every prize was worth over 1000, so an air of serious quiet came over the table. Matt Barnes didn't last much longer however, as the blinds had now reached 20,000 - 40,000, and went all-in with 10 Q. Mark Steer called once again, this time with pocket 9's. 7 6 2 8 A came down on the table, meaning Mark's pair took the pot.

Matt wasn't too dissapointed though, walking away with a brand new Omega Seamaster watch (the infamous 'James Bond watch') worth 1160 in it's presentation case. Not bad for a day's work.

Now it was Alan Bridges' turn to go all-in in a last ditch effort to stay in the game before being blinded out. Alan put forward his chips with 9 10 suited and was called by Gary Morfett with A 3. The flop came down 5 7 4 and the turn gave Gary the 6 he needed to complete his straight. An 8 on the river would have given the hand to Alan, but instead it was a jack, leaving Alan with 3rd place.

Alan won a buy-in to the GUKPT Champion of Champions tournament as well as 150 spending money, so hopefully we will be able to let you know how he gets on in the 100,000 tournament later this year.


Heads up

The game was now between Gary Morfett and Mark Steer, with Mark having slightly more chips. Hand after hand was played, with Gary taking Mark's blinds time after time with careful betting. Soon Gary had taken a sizeable lead over Mark.

"You're dominating me." said Mark. "You're just dominating me."

"You've been pushing us around for four hours!" replied Gary.

Soon Mark was almost out of chips, and with a short remark of "I've lost my mojo", he went all in.

Gary called with A 8 against Mark's K 7. The centre cards came down 3 A 8 4 4, giving Gary two pair and making him the 2008-2009 National Poker Champion!

Gary won a buy-in to the GUKPT main event at Grosvenor Victoria casino in central London on the 26th - 29th of November with an estimated prize pool of 1,000,000, as well as 350 spending money! He also received the Champions Poker League National Champion trophy to proudly display in his home. Well done Gary!

Mark didn't walk away empty handed though, as he received a buy-in to the Champion of Champions tournament along with 350 spending money.

We'll let you know how Gary, Mark and Alan get on at their respective tournaments later this year.

The following players attended but did not sign out, so they are not listed on the results sheet:

Anthony Arnold, Alfredo Ayala, Keith Boon, Dave Bullen, Matt Cromwell, Jamie Dimmer, Paul Dutton, Liz Fitzgerald, Denis Gosling, Nathan Halleron, Joe Hicks, Dominic Holliday, Phil Houlihan, Gareth Jones, Wayne Mullin, Russ Riches, Timothy Trestain, Alan Turner.

Please remember, if you don't sign out, you won't appear in the results and you won't get the medals!

Thank you to everyone who attended for making the Champions Poker League National Final 2008-2009 a resounding success! See you all next year!