National Final 2010
The photo galleries for this final have been uploaded:
The CPL National Final 2010, CPLís first two day tournament, the biggest tournament in CPL history, has come and gone. It was an amazing weekend with lots of top class poker being played.
When we arrived at the Star City Casino at 10:00am on the Saturday morning to set up, we were very surprised to find that dozens of players had already arrived and were waiting to register, despite the fact registration wasnít due to start till 11:00am! We got everything set up as quickly as possible and started registering players, but the sheer number of attendees, as well as a terrible accident on the M1 which delayed some players, resulted in the start of the tournament being delayed.
Many of our players took the opportunity during the wait to have their photo taken with our Vegas showgirl, Melanie, holding up their Champions Poker League National Final 2010 t-shirts! Weíve put all these photos up in a separate gallery as there were so many of them! Be warned though, if you are of a sensitive nature, that there are some topless pics in there! CPL would like to thank Finalist Hayley Alexander for kindly assisting with taking the photos when things got a bit hectic!
After the now traditional speech from the balcony and big group photo, players were sent to their seats, half upstairs on the main casino floor and half downstairs in the Vegas show bar. With a countdown announced over the walkie talkie, the tournament began in earnest!
Unfortunately, even with the blinds slowed down considerably from the usual Quarterly Final system, we soon lost our first player, James Stubley. James got given a commiseration prize of a pair of specially tinted poker sunglasses so that no-one would recognise him on the way out, but then told us he had to stick around as his dad was still in the tournament! His father Mik then revealed to us that he had entered the tournament knowing full well he would be unable to attend on the second day, but was just in it for the fun of it. For such incredible devotion to the game we felt it only appropriate to give Mik something heíd been asking us for since April, a CPL baseball cap to add to his sizeable collection!
The first break was called not long after and the players from the main casino floor went to have their lunch whilst the players from the Vegas show bar continued to play. After the hour long break was over , the floors swapped, with the casino floor playing and the Vegas show bar off to grab some food, ensuring that the blinds matched up once the breaks were done!
Play continued on the Saturday until around 8:00pm when we finally got down to our top 80 players. Chips were counted, names and seats were taken and everyone went off to sleep for the night (or continue playing poker, as the casino had a 9pm tournament on!).
On resuming play on the Sunday, with everyone now on the casino floor, Adele ĎManicí Munday was the chip leader, with 57,300 chips, whilst poor Lee Hope had only 3500 left. With the blinds standing at 500/1000, it didnít take long for players to start going out. Blind levels were now increasing at 40 minute intervals, but it didnít slow the stream of players coming out of the tournament.
Soon we were down to just three tables, everyone on them acutely aware that they were approaching the bubble, and play slowed to a crawl. Thankfully the addition of casino staff dealing on the tables helped speed things up a bit and soon, with the loss of Matthew Keenan, we were down to the final two tables.
Play continued straight on and we quickly lost Rees Watson, who won a CPL chipset. Upon hearing that the next prize was a poker table, Kim Pring quickly went all-in with both her remaining chips, dropping out of the tournament, pleased to have reached the second day, let alone a paying position!
Play was certainly a lot more considered now, but the outflow of players was still regular, with Jason Murray next out, followed by Dean Perry, Russell Williams, Andrew Jones and Sandra Tyler.
Alison White, a CPL veteran of 14 seasons (and eight Quarterly Finals!) had been a heavy chip leader for a large portion of the final two tables, but lost the majority of her chips to David Low from the Broadhill Bar, resulting in her coming out of the tournament in 13th place, leaving Hayley Alexander the only remaining lady in the tournament!
We soon lost Phil Bamsey and Stuart Richardson and a break was called, as we were now down to the final table!
The final table positions were as follows:
Seat 1: Ernest Lai
Seat 2: Neil Hirst
Seat 3: Tim Blackman
Seat 4: Craig Birnie
Seat 5: David Low
Seat 6: Paul Gilliam
Seat 7: Robert Round
Seat 8: Chris Hiam
Seat 9: Nathan Baulch
Seat 10: Hayley Alexander
Chip leader at this point was David Low with around 580,000 chips! Tim Blackman was quick to point out, however, that he was only trailing the Scotsman by around 50,000
Poor Ernest Lai was severely short stacked going in, but due to an early push by Craig Birnie that didnít go quite to plan (his brave all-in was called by half the table!), he managed to last through to 9th position, with Craig popping off in 10th just before him.
Poor Robert Round was so tired by this point he put on his sunglasses and lay back to have a little sleep whilst the rest of the players kept on playing!
Over the course of the next 2 hours we lost Nathan Baulch, Neil Hirst and Chris Hiam in quick succession. By this point, Hayley Alexander was very short stacked, with David Lowís lead having only increased as the table went on. Just as it looked as though she was going to drop out, Paul Gilliam suddenly went all-in, only to bust out in 5th, leaving Hayley to step out almost immediately after him in 4th place, the highest ranked lady in CPL history!
Now it was down to the final three players, Robert Round, David Low and Tim Blackman, with the three biggest prizes at stake. Robert and Tim both have only a fraction of Davidís massive chip count and both are eager to push ahead of the other.
Robert pushes all-in and is called by David. Robert turns over K 8, with David showing A 2. The flop comes down 6, K, 10, with no help for David on the turn or river, leaving Robert to double up!
A few minutes later Tim Blackman goes all-in, called by both Robert and David. Tim has K 8, the hand that just worked so nicely for Robert, David has 8 8, but Robert turns over 9 9! The flop comes down K, 6, 2 and it looks like Tim is going to double up! Another 2 comes down on the 2, helping no-one, then finally on the river comes another 9! Robert takes even more chips and shakes Timís hand as he leaves the table, looking over his newfound chips in amazement.
After a few more tense minutes of back and forth, Robert goes all-in again, this time with 4 K. David calls, showing 7 9 suited. The flop comes down 2, 9, 6, giving David a pair. The turn is a 3, helping neither player, but giving Robert hopes of a possible straight, which are dashed when the final card comes down 10.
With all the chips in play, no-one is sure whether or not Robert is actually out of the tournament, but as the casino staff begin counting the chips Robert chooses to concede, realising he would be left with next to nothing even if he wasnít wiped out.
That means that David Low is our 2010 National Champion! Congratulations David! Sorry you were embarrassed about the hand you won with, but a win is a win! Well done!
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