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See previous entry "Upcoming National"See next entry "October Quarterly Finals"

2013 National Final Review

Champions Poker League, the UK's #1 Pub Poker League
After 2 days of a hotly contested National Final it was Tim Brown, from the Dunmow Club in Essex, who successfully lifted the trophy after becoming the Champions Poker League National Final Champion 2013 ! The moment was the climax of 12 months of poker following thousands of players competing through weekly leagues and quarterly finals from the northern tip of Scotland to the southernmost counties of England to reach the event held at the Genting Star City Casino in Birmingham. Final placings for all signed out players and the pictures taken on the day can be found on our past finals page .

Read on below for further details of the weekend’s action :-

After all players had registered and collected their complimentary T-shirts, some paused for a tea or coffee to chat and relax with other players, whilst some took the opportunity to have a snapshot taken beside the Vegas Showgirl in sparkling sequined costume and feather headdress. As the scheduled start time approached the qualified players prepared to take their seats whilst friends and partners either prepared to watch their progress or tried their hand at the slot machines and various gaming tables within the casino.

Following a brief welcome announcement and confirmation of the tournament structure it was quickly down to action with the contest starting in earnest, and it wasn’t too long before the unfortunate first player to be eliminated left their table, followed within less than a minute by the second player to bust out, with the news greeted with relief by the remaining players and a generously sympathetic round of applause.

With a complimentary hot buffet provided, the lunches were split over two breaks on the Saturday to accommodate the large turnout and the players took the opportunity to top up both with food and with poker chips for those that wanted an add-on to increase their stack. As the tournament progressed, a steady stream of players walked to the sign-out desk following their elimination, some with tales of bad beats and others just unfortunate to run into an opponent with a better monster hand. Over the course of the tournament we were to note not just one, but two Royal Flushes hitting the boards!

With over 2.5 million chips in play, the display screens around the tables were regularly updating the tournament status for players to see until at around 8.30pm we had reached 80 players remaining who would be returning to continue the following day. After counting and bagging their chips, for some it was time to keep going with further poker by entering the casino’s regular Saturday night tournament whilst others, who had travelled down with partners or fellow players, took the opportunity to try out Birmingham’s nightlife and popular city centre.

With the tournament renewing from 12.30pm on the Sunday it was thankfully not too early a start for those keen enough to have continued playing in other games the night before at the casino, which remains open until 6 o’clock in the morning. Some clever moves were in evidence as the action gathered apace and the field was slowly but surely reduced, with the last 20 players taking their seats at the final 2 tables around 4pm.

The were some classic coin flip contests over the next few hours as the blinds began to rise, with typically all-in raises by pocket pairs being called by two over cards and the casino’s dealers turning the cards to decide the fate of who would be victorious in growing their chip count, and many players deciding whether to play a tight strategy to get into the money pay-outs, or play a bit looser and more daring in the hope of quickly building their stack.

It was around 5.30pm that the final 10 players, who would all be sharing in the prize pool of over £10,000 in cash, took their seats. The players and their final table chip stacks were as follows:
Seat 1 : John Devon – 460K
Seat 2 : Steve Burt – 630K
Seat 3 : Mark White – 85K
Seat 4 : Johnathan Wojtasz – 260K
Seat 5 : Andy Henson – 400K
Seat 6 : Tim Brown – 225K
Seat 7 : Graeme Atkin – 265K
Seat 8 : Nikolay Ilchev – 35K
Seat 9 : Neil Birtwell – 200K
Seat 10 : Steve Hagger – 110K

Andy Henson and John Devon above, along with several other players competing on the day, were similarly attired in matching black Polo T-shirts customised with the embroidered stitching ‘The Hampshire Mob’ and all play regularly at several venues close to each other in the county.

As some strategic moves were planned and executed amongst the final table players, and with all the remaining players assured of a cash prize, there were several pauses in play whilst deals were discussed for various splits of the cash prize pool, although none of the proposed deals could be agreed on by all players so the play continued at a pace.

The atmosphere was intense around the table with plenty of action hands. Nikolay as the short stack could not hold out too long and was first to leave the final table in tenth place. Mark was next to hit the rail as his A,10 all-in could not catch a pair as John Devon’s pocket 5’s held up. John Devon was particularly unfortunate as his call with A,Q shortly afterwards against Tim Brown’s A,10 all-in raise from Under the Gun resulted in Tim hitting a straight to double up and take a large part of John’s stack. Almost immediately Neil then raised all-in under the gun with A,K with John D. again calling as slight favourite with pocket Jacks, only to bust out as an Ace and a King hit the felt.

Next to be eliminated after a highly successful run in the competition were Steve and Neil, as the remaining 5 players discussed a further deal whilst the tournament clock was paused. An agreement was eventually struck giving all 5 players a guaranteed take home of well over £1,000 in cash each.

Now it just remained to be seen who would gain the title and take home the winner’s trophy. As players considered each hand carefully, and either folded or pushed their stacks over the line to either double up or bust out , the few remaining players became even fewer, as firstly Johnathan, Steve and then Graeme made an honourable exit from the tournament. So now we were heads up and it wasn’t long before the climactic final hand was dealt with Tim’s pocket 8’s holding up against Andy’s Ace with a generous round of applause from those around the final table as camera’s and mobile phones recorded the moment.

So a hearty ‘Well Done’ to Tim for taking 1st place, (and automatic entry to next year’s National to defend his title), and congratulations to especially the final table players and indeed to all competitors this year for making it such a well contested tournament played in good spirits throughout the weekends action, and we look forward to hopefully see you all competing once again at next year’s Champions Poker League National Final.


Posted by Paul 'Skinner' Skinner

Great write-up, and well done to Andy & John from The Hampshire Mob. Hopefully I'll be there to spoil your fun next year!

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