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CPL National Final 2015

Champions Poker League, the UK's #1 Pub Poker League
Players from all over the country came to Sheffield Genting Casino to play in the Champions Poker League National Final at the weekend, for the chance to win a share of the £10,000 cash prize fund.

After 2 days of play, it was Vanessa Farley from the Dragon Pub in Peterborough, who successfully lifted the trophy and became the Champions Poker League National Final Champion 2015! Vanessa is a seasoned pub poker player, she plays three nights a week at the Dragon in Peterborough and also at the Cock Inn. This experience proved to be invaluable, as she took down the coveted National Final first place. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, she was very low stacked coming onto the final table and commented all she had was a “chip and a chair”!

Final placings for all signed out players and the pictures taken on the day can be found here.

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

The setting for the National Final was the Genting Casino in Sheffield, which was only opened 3 years ago and provided a great backdrop to this exciting event. Players started arriving about 10am and by 1pm we had everyone seated and ready to go. After a few quick announcements we kicked off at 1.10pm and it was quickly down to the serious business of playing poker!

First out of the tournament was John Bown, who plays at the Marigold in London and then quickly after Harvey Clements from the Sedgley Park Rugby Club bust out. A sigh of relief could be felt around the card room as no-one wants to be first out!

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 hand.

Play continued at a pace and after the lunch break we had a quick succession of players busting out of the tournament. Play was so quick that at about 6pm we had a show of hands from the players and decided to continue on through to 7.30pm instead of playing down to 80 players as had previously been announced. This meant everyone would have time to get to a TV screen to watch the Rugby or play in the 8pm Genting Casino poker tournament. Play continued and we got down to 47 players, where the tournament was stopped and everyone left in invited back for day two.

Day 2
With the tournament starting again the following day at 12.30pm, there were some sore heads after the night before and those that had supported England in the Rugby felt a little hard done by!

With the average chip stack at 44,000 there were a few players who stood out. Dave Mee from the Heathcote Arms in Leicestershire had a massive 159,300 chips, closely followed by Wayne Sumner from the Ley Inn in Chorley with 147,800 chips. Unfortunately at the other end of the scale was Michael Masko from the Bell Hotel in Bury St. Edmunds who had a less than impressive 5,100 chips; this meant he had to make a move straight away or he would be blinded out. Unfortunately Michael’s luck wasn’t with him and he exited the tournament after about 5 minutes of it restarting!

Another to fall quickly was Pat ‘Poker Nan’ Nicholson from the Crown and Horseshoe in Bristol. She had travelled up on the morning but got caught in traffic and so was about 20 minutes late for the re-start. After sitting down and getting dealt pocket Kings, she went all in, only to find she was up against pockets Ace’s, which held. She exited the tournament after playing only 3 x hands!

As play progressed, we eventually got down to the final 16 players with the top 15 being paid – we were onto the ‘bubble’. After a suggestion from one of the players, Martin Early, a vote was cast by the players to allocate £5 from each of the other prize levels to fund a special ‘bubble prize’, meaning that this person would at least walk away with £75, rather than nothing. This was a great gesture from the players, since being the bubble can be soul destroying. Emilia Waczynska from the Black Horse in Hounslow was next to exit and thankfully picked up her £75 consolation prize.

Players exiting the tournament thereafter were:

15th - Peter Cooper from the Old White Hart in Hampshire - £145
14th - Ian Stanford from the Fox Inn in Tamworth - £155
13th - Ben Walker from the Sun in Covent Garden - £165
12th - Ian Todd from the Abbotsford Lounge Bar in Perth - £175
11th – Wayne Sumner from the Ley Inn in Chorley - £185

Final Table
The final table of 10 x players took their seats and fairly quickly after the re-start, there was another suggestion, again from Martin Early. This second suggestion was that everyone at the final table share the prize pool between them, meaning that everyone would receive £900, with the winner getting £1,000. This would take the pressure off and everyone could still play down to the winner, but would mean they all walk away with a good amount of money. One could point out that Martin was actually the lowest chip stack at this point, so it would be in his interest, but we live in a democracy, so the vote was cast and agreed by all!

This deal freed play up instantaneously and this was probably the fastest final table that we have ever had at a National Final. Players were exiting quickly with the results as below:

10th - Martin Early from the King Street Run in Cambridge - £900 (and the luck of the Irish for getting the deal done!)
9th - Duane Smith from Bar Red in Norfolk - £900
8th - Lee Bailey from the Villager in Kent - £900
7th – Raitis Zomerovskis from the Abbey Inn in Arbroath - £900
6th - Gillian Peal from the Caledonian Bar in Perth - £900
5th - Phil Stockwell from the Perth Poker Club in Perth - £900
4th - Barry Dower from the Malling Town Club in Kent - £900
3rd - Dave Mee from the Heathcote Arms in Leicestershire - £900

And then we reached the final two players…………..Vanessa Farley from the Dragon in Peterborough and David Palmer from the Market House Inn in Devon. Vanessa had about twice as many chips as David and bear in mind she had started the final table with one of the smallest chip stacks, this was testament to how well she was playing.

Heads-up didn’t take too long, after only a few hands it was clear that Vanessa would be using her chip stack advantage by raising David at every opportunity and so ‘stealing’ the blinds. David had to wait till the right hand and then go for it. The final hand came when David pushed all in with 6, 2 off and Vanessa called with K,10 off. With the flop showing 8,8,10 this gave Vanessa a commanding position with 2 x pair. The turn showed a 4 and the river a 9, which didn’t help either player and so Vanessa was pronounced the Champions Poker League National Final Winner.

So a hearty well done to Vanessa for taking 1st place and congratulations to the top 16 players for making it into a cash position. Indeed congratulations to all competitors for making it such a well contested tournament, which was played in good spirits throughout the weekend. We look forward to hopefully seeing you all competing once again at next year’s Champions Poker League National Final.

One last point to mention, is that we changed the rules slightly this year which we forgot to announce on the day. We will be inviting ALL the FINAL table players back next year to the National Final in 2016 to try to defend their positions. We felt it was only fair to increase this from just the winner previously to the whole final table, so look forward to seeing these players again next year.

Champions Poker League





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