The eighth season of the UK’s longest-running poker tour, the GUKPT, kicked off in style at the all-new Victoria casino in London’s Edgware Road as 323 players (including re-entries) paid the £1,080 buy-in to take part. The field was littered with big names from the UK poker circuit, including Neil Channing, PokerPlayer.co.uk blogger Sam Grafton and Toby Lewis who all failed to trouble the cashier. With the GUKPT kindly offering free glasses of wine, canapés and an evening tub of ice cream for all the players, it would have been easy to mistake the Vic for a wedding reception if the quality of poker were not so good. After a hard-fought two days the field of 323 was whittled down to just 27 who would play it out for the huge £86,400 first prize.
Many say that poker is a form game and, with recent EPT Deauville finalists Oliver Price and Harry Law, still in the late stages there was plenty of evidence to support that. While Law would eventually fall in 20th place, 23-year-old Price headlined the final table alongside other big names like cash game grinder Ben Vinson and former UK PocketFives leader Mat Frankland.
Vinson was the first to be eliminated from the final when his pocket Tens couldn’t hold up against the 8-8 of London taxi driver Alan Mansbridge. Price then eliminated his main threat, Frankland, in sixth position after a short-stacked ‘Franky’ moved all-in with Q-T and couldn’t improve against the A-J of Price. From here Price, who also has a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million and a 49th place in the 2013 WSOP Main Event to go along with his recent EPT exploits, began to take over by pummelling the table. After the eliminations of Phil Souki and Andrew Christoforou in fourth and third, respectively, the first leg of GUKPT season 8 would come down to young gun Price versus the seasoned amateur Mansbridge.
Despite being outmatched on paper Mansbridge – who won GUKPT Walsall in 2011 for £50,000 – was no soft spot. After both players couldn’t come to terms on a deal, Mansbridge clawed back a 2/1 chip deficit to get to evens before an audacious bluff attempt went wrong to hand Price the title. On a board of 8c-7c-4c-Ah Mansbridge moved all-in, giving Price a very tough decision with his Jd-8d. After a brief tank Price eventually made the call, and it was a great read as Mansbridge could only show Jc-7s for a lower pair and flush draw. Price managed to avoid being outdrawn on the 8h river to win the first major trophy of his promising career. After picking up €271k for his third place finish at Deauville in late January, Price now adds another £86k for what is a tremendous start to the year. Price said it was, ‘hard to lose when you’re running this good.’ By the looks of it, it’s also hard to lose when you play as good as the UK’s latest poker star Oliver Price.
The GUKPT now moves on to Manchester on March 2-9 for the next £1,080 main event. You can satellite in for much less at www.grosvenorpoker.com.
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Photo courtesy of GUKPT.com.
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