UKIPT Nottingham: Couldridge keeps cool to crush final table
If you're going to to be the last man standing from a poker tournament of 650 players, you're going to have to hit a few cards. And if you had the choice of when to start hitting them, you'd probably choose "at the final table" when it matters most of all.
Andrew Couldridge, from London, has just been crowned champion of UKIPT Nottingham, winning £80,000 as the lone survivor from four days of action at Dusk Till Dawn card room. He battled superbly throughout more than 20 hours of play, and then as the tournament entered its death throes, he could suddenly do no wrong.
When they were five-handed, Couldridge won a monster pot with pocket nines against Oliver Schaffmann's K♠J♠, and from that moment on it was a cruise. Couldridge crippled Graham Giles with A♠Q♥, then knocked out Owen Robinson with pocket sixes.
He sat back and allowed Schaffmann to eliminate Andros Spyrou in third, but returned for a short heads up battle, outdrawing Schaffmann's pocket nines with Q♠4♠. That was tournament-winning form, and Couldridge, who started the day in fourth place, was the champion in less than five hours.
"It's been a very tiring three days of ups and downs," Couldridge said. "This was my first UKIPT event, it's a very good tour with lots of play and was a very enjoyable tournament."
It's alway better when you win it too.
The full list of prizewinners is on the prizewinners page. Each of those 72 players returned a profit on their £500 buy in, but today we focused on the big money, and which of the following eight would be our new champion (final table starting stacks are in brackets):
Owen Robinson, Ireland (2,414,000)
Graham Giles, UK (1,807,000)
Andros Spyrou, UK (1,407,000)
Andrew Couldridge, UK (1,206,000)
Oliver Schaffmann, UK (1,018,000)
Piotr Majewski, Poland (639,000)
Gareth Walker, UK (506,000)
Nicholas Gavriel, UK (494,000)
Although it was cagey to start with, something soon had to give and we ended up losing Walker, Gavriel and Majewski in that order. Walker couldn't get nines to beat Schaffmann's queens; Gavriel's A♦9♦ were smashed by Giles' A♥K♥. Majewski, who had qualified for this tournament on PokerStars and travelled here from Poland, proved that he'd learnt a good deal from time blogging on the EPT. Eventually he succumbed in fifth.
At this time the chip lead was being exchanged by Giles, Robinson and Schaffman, but it soon became the Couldridge show. The father-of-seven was staring elimination in the face when he got it all in with nines, but Schaffmann couldn't win that race - and he could barely get a chip back from there. Couldridge then went on that charge all the way to the moment another pair of nines were shown. This time Schaffmann had them, they were heads up, and Couldridge smashed them up.
"Obviously I'm really happy to have got as far as I did in the tournament," said Schaffmann. "It's by far the biggest tournament and the biggest win I ever had. I'd take the scenario I had in the last hand every time. This cash will allow to play more events like this and has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to compete in these type of events."
For Couldridge, though, there's dreams of Europe. He'll be playing on the EPT next season - PokerStars added a £5,300 buy in to EPT London in addition to the cash prize here - but he's also going to follow his beloved Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League.
Couldridge said that his favourite player is Jurgen Klinsmann, which will please Schaffmann, who may have thought the champion had it in for Germans. Not so.
There ends another mighty successful tournament on the inaugural season of the UKIPT. Next stop Killarney. See you there.
Take a look back on today with these links:
And catch up with all the moving pictures at PokerStars.tv, including a chat with the winner, Andrew Couldridge:
The words this week in Nottingham have come from Howard Swains and Nick Wright. All the pictures are ©Mickey May.
Ta ta from Notts.