Happy Monday for Matthew McDerra, UKIPT Manchester champion
PokerStars qualifier Matthew McDerra has emerged victorious from a 615-strong field to pocket a first prize payday of £74,000. After a lightning-quick start to the final table, in which six players were eliminated within the first three hours, McDerra and fellow PokerStars qualifier Matuesz Warowiec fought out a six-hour heads up battle.
During what was by far the longest heads up contest in UKIPT history, the chip lead swung back and forth multiple times with neither player able to seal the deal. Finally something had to give and in the defining hand McDerra flopped trip fives and Warowiec top pair with a king kicker. All the chips flew in and McDerra's hand held up. This reduced Warowiec to just half a big blind and it was all over the next hand when McDerra made a straight.
If there's one word to describe McDerra's performance at the final table, it's 'solid'. He started the final sixth in chips with 792,000, built his stack patiently and then found a perfect spot, holding pocket aces against Owen Shiels' A♣K♥ to double up to 2,250,000. Minutes later McDerra eliminated Shiels in seventh place, he also would eliminate Mick Fletcher in fourth place and Rob Angood in third.
He took the lead into heads-up play but soon found himself in trouble losing a large pot with trip aces, when Warowiec had the same hand but a better kicker. Unperturbed he knuckled down and doubled up, but he then found himself one card away from elimination.
Holding pocket kings to Warowiec's A♠T♦ all the chips flew in on a J♦9♠Q♥ flop, the K♣ turn gave Warowiec a straight but McDerra a full-house re-draw, "Pair the board," he implored of the dealer and he duly obliged delivering the 9♥. After this the chip lead swung back and forth for another three hours before McDerra put the tournament to bed.
Polish PokerStars qualifier Matuesz Warowiec more than played his part in the heads-up battle and indeed the final table. Coming in as the chip leader he was seemingly involved in every hand and was at times steamrolling the table. In particular he had a hex on Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly taking numerous pots from the Englishman and leading us to nickname him the 'Polish Robin Hood'. Such was his dominance in the early stages he had a third of the chips in play when there were seven players left. During heads-up play he had McDerra all-in and at risk four times but just couldn't get the job done.
Coming into the final table today most observers would've made Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly the favourite; he was second in chips and the most experienced of the remaining eight. Kelly also had the distinction of being the first Team Pro to make a UKIPT main event final table. However, nothing went right for the 25-year-old, two-time WSOP bracelet winner and he failed to win a single hand at the final table. His nemesis, Matuesz Warowiec, took four big pots from Kelly in the opening hour of play. A short-stacked Kelly moved all-in with A♥3♣ from late position and couldn't get there against Rob Angood's pocket jacks. Still, a decent fifth place and £16,000 can be added to Kelly's burgeoning resume.
Others who played their part today before exiting the stage were Michael Birt (8th, £7,200), Owen Shiels (7th, £9,500), Paul Nash (6th, £12,600), Mick Fletcher (4th, £20,300) and Robert Angood (3rd, £27,600). But the final table will be remembered for the epic heads-up contest between two PokerStars qualifiers who both wanted the title and the trophy as much as the cash. "It still hasn't sunk in," said McDerra in the aftermath of the final table.
It's been another epic UKIPT event and the tour now rolls on to Cork where the main event runs between May 18th-22nd, five players have already qualified online and satellites are running on pokerstars.com now. You could be the next PokerStars qualifier to claim a UKIPT title.
1st. Matthew McDerra, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier £74,000
2nd. Mateusz Warowiec, Poland, PokerStars qualifier, £43,500
3rd. Robert Angood, United Kingdom, £27,600
4th. Mick Fletcher, United Kingdom, £20,300
5th. JP Kelly, United Kingdom, Team PokerStars Pro, £16,000
6th. Paul Nash, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, £12,600
7th. Owen Shiels, Ireland, £9,500
8th. Michael Birt, United Kingdom. PokerStars player, £7,200
To review the day's action click on the links below or you can click here to navigate to coverage from the entire event. If you'd like to see the full list of the 81 players that made the money then click here.
All images should be credited to Neil Stoddart to whom copyright is retained. He has a small army of minions browsing the web night and day and will strike down with furious vengeance on anyone who uses his images without crediting him.