UKIPT Series2: Gabriel Dragomir claims victory and £16,480
The decision of start of final table chip leader Gabriel Dragomir to lock up £10,000 as part of a nine way chop seemed a smart one given that by the time play was six handed he was the second shortest stack. However, the Romanian rallied, was almost even going into heads-up play with Paul Zimbler and 25 minutes later he had all the chips and an extra £6,480.
The instigator of that nine way chop was Zimbler, he was smart enough to know that with steep blinds, shallow stacks, sharp pay jumps and not a lot to choose between the stacks that a deal was the smart play. Some three way deals can take a lot of negotiating so one might think a nine way chop would be fraught with danger. But it proved relatively easy, Dragomir, who had 2,040,000 at the time (40.8 big blinds) took £10,000 and the other eight players - whose stacks varied between 675,000 and 1,410,000 - took £8,000 leaving £6,480 to play for.
The deal certainly loosened things up as in the hour following it Simon Griffin (ninth), Mark McCluskey (eighth), Michal Jaron (seventh) and David Radnor (sixth) were all eliminated. Chip wise, courtesy of doubling up twice against Dragomir, it was Zimbler who was chip leader.
Ben Miller was the shortstack at this juncture and he was next to go in a three-way all-in that got Dragomir back in the mix, the Romanian's pair of sevens holding against Miller's K♠3♠ and Craig O'Neills A♠K♥. That left O'Neill short and despite two double ups he ultimately never recovered and exited in fourth. When a few hands later Zimbler eliminated Patrik Meca in third we were heads-up.
The style of play of the two main protagonists meant that the heads-up match was never going to be a marathon, but if it were a boxing match it would've been stopped long before it ended. Zimbler was floored by punch after punch, seemingly always having the second best hand, bluffing at the wrong time or on one hand choosing not to bluff when playing the board when his opponent had just seven high. So it was almost inevitable that when the first all-in and call of heads-up play saw his K♥Q♠ up against Dragomir's pocket fours the pair would hold.
The board was bereft of paint and Dragomir's cheering section, including his cousin Catalin who finished 14th in this tournament, erupted in delight. Amazingly Dragomir, a 29-year-old businessman, who plays as a hobby entered for fun because he was visiting friends in London. And, this was only his second big buy-in tournament, he won the first one too. He now plans to play more UKIPT's and is intending to travel to Galway for the next UKIPT stop.
UKIPT Series2 Final Table Result:
1st.Gabriel Dragomir, Romania, £16,480*
2nd. Paul Zimbler, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £8,000*
3rd. Patrik Meca, Czech Republic, £8,000*
4th.Craig O'Neill, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £8,000*
5th. Ben Miller, United Kingdom, PokerStars Player, £8,000*
6th. David Radnor, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £8,000*
7th. Michal Jaron, Poland, £8,000*
8th. Mark McCluskey, United Kingdom, PokerStars Player, £8,000*
*denotes nine way deal
Of course today was not all about the final table as 131 players returned hoping to at least finish in the top 56 and make the money. Before the bubble burst we lost Tim Slater, Dale Garrard and Jerome Bradpiece to name just three. Whilst those who cashed but crashed out before the final table included: Alfie Baldwin (48th, £550), Jeff Kimber (36th, £635) and Day 1 chip leader Callum Palfrey (12th, £1,595). And Ignacio Harris, who finished 56th made the money with a single ante chip. Too see all the in the money finishers click here.
You can catch up will all today's action and the previous days by clicking on the links below.
The next UKIPT Series event takes place here at The Hippodrome September 27th-29th, whilst the UKIPT moves onto Galway for a festival that runs July 27th - August 12th. But for now that's all folks.
All photos are copyright of Neil Stoddart