UKIPT5 Series 1 Final Table Levels 20-23(12,000/24,000/3,000)

7:05pm: Chris Yong is UKIPT5 Series 1 Champion!

That's it then. Chris Yong has bested his 160 competitors to reach the summit and become champion. He's been in rich form in recent times - his 5th place finish at UKIPT two months ago a taster of what was to come. Although his cash prize there exceeded 1st place here, outright victory will have perhaps tasted sweeter as his beaming face suggested.

"I've got a 100% final table record here now!" he gushed after winning, enthusiasm dripping from his every pore. Winning here has opened up opportunities for future tournaments as Yong revealed.

"I've been trying to satellite into [UKIPT] Nottingham but without success. I think I'll just buy in now," he said.

We'll see Yong at the next major stop on the UKIPT then and don't bet against this talented form horse.

We'll have a wrap of the days action up shortly, but for now thanks for following us on a fascinating day's poker and well done to Chris Yong!

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It was hard work for Yong but worth it in the end

6:45pm: It's all over!

That was a fast heads-up.

The pair first struck a deal to iron out the jump between first and second - Chris Yong taking £9,186 and Joe Pateman £7,819.

They then played on for £1,800 and the trophy and it was a whirlwind affair.

It looked like Pateman had the edge when the pair got it in on an A♥8♠9♥ board, both with draws, but Pateman's K♥J♥ a decent favourite over Yong's T♥J♠.

It held and suddenly Pateman had the 2-1 chip lead.

Yong however fought back, flopping top two with K♦Q♠ on a K♣Q♥7♣ board and picking up a full double-up when Pateman flopped top pair with K♠3♠.

Finally Yong finished him off in a cooler hand - Pateman going to war with tens preflop, only for Yong to find kings in the same hand.

"That was always going to do it," laughed Pateman as the board ran out with no help.

Just like that, we had a winner!

Pateman picks up £7,819 for his 2nd place finish. Congratulations on a fantastic run but it is Chris Yong who picks up the adjusted £10,986 for 1st place, along with the trophy and the plaudits.

He is beaming with joy at that win. Photos of the winner to follow shortly.

6:30pm: Heads - Up!
That dramatic elimination means Pateman and Yong are heads-up for the title. They are discussing deals at the moment - Yong with a 2.1 million to 1.1 million chip lead.

More news if negotiations reach some sort of conclusion...

6:22pm: Paul squeezed out (3rd)
Yong's relentless plundering of the blinds meant sooner or later someone was going to play back at him and Paul felt he was the man to do so.

Yong raised as per usual, Pateman made the call and now Paul jammed all-in for his entire stack from the big blind.

Yong elected to fold this time, but Pateman called quickly with a sneakily played pair of aces!

Paul could only table pocket eights, which were the second best hand by the time the board ran out Q♣9♣3♠J♠J♣.

All over for Paul he collects a handy £4,305 for his third place finish.


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 12,000-24,000-3,000


6:10pm: Hitchens' tilt at title crushed in 4th
Mark Hitchens has found Chris Yong virtually unplayable today, Yong making his life misery in position.

Finally he found a spot to perhaps enact a small measure of revenge, shoving his smallstack from the small blind with Q♦9♦ and Yong making a pot odds call with 4♥5♦.

Despite having the equity edge, Hitchens could only watch his hopes of finally winning a pot off Yong dissolve as the dealer found cards to better suit his opponent - the board peeling off K♥K♣5♥6♥5♣ to give Yong a winning full house.

Hitchens threw his hands up in mock despair, laughing it off, before sidling away from the table to collect the £3,105 his impressive run to 4th spot had garnered him.

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Yong is an unstoppable poker tank right now

5:50pm: Castro sees empire crumble(5th)
Jesus Castro has represented Spain with aplomb, shortstacked for virtually the entire day, he has shown the sticking power of a barnacle as he has hung in laddering spot after spot.

Finally though, his stack has been winkled off the table, Jason Pateman doing the damage.

With 174,000, and A♦9♠ Castro found an easy button shove spot and did so, Pateman rubbing his chin, before making an understandable although dominated call with A♥2♠.

The board however was kind to Pateman, running out T♠4♥3♦5♦7♥to give him the straight. A commiseratory handshake for Castro and he bows out in 5th place, good for £2,320.

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Castro boasts some epic shortstack skills


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 10,000-20,000-3,000



5:45pm: Yong on roll

Chris Yong is using his stack like a battering ram, raising almost every pot and winning 90% of them. His stack has risen to 1.4 million virtually without a showdown.

5:35pm: The chip kings

Here's how the final five line up right now, Chris Yong leading the way,

900,000 Christopher Yong Malaysia
743,000 Joseph Pateman United Kingdom
639,000 Richard Paul United Kingdom
629,000 Mark Hitchens United Kingdom
265,000 Jesus Castro Spain

5:25pm: Heron finally undone(6th)
It's not been a pleasant final for Heron card-wise.

He was unfortunate to fail to eliminate Gusetoiu earlier when his eights were undone by the Romanian's A-8 and he accidentally turned his cards face up when holding A♦J♦ in one hand versus Chris Yong.

Finally the pain is over however, his shove with Q♠9♣ picked off by Richard Paul's A♣4♣.

The board threatened redemption before denying him at the last, coming off J♣3♥2♠Q♥5♥.

"Horrible river," joked Heron as he departed with £1,745 in his pocket for his 6th place finish. Paul's spate of eliminations have seen him rise 3rd in the chip standings.

5:10pm: Gusetoiu out-kicked and kicked out in 7th
It's generally been a pretty aggressive tournament and when both Gabriel Gusetoiu and Richard Paul flopped top pair on a 3♥J♣3♣ board, neither were llikely to back down.

So it proved, the Romanian Gusetoiu betting out 50,000, Paul shoving and Gusetiou calling off his stack.

He held J♥Q♥ but was crucially outkicked by Paul's K♦J♦ and when the board bricked out Gusetiou was out in 7th place, good for £1,260.

4:50pm: Hitchens finds ladies to tumble Brabin out(8th)

A desperate Richard Brabin went for a double up with a pretty-looking A♣J♦, but when Hitchen found an even prettier looking pair of queens and re-shoved to isolate, the writing was on the wall.

A board of 4♣7♦K♠9♥Q♥ did nothing for Brabin, Hitchen even finding time to unnecessarily improve to a set.

Brabin is out first elimination, out in 8th spot where he collects £1,025. Well played sir.
4:25pm: UKIPT Series Final Table Standings
The players have had a short break to catch their breath, congratulate each other and have their picture taken. The action will resume with the chip standings as follows:

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1st - 859,000 Joseph Pateman United Kingdom

Day 1a's chip leader, 42 year old Joseph Pateman comes to the table still on top after "a good run of cards, and some decent play" kept him in pole position. He's been playing cards since the age of six, discovering poker (the 5-card Stud variety) at 18 and turning to NLHE 6 years ago. He's a multitasking casino employee in Brighton by day, but is always trying to find time to hone his live Hold'em tournament game, in which he feels most comfortable.

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2nd - 780,000 Christopher Yong Malaysia

Chris Yong is a 26 year old trainee solicitor living in London. He started playing poker at school before moving into playing online at university. He likes to play cash games on the whole, but has started including more tournaments into his game as they are fun to play.

Chris is in a rich vein of UKIPT form, having made the final table at UKIPT London in January, where he finished 5th for £24,600.

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3rd - 386,000 Richard Paul United Kingdom

This is CFO Richard Paul's second UKIPT Series final table after his 8th place last April here in London. He's looking to improve on £1,850, however, as 2014 was encouraging: he won £15,000 at Dusk Till Dawn alone. Originally a lover of all card games (especially types such as bridge), Londoner Paul, 54, has been playing poker for five years and greatly prefers live tournaments to their online counterparts.

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4th - 330,000 Jesus Castro Spain

Jesus Castro, 25, has been living in London learning English for the past four months, originally calling Granada in Spain home. Counting himself as a semi-pro poker player, he's been playing for five years and has online results including a wins in the PokerStars Big $100 and $50. His live experience includes stops on the Estrellas Poker Tour where he cashed in the Main Event in Valencia last year.

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5th - 315,000 Mark Hitchens United Kingdom

London-based Mark Hitchens, 49, works part-time as a health and safety consultant, leaving regular days open to concentrate on a game that has become a second stream of income for him, live poker. His best results have come at Dusk Till Dawn where a runner-up spot for £14,000 led to an added ticket in to the WPT, where he cashed for £6,000 the same week. He turned to poker six years ago after spending time, as he says, "Gambling in the wrong way; I quit the bookies and concentrated on a game with some skill in it!"

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6th - 287,000 Richard Heron Ireland

Richard Heron is a 30 year old financial Investor from Dublin. He's predominantly been a cash game player over the last 7 years at $2-$4 and $5-$10 levels, rarely playing MTTs. He does plan to squeeze a few more UKIPTs and maybe EPTs into his schedule in the future given his success at this tournament, however.

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7th - 113,000 Richard Brabin
Richard Brabin, 31, from Evesham in Worcestershire, has been playing poker for 10 years. He has his own catering business but loves to play live poker and although he nurses one of the short stacks on this final table will be looking to spin up a score to dwarf his previous best result, an online cash for €1,600.

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8th 103,000 Gabriel Gusetoiu Romania

Tony Gusetoiu, 28, originally hails from Romania but now lives in London making his living as a rare combination of fitness instructor and poker pro. He's been playing for two years and prefers live tournament poker, recently finding success in the £770 UKIPT London Main event this January. Another of the table's short stacks, Gusetoiu hopes to better that result by coming 5th or higher.


To read updates from the start of the day, click here.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at UKIPT5 Series 1 from The Hippodrome Casino: Rod Stirzaker. Photos courtesy of Mickey May.

Rod Stirzaker
@PokerStars in UKIPT