There’s a quote that’s displayed prominently on Elliott Panyi’s twitter page from UFC champion Conor McGregor. It says: “Doubt is removed by action. If you’re not working then that’s where doubt comes in.”
The 24-year-old professional poker player wasn’t a UFC guy until he discovered McGregor, but he definitely shares a trait with him. He’s also a work-your-socks-off kind of guy and tonight that paid off handsomely as he won the UKIPT5 Series 3 and £16,590. “I’m playing seven days a week at the moment,” he told us after his victory. In fact he was off to play in a cash game shortly after he’d posed for the winner’s photo.
It’d be a disservice to Panyi’s opponents to say that victory was never in doubt, but with 17 players left he picked up aces at the same time as opponents found kings and jacks. The result was a double knockout that left him with more than 25 per cent of the chips in play and a stack of 1,800,000. To give you some idea of how dominant that was, only two players – other than Panyi – would surpass that mark during the tournament.
By the time the final table was reached he had x2.3 the chips of his nearest rival and he only briefly lost the chip lead throughout the final table. When heads-up play began normal service had been resume as Panyi had an eight to one advantage over Azarya Levy.
His Israeli opponent had just a handful of big blinds and you sensed this wasn’t going to be a marathon heads-up. The short stack had tried – unsuccessfully – to convince his opponent’s this was his first live tournament so you knew he had some moves. But, although Levy scored one double up on the next occasion he was all in his J♥ 6♣ lost out to Panyi’s K♦ 4♣ .
When play began at noon there were 106 hopefuls all hoping to fill one of the top 47 places to secure a return on their investment. It took just over two hours to reach the bubble by which time Dominic Wells, Jeff Barron, Daniel Bland and Tim Wright, amongst others, had been sent home empty handed.
We had two all ins on different tables on the stone bubble. After Robbie O’Brien – who had been forced all in blind – survived it was time to see what would become of Shane D’Moirah. He was all-in on the turn of a 9♠ A♦ 7♦ 8♥ board with 9♣ 8♣ and in good shape against Jay Samani’s A♣ 10♥ . That is until the 10♦ fell on the river. That left the 47 remaining players in the money.
That hand propelled Samani to the chip lead, a spot he’d hold until he lost a big pot to Samuel Hunt, who became the first player to cross the million chip mark. Samani then busted in 23rd and was followed out the door shortly afterwards by Chris Gordon, who finished 20th. It was a fine performance by the Team PokerStars LIVE at The Hippodrome Casino sponsored player. A standard lost race with A♠ 10♦ against pocket eights his downfall.
The likes of Vincent Moses (19th), Day 1 chip leader Andrew King (18th) and Samuel Hunt (12th) all made deep runs but missed out on the final table. With just over 7,000,000 in play and a big blind of 50,000 by the time the final nine was reached this was never likely to be a drawn out war of attrition.
The elite eight
Nine were cut down to four in 80 minutes as Marco Erasmo (9th), Dean Perry (8th), Nicholas Case (7th), Michael Matar (6th) and Gerald Candy (5th) were sent packing. Panyi had almost half the chips in play at this point but with each pot causing a big swing the field began to close with William Funnell even overtaking Panyi briefly. Then the two of them played a huge pot.
It was total cooler with Panyi holding pocket queens to Funnell’s A♥ Q♠ when both men had around 13 big blinds each. The pair held and when the stacks were counted down Panyi had Funnell covered by less than half a big blind. It was some performance by Funnell though as the youngster hadn’t been over 15 big blinds at all on Day 2 until there were six players left.
A couple of hands later Panyi won a race to eliminate Kwokwah Man in third spot to take that huge chip lead to heads-up.