Here’s where you’ll find all our coverage from UKIPT London 2023
“No man’s land” – that’s how Newcastle’s Dylan Bradley described his life since graduating from university earlier this year with a degree in Accounting and Finance Management.
Not yet sure of the path he wants to follow, he told us yesterday he has been focusing on poker the past few months, mainly online cash games, with the odd tournament now and then.
UKIPT London was one of those odd tournaments, right at the top of Bradley’s buy-in range.
And it’s gone pretty well.
After three days of play and a dominating final table performance that saw him eliminate five of the final eight, Bradley is the champion and £71,650 better off.
“It’s great, it’s nice to win,” he told us immediately after the victory. “I just ran well on the final table, to be honest. It was nice when everyone was so short, I just got to raise every hand. It was an ideal set-up.”
His heads-up opponent, 38-year-old electrician and barber/cafe owner Stephen Cherry, also hails from Newcastle, giving us an all-Geordie heads-up.
“It was actually quite nuts,” said Bradley. “There can’t have been that many Geordies in this and yet we both came in the top two.”
This is Bradley’s first live tournament cash, and therefore his first title.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said as he prepared to take his winner’s photo. “It’s nice to get the trophy. I might start to play more tournaments now!”
The £1,100 UKIPT London Main Event event received 374 total entries across three starting flights, with each Day 1 playing down to 15% of the field. All 56 players who bagged chips could rest assured as they were already in the money.
With no hand-for-hand play, Day 2 got off to a fast start. Throughout the day we lost the likes of David Docherty, who still leads the UKIPT leader board following his Irish Poker Open victory, and Clare Wilson, an award-winning journalist who won her seat via the Ladies that Poker at the Hippodrome Facebook group. It was Wilson’s first Main Event and she absolutely smashed it, finishing in 20th place for £3,480.
Ireland’s Dan “NukeTheFish!” Wilson was our final table bubble boy, losing a big flip against Oscar Kirby-Hogarty to fall in tenth. We then lost Farid Fawzi to take us down to a final table of eight.
The rapid action continued on our final day and we lost Dohyun Kim in the first few orbits. It was a brutal bust out: ace-queen off versus Bradley’s ace-queen suited, which then hit a runner-runner flush.
Bradley did the dirty again not long after, outflipping sales director Kirby-Hogarty’s pocket queens with ace-king, and took a big chip lead.
But start-of-day chip leader Daniel Bedson kept himself in contention and played executioner next. It was the kind of spot every tournament player on a final table dreams of: you have pocket aces in the big blind, and a player shoves. That player was Eliot Granjon, a 30-year-old from Paris who now lives in London, and his hand was ace-nine off. The aces held and Granjon was out in sixth.
Bedson continued the good form to eliminate Mantas Urbonas in fifth. Urbonas is a poker pro and modest football club owner from Lithuania (“We’re only in League 5,” he told us yesterday).
Unfortunately for the 36-year-old, he was short-stacked all day. Urbonas found a few double-ups, but his event came to an end when he jammed for less than five big blinds with K♦ J♦ and was called by Bedson in the big blind with 9♦ 7♠ . He’d end up rivering a straight to take it down to four.
But Bedson’s efforts were in vain as Bradley took a big pot from him to take a huge chip lead with more than chips than his three opponents combined.
Dylan Bradley – 6.45 million
Stephen Cherry – 1.73 million
Daniel Bedson – 1.68 million
Bojidar Boiadjiev – 1.28 million
The clock was paused for some time as the quartet considered a deal, with Bradley understandably locking up a significant lion’s share. But ultimately they decided to play on.
Bedson was then the first to fall. Bradley opened and Stephen Cherry called, before Bedson shoved on the button with Q♦ 8♦ . Bradley had the goods with pocket tens and held.
Like Urbonas before him, Bojidar Boiadjiev, a 31-year-old civil engineer, had also nursed a short stack throughout this final table. He played it well, navigating his way to three-handed, but that’s where the Bulgarian’s journey came to an end.
He got it in with pocket fours, but Bradley’s run good continued as he woke up with pocket sixes and a clean runout secured the penultimate knockout.
With such a large chip deficit, Cherry really had his work cut out for him. Alas, it didn’t take long for Bradley to finish things. The two clashed on a board of 6♥ 7♠ 8♣ board, Cherry all-in with Q♥ 8♦ for top pair and Bradley calling with 9♦ 7♣ . The 5♥ hit the turn giving Bradley a straight, and the Q♣ river changed nothing.
Bradley became the champion, and life in No Man’s Land just became a whole lot more comfortable.
Check out blow-by-blow coverage from the Main Event on PokerNews.
MAIN EVENT RESULTS
UKIPT Brighton £1,100 Main Event
Dates: September 21-24, 2023
Prize pool: £359,040
UKIPT London Main Event Final Table Player Profiles
Get to know your eight finalists playing for the title and £71,650.
Thanks to Media Coordinator Jen Mason and PokerNews live reporter Matt Warburton.
Seat 1: Bojidar Boiadjiev, United Kingdom – 1,175,000
Bojidar Boiadjiev, 31, from Bulgaria, now resides in Brighton, and having cashed in the UKIPT Main Event there earlier this month (17th for £3,800) has followed the tour to London – a distance he considers reasonable to travel for a game of poker. Boiadjiev works as a civil engineer but has been interested in the game – and known how to play – since he was a teenager. He plays exclusively live no limit Hold’em tournaments and can be found at the tables every couple of weeks in his seaside hometown, but would be interested in travelling further afield should his hobby become something more profitable. His biggest previous result came from making the final table at a Grosvenor 25/50 Series event this year (£4,600) and he is already guaranteed to better that here.
Seat 2: Dylan Bradley, United Kingdom – 930,000
He might be the youngest player on the UKIPT London final table, but 22-year-old Dylan Bradley from Newcastle has four years of solid online cash game experience, not to mention a few tournaments played while at university.
This event has been a step up for the young gun (“It’s at the top of my buy-in range,” he says) but he’s put on a fine performance and now enters the final table 6th in chips.
“Since Day 2, everyone has played really good,” he says. “But I don’t feel overwhelmed or anything.”
Bradley has only just graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance Management, so isn’t sure what the future holds for him just yet. “I play poker fairly seriously, it’s all I’m doing at the moment,” he says. “But I don’t know about turning pro.”
If he takes this event down, one thing’s for sure: “I might consider playing more tournaments!”
Seat 3: Stephen Cherry, United Kingdom – 2,295,000
Stephen Cherry has only been playing tournament poker for a year but, encouraged by poker pro friends in his hometown of Newcastle (such as Marc Foggin), has started travelling to take part in live events, including August’s EPT Barcelona, where he cashed in the ESPT Main Event. Of his last five tournaments, he’s made the money in four, and his final table here in London is even more encouraging. The 38-year-old finds time between working as an electrician and running both a barber shop and café to practise his live game and said, “If I can make it, I don’t mind travelling!” Cherry started off playing cash games with friends and finds the mindset of tournaments very different: he won’t play cash in the run-up to a live event. “I take some time completely off [cash games] beforehand,” he said, “It really throws me.” Winning here would make his upcoming family trip to Mexico even better.
Seat 4: Daniel Bedson, United Kingdom – 2,485,000
Daniel Bedson has lived in Rugby for the past 19 years, where he met his wife and runs a successful drainage company. But it was South London where he grew up and first discovered poker, playing with mates and in 3-Card Brag pub games.
These days, his company is his “bread and butter” while poker is just a fun hobby, albeit one he does rather well in.
The 40-year-old doesn’t play many tournaments, preferring to focus on big private PLO cash games in Birmingham. Still, he managed to take down the GUKPT Grand Final in London last December, where he enjoyed a huge £105,000 score.
Bedson says it’s the challenge and the patience of no limit hold’em tournaments that keep him coming back. “I feel like I understand the game quite deeply,” he says. “I’m not going to lie, I expect to win every tournament I enter!”
Seat 5: Dohyun Kim, South Korea – 680,000
Dohyun Kim, a lawyer from South Korea, usually plays poker online, but makes the occasional exception to play live hold’em Tournaments. He has been in the UK with his wife for a year and is about to continue his European travels in Germany for six months.
Kim intends to seek out live poker to play in Germany, too, although finds the online game more convenient. When asked about any prior big results, he laughed and admitted, “Not really!” He does, however, have over $47,000 in live winnings, including a cash in the UKIPT London Main Event from October 2022.
“This is a good event. I’m a very happy man!” he said of the tournament his final table appearance. “I think I was very lucky,” he added, “There were several all-in spots, and every pot, I won.”
Seat 6: Mantas Urbonas, PokerStars Qualifier, Lithuania – 385,000
Lithuania’s Mantas Urbonas has adored both poker and football since he was young. Now, at just 36, he’s not only a poker professional, but the owner of a football club. “We’re only in Lithuania’s League 5,” he tells us, modestly.
It’s only been the past couple of years that Urbonas has made poker his sole source of income, but it’s been going well. He’s an online tournament regular with an average buy-in of $100 on PokerStars, plus he travels for poker at least once a month. “Usually, I just see what satellites are running and which stops I’ve never been to before, or would like to visit again,” he tells us.
Urbonas has $212,525 in live cashes, his biggest result a fourth-place finish at the Battle of Malta in 2018 for €121,500. Now he’s hoping to capture his first title. “It would accomplish some goals,” he says. “I’d like to prove to myself that I can win.”
Seat 7: Eliot Granjon, United Kingdom – 1,045,000
Eliot Granjon used to play no limit Hold’em much more regularly, but now picks and chooses from the bigger live events on his doorstep in London. Originally from Paris, France, the 30-year-old is enthusiastic about living here in the UK capital, saying, “I love it,” – both the game and the town.
He cashed in the £1,100 UKIPT London Main Event last October as well as the £2,000 Mystery Bounty (part of EPT London) that week, and on returning for the 2023 edition, has made a much deeper run.
With two tables left, a dramatic hand propelled him towards the final table: with exactly 300,000 chips, he moved all in with pocket threes. He was called by a player with pocket kings, asked the dealer for two more threes – and received them! Quad threes, with a 300k stack: “It was a sign!”
Seat 8: Oscar Kirby-Hogarty, United Kingdom – 2,250,000
Don’t be fooled by Oscar Kirby-Hogarty’s modest list of live results. The 31-year-old from Wimbledon might only have $10,488 in live earnings, but he only plays two or three live events in London a year. It’s on the virtual felt where he plays most of his poker, and he’s enjoyed several good online results lately.
“I’ve had a couple of deep runs live but nothing serious…yet!” he says with a smile. “Hopefully this could be it.”
He’s now in a great position to make that happen. Kirby-Hogarty is a sales director by day but has been playing online poker for around 11 years. It’s a huge passion of his.
“It would be great to win an event like this,” he says. “To be honest, for me, it’s more about the achievement than the money. I’m fortunate with my job and stuff. But to go on and win this would be a big achievement.”
Dominik Gruszka’s Intellectual Adventure
Poland’s Dominik Gruszka has been dreaming about playing live poker for around half his life.
It started when he began playing home games with friends at high school. It intensified a couple of years ago when he was watching the European Poker Tour (EPT) and PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) broadcast on TV.
And it really reached boiling point earlier this year, when PokerStars unveiled the Power Path.
“I only really play satellites, either for big online tournaments or to live events,” says Gruszka, a 33-year-old insurance broker from Poznań. “Poker is more about the experience for me. If I win, I want to win big.”
There’s never been a better route for making that dream come true than Power Path, so Gruszka focused on winning his way to his very first live poker tournament.
He played around 20 $11 Step 3 tournaments and made it through to three $109 Step 4 qualifiers. Things worked out on his fourth attempt and he secured himself a Silver Pass worth $2,500.
“I thought about using it for Barcelona but it was only three days after I won the Silver Pass so it would have been a bit crazy to go to the EPT!” says Gruszka. “I’ve been to London before but the dates just fit for me.”
HOW DID IT GO?
“It’s all a big adventure for me and I’m really happy to be here,” says Gruszka on dinner break from the £330 Cup event.
That means he’s no longer in the £1,100 Main Event, but he did manage to secure a payday, busting in 50th place for £1,750.
Gruszka says he had lots of ups and downs throughout the event, but he’s really just happy he didn’t “embarrass himself”.
“I was afraid I would bust in the first few hands,” he says. “I told everyone at work and in my family that I was going on a big adventure to play a big tournament and I was afraid that I would be eliminated in the first few hours and feel ashamed.”
He absolutely smashed it, making it through to Day 2, albeit short-stacked.
“My goal was to reach a good position, not even a paid position, but just a good position,” he says. “So when I reached the money, I felt like I’d already made it.”
Now he’s hoping for another good position in the Cup. “I’m really happy because the Main Event was my first tournament,” he says. “If I can get to the second day of this tournament I will be very proud of myself.”
NERVOUS? DON’T BE. IT’S JUST AN ADVENTURE.
If you’re hoping to follow in Gruszka’s footsteps and win a Power Path Pass to a live event, you might also feel a bit nervous about the prospect of sitting at a poker table for the first time.
Gruszka, like his fellow qualifier Andrew Ferrall (whom we spoke to earlier this week), admits he was a bit shaky at first.
“But when you win a couple of hands and see that other players are on a similar skill level to you, I felt more confident,” he says.
So don’t be nervous. Just think of it the way Gruszka does.
“It’s the adventure that I’m seeking the most,” he says. “This has been like an intellectual vacation for me. I love it.
“It was my dream to play live poker and it’s so cool. I’m just happy to be here. If I have the possibility to play events like this from time to time thanks to Power Path, it would be great. Something different!”
Clare Wilson: The award-winning journalist cashing her maiden Main Event
Never have we dotted more i’s, crossed more t’s, and gone through an article with more fine-tooth combs.
That’s because our most recent interviewee, London local Clare Wilson, is an award-winning journalist for New Scientist magazine, where she focuses on medicine, health policy, neuroscience, archaeology and the life sciences.
Essentially, she could write this post far better than we ever could.
But today, Wilson is leaving the reporting to us as she’s deep in the UKIPT London Main Event, for which she won a seat via an interesting route.
Wilson won her £1,100 entry by topping the ‘Ladies that Poker at the Hippodrome’ Facebook group’s leaderboard, after doing well across four monthly events. Ten finalists then played a Flip and Go and Wilson was the last woman standing.
“It was a bit of luck really,” she tells us. “But it was fun!”
A PLEASANT SURPRISE
Like many qualifiers we speak to at these events, Wilson had trepidation about playing her first £1,100 buy-in tournament, even though she was freerolling. So much so that she considered backing out completely.
But she’s glad she didn’t. She’s in the money on Day 2 and down to the final three tables, with 24 players remaining.
“I’m so pleased,” she says. “I was very surprised to even make Day 2, so just being here now is a bonus.”
You’d never guess this was Wilson’s first major live tournament. She ended Day 1B with a very healthy 189,000, despite weathering lots of ups and downs. “It’s been a real learning experience,” she says.
“I’m really glad I did it. I’m not long for this world but I’ve had a great time and it’s been great fun.”
“I’LL NEVER STOP GOING”
We’d heard a rumour that Wilson only learned poker six months ago, but she’s quick to point out that that’s not entirely true.
She’s actually been playing home games with friends for years and even played some games online during the lockdowns. But it was six months ago that she started to play live tournaments at the Hippodrome, as part of the Ladies that Poker at the Hippodrome group.
“When I play with friends at home, we have a lot of fun,” Wilson says. “We follow the rules, but it’s more of a social event which is great. I kind of prefer that actually because, for me, poker is about having a good evening with my mates rather than just being very serious.
“The good thing about the once-a-month Ladies’ Night at the Hippodrome is that it’s almost a halfway house. You do take it seriously and learn proper strategy, but actually, for whatever reason, we’re all talking a lot and having a lot of fun on those nights.
“I love that and I’ll never stop going to it.”
WE’RE IN THE MONEY…
It’s Day 2 of the UKIPT London Main Event and for most tournaments, that would mean a looming bubble hanging over (and slowing down) proceedings.
But not today. All three Day 1 flights played down until just 15% of the field remained, and that means that if you managed to bag chips, you were already guaranteed a cash.
The payouts and prize pool (£374,000) have just been announced so here’s a look at what the final table will play for:
1 – £71,650
2 – £44,700
3 – £31,930
4 – £24,550
5 – £18,870
6 – £14,510
7 – £11,160
8 – £9,200
9 – £7,650
All 56 players who made it through to Day 2 had a min-cash of £1,720 locked up.
The plan today is quite simple: reach a final table.
But who’s still in?
Ireland’s Keiran Davey is chip leading, but chasing his tail are UKIPT Brighton runner-up Dominik Nitsche and third place finisher Adam McKola, UKIPT leader board frontrunner David Docherty, former WSOP finalist Nick Marchington, and Irish Open 2016 champ Dan “NukeTheFish” Wilson, to name but a few.
It could be a long day, but it’s sure to be an exciting one. Follow the action at the links below.
You can find them in The Club…unless there’s a PokerStars event running
If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that the hosts of The Club podcast – described as “the most exclusive football show on the internet” – prefer a game of cards to a game of footy.
Adam McKola, Rory Jennings, and Lawrence Bury (aka Buvey) are all in the big smoke for UKIPT London, as is podcast producer Elliott Hackney, and all four have played the £1,100 Main Event.
Who’s still in? We’ll get to that in a moment.
It seems that McKola’s incredible run in the UKIPT Brighton Main Event earlier this month has inspired the group. McKola finished in third place out of 352 entries to win £30,110, just two years after learning the game.
“A lot of my learning simply comes from watching a lot of poker,” McKola told us, citing PokerStars Team Pros Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg, Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot, and Fintan “easywithaces” Hand as the streamers he’s learned the most from.
“Seeing what other people are doing, hearing what they’re thinking,” he continued. “When Spraggy talks through a hand and his decisions, you pick up stuff.”
Fresh off that score, McKola is now in a good position to make another deep run here in London. He was the sole member of The Club to play Day 1A yesterday, and he made it through with a stack of 193,000 – eighth out of 18 survivors.
HE’S ONLY GONE AND DONE IT!
We’ve made day 2 of the #UKIPTLondon Main Event with a stack of 193,000 chips.
— Adam McKola (@AdamMcKola) September 22, 2023
McKola’s Brighton result might win with recency bias, but let’s not forget that at the beginning of the month, it was Jennings who flew The Club flag at EPT Barcelona.
The podcaster, former actor, and now poker player cashed the Main Event for €15,550, finishing in 128th place.
Jennings is still in at the time of writing, and doing rather well, too. He’s got around 60,000.
Hackney is still plugging away too with slightly above the 30,000 starting stack.
But unfortunately for Buvey, he busted before the dinner break.
For now, The Club is one member short…at least until tonight’s Day 1C flight.
Andrew Finnie: From micros to pub games and now UKIPT London
As a chiropractor in Westcliff-on-Sea, Andrew Finnie is used to fixing other people’s pain points. But last year, while playing at the Summer Festival Malta as an online qualifier, he realised he needed to fix one of his own.
“I felt a bit outclassed,” he tells us. “But then again, I wasn’t very good.”
He then bubbled two events at the Hippodrome Casino and knew something had to change. A friend of his went on to win one of those events and told him he’d recently joined a training site, so Finnie followed suit and for the best part of 18 months, he’s been working hard to improve.
It’s paid off big time.
Not only is he here at UKIPT London because of a Silver Pass won via the Power Path (“I think it was the second week of the promotion,” he says. “I got in there right away!”) but he also feels right at home at the £1,100 Main Event tables.
“Today I feel comfortable,” he says on a break. “I’ve been studying a lot.”
FINNIE’S NOT FINISHED WITH POWER PATH YET
Finnie’s infatuation with poker began around 15 years ago. He started playing micro stakes online before moving on to pub games and eventually live competitions in casinos.
He’s had some success too, despite his claims that he wasn’t very good as recently as last year.
He took down a £220 buy-in event for £9,700 in 2018 and managed to qualify online for Malta in 2022, where he enjoyed the experience of playing a PokerStars event. “That was great, really, really good,” he says. “They are definitely better overall, there’s a difference.”
Qualifying for live events is something Finnie plans to do a lot more in the future, thanks to Power Path. “I’m still trying to get more,” he says. “I’ve got a couple of $109 Step 4 tickets on my account.”
And there’s one destination in particular he has his heart set on.
“EPT Barcelona for sure,” says Finnie. “I used to live there so I have a special place in my heart for that place. I’ve also never been to Prague so I might fancy that, but I definitely want to go back to Malta next year.”
That’s the beauty of Power Path. Win the Pass and the world is your oyster.
Daniel Craig: No time to bust
Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond is responsible for millions of people getting into poker.
The poker scenes from Casino Royale – regardless of their absurdity (seriously, if you’ve forgotten, go watch them again) – are the most viewed poker videos on YouTube and inspired a wave of players to take up the game.
“I mean, he looked cool,” said UKIPT Blackpool qualifier Allistair Brown when we spoke to him in July. “I wanted to look cool!”
Now here we are at UKIPT London, and Daniel Craig is playing Day 1B of the £1,100 Main Event.
OK, so it’s a different Daniel Craig, but our one is looking pretty darn cool himself.
That’s because the 38-year-old from near Liverpool feels like he’s freerolling.
“I won a Silver Pass for $11 on my third attempt,” he tells us. “I’m really happy with that.”
It was around four years after Casino Royale’s 2006 release that Craig started playing online poker seriously.
“I had a really good 2010-2012 era, but then relationships happened and so on, and I just stopped playing really,” he says. “I guess it was during the lockdowns that I started dabbling again as I had more time.”
He didn’t run great at first, but his luck has really turned around this year, most recently with a Power Path win for a $2,500 Silver Pass. That not only gives him buy-ins to the UKIPT London Main Event and £330 Cup, but also money for expenses, plus exclusive experiences and merchandise at the festival.
“The $11 Step 3 events with the 50 seats guaranteed to the $109’s are a great shout, there’s a lot of value in those for sure,” he says.
QUANTUM OF SWEARING
Craig, a project manager in the insurance field, has only played a handful of live tournaments in his life, all of which were local events for a maximum of a couple of hundred quid.
“This is by far the biggest event I’ve ever played,” he says. “I think if this was my first ever live tournament I’d be sweating it a bit, so I’m glad I popped my cherry a bit earlier.”
It’s the first break of the day when we speak to Craig and things are going well so far. He’s up to 55,000 chips from the 30,000 starting stack, having knocked out an opponent with a set over set.
“It’s a good bit of adrenaline,” he says. “I’d kick myself if I played too cautiously. I’m on a freeroll here basically, from an $11 buy-in, so I’m just going to play like I would at home.
“I’ll pretend I’m in front of the computer…but I’ll try not to swear as much!”
MATTHEW FERRALL AND THAT “BLOODY FREEROLL SPIN AND GO”
Some qualify online via direct satellites. Others grind their way up through the Power Path. And a few even trek down to the poker room and book a seat through a live qualifier.
Yep, there are many ways to qualify for an event like UKIPT London.
Matthew Ferrall used none of them.
“It was a bloody freeroll Spin and Go!” he says, chuckling with disbelief. “I didn’t even realise I’d won!”
You’re probably as intrigued as we were upon hearing this news.
How do you end up playing for such a huge prize, one you didn’t even know you were playing for, in a game you never usually play?
HOW IT STARTED
London local Ferrall, a 41-year-old IT business owner originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, was sat at home playing his regular $1/$2 cash games on PokerStars.
This was fairly normal. He used to play home games with friends, and would occasionally dabble in live cash games at London casinos, but aside from a $250 buy-in event in Las Vegas one time, he doesn’t usually play tournaments.
Anyway, grinding away, he was awarded a $0.50 ticket to the Power Path Step 1 Spin & Go. Again, this is completely normal. Every player on PokerStars who plays a real-money hand of poker gets one daily.
So Ferrall used the ticket. Normally, the prizes in the $0.50 Spins are $1 or $1.50 Power Path Step 2 tickets. That’s what he was expecting.
But then something definitely not normal happened.
A PLEASANT SURPRISE
The first-place prize in Ferrall’s three-handed Spin & Go wasn’t $1 or $1.50. It wasn’t even an $11 Step 3 or $109 Step 4 ticket.
It was a Silver Pass worth $2,500.
“I honestly didn’t know what it meant,” he says with a smile.
Now Ferrall is battling in the £1,100 UKIPT London Main Event, and it’s going alright so far, considering he says he was shaking for the first hour of play.
“The poker, I’m used to. It’s the live action I’m not used to yet,” he admits. “I was down a bit but I just doubled back up to starting stack.”
Winning the Silver Pass is the biggest prize of Ferrall’s poker life, so anything he wins here will overtake it.
“I have no idea what the first prize is going to be but it’s going to be huge,” he says. “It’s pretty hard to know what it would mean to me to win it until it actually happens.
“The money would be great but I think more importantly it would just be great to win a tournament. My friends wouldn’t believe me!”
Carl Thompson wins BillyChip Charity Event
A fantastic charity event took place on Wednesday night at UKIPT London, raising more than £3,000 for BillyChip, a social enterprise platform working to empower rough sleepers.
The £220 buy-in event – of which £50 from each entry was donated to the charity – received 44 entries, creating a £9,680 prize pool that was to be split between six players.
PokerStars commentator James Hartigan reached the final table before bowing out in sixth, but it was social media influencer Carl Thompson who took it down for £2,280.
Thompson, a men’s fashion and grooming influencer and founder of Hawkins and Shepherd Shirts, plays a lot of online poker, telling us that Home Games got him through the lockdowns. He then attended the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas in January 2023 and has focused on improving his game ever since.
But this is his first over-the-table win in the good ol’ brick-and-mortar, and it couldn’t have been for a better cause.
“I just enjoy it,” he said. “Even the 2am finish! I could’ve gone until 5am…”
Speaking of style, players were welcomed in style by suave comedian Troy Hawke, who then took part in the tournament. Hawke, the “moustachioed motivator of the high street”, rose to fame with his viral videos of his work with the Greeters Guild – for whom he is the founding (and currently sole) member. If you’ve never seen them, they’re well worth a watch.
Others who showed up to play include Thomas Skinner, a contestant from the fifteenth series of The Apprentice, and friend of PokerStars, Marle Spragg.
Players came for the poker. They stayed for the cupcakes. And they left knowing they’d help make a difference. An excellent time all around.
PokerStars announced its partnership with The BillyChip Foundation earlier this month, helping to provide care and support to homeless people in the UK.
The charity will receive a grant of £100,000 from PokerStars over a two-year period, which will allow rough sleepers in the UK the chance to purchase basic needs.
BillyChip is a social enterprise platform which aims to empower rough sleepers. The platform allows people to purchase a BillyChip from participating food and drink outlets which can then be given to rough sleepers and homeless people as an alternative to cash.
They can then redeem BillyChip for food, drink and other products.
BillyChip was set up in 2018 to continue the legacy of Billy Abernethy-Hope, a twenty-year-old ambulance driver from Bristol. After helping support the homeless, Billy felt disheartened at how little the general public gave to local homeless people.
Although many make regular charitable donations, Billy was surprised at the small percentage of donations given directly to people living rough for fear of the money being used for drugs or alcohol.
BillyChip offers a solution, extending compassion, connection and choice to homeless people in the UK.
The BillyChip Foundation was established as a registered charity by Meg Abernethy-Hope, Billy’s sister, and Jon Hope, Billy’s father. In 2021, Meg was awarded the Diana Award for her charitable work.
Jack Gascoigne was one of Billy’s closest friends and now acts as Communications Director for BillyChip. “We started with nine coffee shops in Bristol,” he said. “Then, when it was picked up by the media, we rapidly rose to 60 outlets. So, we quit our jobs – and then lockdown happened! But we’re still here – now with over 500 [participating businesses].”
You can view a photo gallery from the event here.
SIDE EVENT RESULTS
Event 3 – £220 Freezeout
Dates: September 19, 2023
Prize pool: £17,200
Event 6 – £220 Charity event for Billy Chip (£50 from each entry donated)
Dates: September 20, 2023
Prize pool: £9,680
Event 5 – £2,200 High Roller
Dates: September 20-21, 2023
Prize pool: £116,000
Event 12 – £330 Cup
Dates: September 23-24, 2023
Prize pool: £76,800
Event 13 – £220 Freezeout
Dates: September 23, 2023
Prize pool: £12,800
Event 14 – £220 Women’s Event
Dates: September 24, 2023
Prize pool: £9,200
Event 15 – £220 Bounty
Dates: September 24, 2023
Prize pool: £13,100
Event 16 – £550 Deepstack
Dates: September 24, 2023
Prize pool: £14,000
While every UKIPT stop is headlined by its flagship events — the £1,100 Main Event, £2,200 High Roller, and £330 Cup — there are plenty of side events plus cash games running 24 hours a day.
You’ll find the full UKIPT London schedule here.
£2,200 UKIPT London High Roller
£1,100 UKIPT London Main Event
£330 UKIPT Cup
UKIPT London is taking place at London’s Hippodrome Casino.
Address: The Hippodrome Casino London, Cranbourn St, London WC2H 7JH, United Kingdom
Telephone number: +44 20 7769 8888
Dress Code: Smart casual
Minimum Age: 18
NB: Photo ID is required for entry and all players must be members of the Hippodrome Casino
LATEST FROM THE UKIPT
It feels like only yesterday we were wrapping up our coverage of UKIPT Brighton.
It was there that Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg captured his first major live title, defeating a 352-entry field to win the £1,100 Main Event for £69,120 and the big, shiny trophy he’s displayed proudly on his Twitch stream ever since.
The PokerStars Team Pro told us after his victory: “It’s unbelievable. I’m lost for words. I’m genuinely really emotional. I didn’t think I would be because there was such a good atmosphere at the final table, it didn’t feel like a final table.
“I no longer feel like an online guy who plays a bit of live. I’m just a poker pro.”
UKIPT BRIGHTON OFFICIAL SITE
The PokerStars Live official page, with everything you need to know about the tournament series in London.
FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
There are events across the UKIPT London tournament series. Here’s the day-by-day schedule.
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