Duncan McLellan today won the UKIPT Isle of Man Main Event beating international hockey legend and PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo to claim the title and £94,090. It took four days for the PokerStars online qualifier McLellan, a 49-year old builder from Corby Northampton, to win the fourth leg of Season 4 of the United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour, topping a field of 379 on the home ground of PokerStars HQ. Olympic hockey legend Moreira de Melo’s runner-up spot won her £59,660.
McLellan played a big and bold style of poker throughout the tournament, switching between shunting large stacks of chips with the nuts or with complete air. At yesterday’s TV table he twice revealed two huge moves. “I ran some big bluffs yesterday to try to set the scene for today. The idea was to use my reputation and play tighter today to play some proper poker,” he said.
It’s hard to fault the tactic and McLellan understandably looked thrilled to have spun his £200 online qualification into £94,090 and a UKIPT title. And you can see who won waht by clicking here.
“Everyone here from PokerStars has been so friendly. It’s been a great weekend. I’m playing Nottingham for sure and I’m thinking about a jump to Prague (for the EPT) in December,” said McLellan.
How it played out
The final table always looked like it might warm up slowly given a fairly equal distribution of chip stacks. It took 46 hands before Andrew Topping was toppled in 8th place: his A♣Q♦ no good against Richard Milne’s A♠K♠.
By this point, the shortest starting stack of the day, Moreira de Melo, had already doubled up with aces through Daniel Stacey. Stacey and Jamie O’Connor had looked like two of the brightest talents in the latter stages, but today did not go as planned for either of them and both found themselves short. O’Connor went first in seventh (£15,810), a disappointing return on coming in today with the chip lead. He brutally lost out with A♥K♦ against McLellan’s A♦8♦ all-in pre-flop.
Stacey followed just two hands later in sixth (£21,250) after running into the aces of Moreira de Melo for the second time in as many hours. Both Stacey and O’Connor would have hoped for a higher finish, but both should be proud of their final table achievements. On a different day, either could have won.
Harry Lodge, the treasurer of the Exeter University Poker Society, went the tend hands after that for £27,600, which should go a long, long way at The Ram Bar campus watering hole. Lodge played a solid game buy just couldn’t manage to get his ace-jack to hold against McLellan’s queen-ten. Three players bust in the space of 12 hands.
Then there were four
McLellan then pulled ahead by winning a huge pot for a quarter of the chips in play. He picked off a gutsy bluff from Chris Jonat, who works for PokerStars here on the Isle of Man managing Team PokerStars Online. Jonat was representing a straight, but McLellan had one himself. Jonat’s short-stacked K♣J♠ shove was called by McLellan moments later with with A♠Q♦ and held. All credit to Jonat, the former Supernova Elite outlasted colleagues and his stable of online grinders to book a very creditable fourth place (£34,870).
“I’ll have to get some massive poster to put up over my desk and wear a crown around the office for a couple of days or something. I’m still Canadian so I’m not that good at bragging, but it’s been fun to go this far for sure,” said Jonat.
The general bonhomie of both PokerStars staff and Manx players during the event has been warming. If you were ever in doubt that PokerStars people love the game then you should have stuck your head in at the Villa Marina. They really love the game. We are poker indeed.
Deal negotiations started then quickly stalled three-handed. Richard Milne (700,000) was significantly shorter than Moreira de Melo (1,600,000) and the Dutchwoman was a long way behind McLellan (5,130,000). The refusal of the deal seemed to work out for the bigger stacks as Milne went soon after with K♠5♣ to Moreira de Melo’s pocket queens leaving a tighter two-to-one heads-up showdown.
The heads-up opponents were responsible for six of today’s seven eliminations; two for Moreira de Melo and three for McLellan. It had been quite the demolition job. The first big pot went to McLellan to further swing the title towards the recreational Northamptonshire player. Moreira de Melo made a chunky bet with K♠J♠ on the river of a 7♣7♠2♥A♦6♣ board and McLellan called with 8♣6♣. If a blank had come would McLellan have blasted the pot? Would Moreira have called with king-high? It’s an interesting one to ponder. As it was McLellan took a dominating lead again and won the ensuing flip, his A♥10♦ flopping Broadway against Moreira de Melo’s pocket fives.
Moreira de Melo is a fiercely competitive spirit and she’s adapted incredibly well from grass (or astroturf) to baize. She started the day the shortest stack and said that this morning she would have told herself, “Fourth would be nice. To run it up to second is a dream come true.”
Second place is something that Moreira de Melo didn’t handle well in her hockey days. Has poker mellowed her?
“It used to never be good enough for me. When I was playing field hockey we lost the final to Germany in 2004 at the Olympics and we were devastated. Now I’m playing poker I’ve been thinking more in terms of percentages and I can deal with loss way better than when I was an active hockey player. Whenever I’ve made the right decisions I can deal with the loss way better.”
The £59,660 runner-up prize is the largest of Moreira de Melo’s career. She was one card away from elimination two days ago. It has been quite the rollercoaster.
“It’s been incredible. The local people and PokerStars staff here have been so incredibly supportive. When I doubled up with aces I got this huge applause, it felt like I was playing in front of a home crowd. It almost got me emotional,” she said.
It has been emotional. Join us next time at the UKIPT Nottingham six-max 27 November – 2 December. Qualifiers are running online now for as little as £1.10. McLellan qualified online. Could you?
UKIPT4 Isle of Man Main Event
Date: 31 October – 4 November
Prize pool: £485,000
1. Duncan McLellan, PokerStars Qualifier, United Kingdom, £94,090
2. Fatima Moreira de Melo. Netherlands, Team PokerStars SportStar, £59,660
3. Richard Milne, United Kingdom, £43,120
4. Chris Jonat, Canada, Rational Group Staff, £34,870
5. Harry Lodge, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £27,600
6. Daniel Stacey, United Kingdom, £21,250
7. Jamie O’Connor, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £15,810
8. Adam Topping, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, £11,455
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Photos by Rene Velli.