GUKPT Bolton Report
Champion Clarke Follows in Father’s Footsteps
Michael Clarke has emulated his father Brian by becoming a GUKPT champion, taking home £20,000 for coming out on top of a field of 133 in Bolton.
The 22-year-old barman from Blackpool beat Todd Robinson heads up, the winning hand seeing his pocket eights hold against Todd’s A-9, rivering a set on a dry board to emphasise the victory.
Brian Clarke, who works with Michael on Blackpool’s Central Pier, took down GUKPT Blackpool in 2008 for £96,500, and son Michael’s victory makes them the first father and son champions in GUKPT history.
“When my Dad won in 2008 he rang me up to tell me he’d won it. I told him ‘I’ll win it next year’ and now I’ve finally done it,” said the new champ afterwards.
“Poker has evolved from the stone ages of 2008 when it was easier. Now I’ve won in 2013 it makes me the best in the house even though my Dad and brother still think they’re the best.
“My brother Paul has updated every GUKPT since they began, but even if he did play one he’s not good enough to win one!”
Despite plenty of competition from other events, the £50,000 guarantee was easily beaten with 89 players turning up for day 1B at the Grosvenor G Casino Bolton, joining the 44 who paid the £500 +£50 entry fee on day 1A to make the 133 field.
Liam Batey ran up a massive stack of over 200,000 to lead 49 players through to day two and was still going strong when a lengthy bubble eventually burst.
Dean Aldred was the unfortunate 14th place finisher, with 13 places paid. He got it all-in preflop with A-J but James Conway picked up a pair of kings behind and Dean didn’t hit.
With short stacks aplenty, it wasn’t long until the field played down to the following final table, led by chipleader Michael:
Seat One – Todd Robinson – 537,000
Seat Two – Don Alpert – 212,500
Seat Three – Mark Dyson – 230,500
Seat Four – Allan McLean – 202,500
Seat Five – James Conway – 142,000
Seat Six – Martin Hogarty – 189,500
Seat Seven – Liam Batey – 191,500
Seat Eight – Kerry O’Connor – 399,000
Seat Nine – Michael Clarke – 602,500
Martin Hogarty was first to leave us, losing a race with A-K against Michael’s pocket tens. Martin departed with £1,500 for his ninth place finish.
Soon afterwards our day one chipleader Liam Batey departed in eighth, with eventual runner-up Todd playing the executioner.
Liam’s A-Q looked to have flopped well on a Q-9-2 board, but Todd had flopped a set of nines, and the ex-professional BMX racer had to leave with £2,000.
Soon afterwards Todd was at it again, ironically winning a race with A-Q versus James Conway’s pocket threes. A queen-high flop was enough to see the end of James, who won £2,660 for finishing seventh.
Michael was still chipleader, but was not having it all his own way. First he doubled up Allan McLean, losing a flip with A-K versus jacks, before taking his first nasty beat against Mark Dyson.
Mark opened with A-J and four-bet all-in after Michael reraised him for the umpteenth time. This time Michael had it, snap-calling with pocket aces, but Mark found a way out of it, making a straight on a K-Q-5-T-2 board to double up.
Our only female final tablist, Kerry O’Connor, departed in sixth place with £3,320 in her back pocket. Once again Todd was the vanquisher, winning a flip with pocket fives against Kerry’s A-K.
Within five minutes we were down to four, with Michael’s fortunes seemingly turning round as he handed a bad beat to Don.
Michael check-raised all-in on an 8-7-5 flop with just A-J high, prompting Don to make an excellent call with pocket fours. A jack on the turn sealed his fate however, and he was out in fifth for £4,330.
However, it soon became clear if Michael was going to win this tournament he would have to do it the hard way, as Mark cracked his aces for a second time!
Michael opened to 33,000 and Mark moved all-in over the top. Again Michael snap-called with aces and again Mark needed lots of help, this time with K-J.
The flop came K-8-7, giving him some hope, and the 10 on the turn gave him more. Still, the nine on the river that filled the straight brought gasps from the rail as Michael again saw his pocket rockets lose.
Unperturbed, Michael got straight back on the horse, and won an amazing hand to knock Allan McLean out in fourth.
With the Qs-Qc-Jc flop and Kc turn checked through, there was little sign of the fireworks the 10 of clubs on the river created.
Allan led out for 50,000, Michael moved all-in and Allan quickly called. On their backs, and Allan showed Jd–9c for a straight flush. Michael could beat that though, showing Ad-Ac for a royal flush!
A dejected Allan left with £5,480 for his fourth place.
Michael finally got his man at the third time of asking when he knocked Mark Dyson out in third for £8,810.
Todd opened the pot from the button, Mark three-bet shoved and Michael re-shoved from the big blind.
Todd reluctantly passed K-Q face up, which looked bad news for Michael, as he had the same hand. However, it was Mark who needed to hit, with his T-J suited behind, and a dry board meant king-high was good as Mark completed an excellent week – he won Monday’s £75 tournament for £2,185 and with it the Grosvenor-added Main Event seat – with a third place in the Main Event.
Heads up began with Michael holding the chip lead, 1.6million to Todd’s 1.2million, and he went straight to work pressing that advantage, before winning the crucial final hand.
Todd four-bet shoved A-9 and was called by Michael with two eights. He needed to hit, but it was Michael who rivered a set on a K-Q-7-4-8 board to take the title.
Former poker dealer Todd was magnanimous in defeat, chuffed with his £14,140 pay day. He said: “I’m very happy with the money and happy with the way I played, no regrets. There was great action, it was a really good final table.”
As well as £20,000 and a shiny trophy, Michael also won a £2,000 + £125 seat in the GUKPT Grand Final, to be held in London in November, added to the prizepool by Grosvenor.
Next up on the tour schedule is Leg 9 at the Grosvenor G Casino Manchester from the 15th to the 22nd September, with the £1,000+£70 £200,000 guaranteed Main Event commencing on Thursday 19th September.