Champions of Champions
Serge Van Landegham is the GUKPT Champion of Champions, winning £22,630 after defeating Simon Deadman heads-up in the £100k freeroll in Luton.
The Belgian estate agent got heads-up with red hot Deadman, whose amazing run of form includes victory in last week’s WPT National Dublin, with a two-to-one chip deficit, but ground out a deserved win.
In the final hand, Van Landegham got it all-in with 9-8 on a K-8-8 flop against Simon’s A-J and his trip eights held to win the title, following in the footsteps of previous winners Luke Fields, Colin Wu and Ash Hussain.
Van Landegham is a recreational player with three years’ experience, though his first place here is by far his biggest poker payday.
“The standard of play was very high,” he said after securing victory. “The British players are more respectful and polite than in Belgium and Holland where it’s more aggressive and etiquette is not as important.
“Work permitting, I will travel back for more GUKPT events as the tour experience was thoroughly enjoyable.”
A total of 94 runners gathered at Luton’s G Casino for the two-day finale to the 2012 season, each having won a GUKPT main or side event last year, and each guaranteed a £250 GUKPT buy-in voucher just for turning up.
World Series of Poker November Niner James Akenhead, 2012 GUKPT Leaderboard winner Martin Holmes and GUKPT sponsored pro Jeff Kimber lined up in a field full of winners, but as day one drew to a close, form horse Deadman was big favourite to take the title, standing second in chips.
The 24-year-old Nottingham pro had made six major final tables in the past six months, including winning GUKPT Blackpool for nearly £50,000 in November to qualify for this event, and after the departure of Maurice Nicholson, Laura Powell, Thomas Guntrip, Philippe Dhondt and Vince Calenti in 9th to 5th, he four-bet called A-K v 2-2 to knock out Fadil Isufi and take the chip lead.
When Deadman also accounted for Goliath champ Les Fenton in third, it looked plain sailing towards his second major victory in a week, but Van Landegham had other ideas.
One of two Belgians to make the final table following the GUKPT’s first ever foreign foray, in Blankenberge in June, Van Landegham doubled up twice, once with A-9 v K-9 all-in pre, the second time with a turned king-high flush against Simon’s bare ace, which failed to connect with the river.
The phrase ‘running like Deadman’ has become popular among the poker community of late – indeed one player even thanked him during the tournament, because having changed his online avatar to a picture of Simon, he’d won $10k since – but heads-up the run good seemed to desert him.
With Van Landegham gaining the upper hand, Deadman got his chips in almost dead in the final hand, three-bet shoving a K-8-8 flop with A-J and finding the Belgian holding 9-8.
Van Landegham qualified for the Champion of Champions freeroll by winning the €100 side event during leg six in Blankenberge, with the only other entry on his Hendon Mob a £160 return for 197th in the 2012 Goliath in Coventry.
During the Champion of Champions festival, there were a number of side events, all no limit hold ‘em.
Ben Winsor (£4,440) and Driton Haxhiaj (£3,790) took down the two £10,000 guaranteed £100 buy-in events, while David Bright (£3,995) won the £100 deep ‘n steep and Ian Roberts (£1,070) was victorious in the closing £40 competition.
£100k GUKPT Champion of Champions Result:
|1||Serge Van Landegham||£22,630||0|