26 year old Leeds born poker player Tom Middleton (no relation to royals Kate or Pippa), has emerged the victorious champion of the European Poker Tour Season 10. Despite being one of Britain’s most skilled poker players with over $1.2 million in internet winnings alone, he is still only ranked 479th in the Global Poker Index. Hopefully his latest major win will move him up a few notches.
The initial raft of over 1,200 players that started the tournament included a couple of famous faces, such as Barcelona and Spain centre-half Gerard Piqué, as well as former Aston Villa striker John Carew. Brazilian legend Ronaldo was also there, but did not partake in the main event.
Middleton, who goes by the dubious moniker “hitthehole” when playing online, managed to take the chip lead on day three. He battled to retain his lead for a further three days, before finally claiming the title, trophy and €942,000 cash prize on day six. There was a British contingent of players rallying to his side for support, including Shaun Conning, Fraser McIntyre and Jake Cody.
Middleton lost his lead to Italian Luca Fiorini as they entered the final four, but following some intense negotiations that later fell apart, the Italian was soon eliminated. He was swiftly followed by Denmark’s Kresten “The Killer” Nielsen. That left the Leeds lad to face off against Finnish player Kimmo Kurko in a heads-up play. Kurko edged ahead, but Middleton turned the tables on his rival, snatching a dominating chip lead and finally winning the pile with pocket fives. The lucky cards netted Middleton the lion’s share of the prize pool, estimated to be just under €6 million.
With this win, his first major tournament, Middleton’s combined live and online winnings have skyrocketed to more than $3 million. He will be hoping to increase his total winnings further when the European Poker Tour comes to London in October.
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