The Blackpool leg of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour came to a close this week when Scottish hopeful Jonny Gray got the better of Yiannis Liperis in a dramatic heads-up confrontation. The memorable final day saw the Glaswegian battle his way through the last of the 275-strong field to take home the hefty £69,000 cash prize.
Gray, whose previous best on the tour was finishing as runner-up to Andrew Teng in Edinburgh in 2014, managed to land the spoils after coming back from what looked like a hopeless position. 18 players at the start of the final day's play was whittled down within minutes; the reigning GUKPT Goliath champion, Miikka Toikka, saw his four of Hearts and four of Spades called by Yucel Eminoglu’s Ace of Clubs and Queen of Diamonds, before the community cards sent the Englishman home. This kick-started the downward spiral, as soon after a double elimination took out Matt Davenport and Chris Scholes.
Davenport pushed with ace and six of diamonds for ten big blinds, while Scholes aimed to cut him off with a push of his own, holding Ace of Spades and Queen of Hearts before Colin Gillon made the call with King of Spades and King of Clubs. The board saw Gillon safely home, ensuring he gained the chip lead as the field was shortened to a final 15. Craig Applegate fell soon after, followed swiftly by Dave Seagar, Paul Worsley, Waheed Ashraf and Gareth Acreman. Kiat Lee's exit from proceedings set the tournament's final table.
With final table blinds starting at 6,000/12,000/1,500, there was always going to be early action. It was Neville White, down to 330,000, who made the first move as he shoved with Ace of Diamonds and King of Hearts before he hit Eminoglu's Ace of Clubs and Ace of Hearts. There was no help on hand for White as the board sent him to the rails.
Andrew Hulme shifted to eighth place as his King of Spades and ten of Diamonds lost the race against Eminoglu's nine of Spades and nine of Hearts, before a short-stacked Dennis Troake was railed as his five of Clubs and five of Hearts failed to get the better of Gillon’s nine of Clubs and nine of Spades. The intriguing 40 minutes of four-handed play was ended with the elimination of Gillon; local favourite Arthur Harvey pushed all in for 400,000 but landed in third place, setting up the final showdown.
Gray worked impressively through the field to start heads-up play against Liperis with a 3,180,000-2,325,000 chip lead, yet he was still willing to discuss a deal. When negotiations failed, action got under way with the chip lead exchanging hands numerous times during the opening half-hour, before the players opted to take £61,000 each and go head-to-head for the remaining £8,000.
Gray was down to 10 big blinds early on, but the Scot fought back and made the most of his opportunities as he flopped a boat before going on to turn quads. As the clock ticked to 1:15am on Monday morning, Gray shoved all in, enticing Liperis to call off his 17 big blinds. Liperis found his Queen and nine of Clubs in a race against Gray’s six of Spades and six of Hearts, before the sixes-friendly board sent Liperis home in second, leaving Gray to be crowned the 2015 GUKPT Blackpool champion.
The GUKPT now heads to London for its Grand Final, with the main event featuring a £400,000 guarantee. If you think you've got what it takes to stand against the greats, visit Winner Poker today.