After a spectacular year demonstrating incredible consistency and poker acumen, Matt Davenport has won the prestigious Grosvenor Player of the Year contest and a three-year sponsorship deal with Grosvenor worth £40,000.
The newest member of Team Grosvenor accrued more than 530 points in the fiercely-contested 2022 National Poker League. It was a breath-taking performance from the Macclesfield native which saw him win a total of more than £250,000 at live Grosvenor events during the year.
Grosvenor Ambassador Jamie Nixon, who won his first GUKPT title by taking down the GUKPT Main Event at the Grand Final, was among the first to congratulate Davenport. He said: “Matt has been unbelievable this year and has got back to the top level really quickly. I remember speaking to him back in the first Coventry leg after the GUKPT returned after Covid and he was saying how he’d taken some time out from the game for a few years. At that time – and he won’t mind me saying this – his game was a bit rusty. However, I’ve never seen someone improve so quickly and turn into a genuine crusher in such a short space of time.”
Some of Davenport’s closest rivals in the POY race also congratulated him on social media including John Bousfield and Andrew Bak. Bak wrote: “Extremely well deserved. Been fun battling with ya all year!”
Davenport, 47, has been on a real tear in 2022 and says it’s definitely the best year he’s had since turning pro in 2010. Mainly a live tournament player, he has only missed one GUKPT this year and has cashed at every single GUKPT festival he’s attended.
His roll call of other accolades includes a runner-up finish in the GUKPT Luton Main Event in June after a chip chop with Tom Hall who snagged the trophy. He won £76,785 at that event, the second-best cash of his live poker career.
By the Autumn, Davenport was pretty much a lock for winning Player of the Year but went on to garner even more points at GUKPT Blackpool where he beat a 320-entry field to win the inaugural £500 GUKPT Cup for £40,000. For good measure, he also made the final of the High Roller, finishing fifth for another £12,000.
His year also included making the final of the second Luton event in October. That tournament demonstrated Davenport’s dogged persistence at the tables – even though he was down to just 1.5 BBs on Day 3 with around 12 players left, he managed to recover, make the final table and finish third for £41,010.
His other accolades on the tour in 2022 include seventh place in the GUKPT Leeds Main Event, winning a Grosvenor 25/25 No Limit event plus a runner-up finish at the Grosvenor Didsbury Deepstack and a third place in the Mini Main in Leeds. His lifetime tournament winnings are now well over $1.3 million putting him in 101st place on the Hendon Mob’s England all-time money list.
Davenport, who was an apprentice mechanical engineer at Astra Zeneca and then a house renovator before “falling into poker”, said: “I’m very proud to be joining Team Grosvenor. The GUKPT been my favourite tour over the years – and also my most successful tour. The floor staff are always fantastic, the dealers, the commentary team, everyone involved. It’s such a great tour. The thought of representing Grosvenor is fantastic.”
Compared to Davenport’s runaway dominance in this year’s race, the 2021 Player of the Year Euan McNicholas – who has just cashed in the Grand Final and is staying on Team Grosvenor for another year – had to fight to the bitter end to win his title. He said: “Winning was a huge deal for me after grinding so hard for it all year but I was very lucky to just nudge past Ben Teague at the end. What Matt has done this year is incredible – instead of a close battle, he has totally blown the competition away. He’s played great all year and has lots and lots of huge results to show for it. Whenever asked about it he constantly plays his achievements this year down to lots of run-good, but I have spent lots of time at the table with him and he is a beast of a player. A very well-deserved winner.”
McNicholas, who won the GUKPT London Main Event in July 2021 for over £165k, has certainly proved his mettle on Team Grosvenor this year. He has racked up a slew of cashes on the 2022 tour including a cash just now in the Grand Final and fourth place at GUKPT Blackpool in November for £37,840.
This year’s Player of the Year sponsorship package totals £40,000 with £20k in Year 1, added by Grosvenor, plus another £10k in Year 2 and a further £5k in Year 3 funded from NPL prize pools. A hotel package with MainEventTravel.com has also been added on top worth an extra £5,000. The winner will join the #TeamGrosvenor Pro roster throughout 2023.
Photo credit: Grosvenor Poker