One of the real stars at the GUKPT’s Luton festival last week was Macclesfield player Matt Davenport. 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 £41,050.
His achievement followed hot on the heels of a fourth-place finish in the Mini Main a few days earlier and a seventh place in the GUKPT Leeds Main Event a few weeks ago, along with third in the Leeds Mini Main. He now seems certain to secure the top prize in this year’s Grosvenor National Poker League - a lucrative and career-making sponsorship package worth £40,000.
The 47-year-old has little time to rest on his laurels though as he’s headed south at the weekend to compete in the EPT London Main Event – his first European Poker Tour tournament for around five years.
Davenport, who was an apprentice mechanical engineer at Astra Zeneca and then a house renovator before “falling into poker”, says EPT London will be his biggest event of the year outside of Vegas and he’s hoping that his 2022 run-good in the GUKPTs will keep going for at least a few more weeks
The festival, which sees the UKIPT and EPT joining forces once again, started this week and sees the £5,300 Main Event getting underway at the weekend. The packed schedule features nearly 50 different tournaments including the UKIPT London Main Event, a UKIPT Mystery Bounty, and the UKIPT High Roller along with the EPT High Roller, EPT Super High Roller, and the eagerly-awaited EPT Platinum Pass Mystery Bounty.
One thing’s for certain: EPT London is going to be MASSIVE and MainEventTravel still has plenty of hotel options nearby – including the Hilton itself!
Davenport hasn’t played many EPTs in the past but is really looking forward to this one. He said: “EPTs are definitely at the upper end of my comfort zone when it comes to buy-ins so I have only played a few. I think the last one was about five years ago. I’ve tended to stick to UK events. But if things go well, I’ll maybe do a few more next year. I’m really excited about playing it.”
Davenport 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 accolades includes seventh place at GUKPT Leeds a few weeks ago and a runner-up finish at Luton in June (after a chip chop with Tom Hall who snagged the trophy).
Although Davenport has yet to win a GUKPT – something he finds just a tad frustrating – he has a stellar record at Grosvenor events including fourth place in the Grand Final last December and numerous other final table appearances in both the Main Event and the High Roller. His lifetime tournament winnings are now close to $1.3 million putting him in 111th place on the Hendon Mob’s England all-time money list.
Davenport said: “This has definitely been a great year. It’s been insane! I actually took a break from poker for three years from 2018-2021 so I’ve only been back playing a year.”
Regarding the National Poker League, Davenport added: “There are still two events to go this year – GUKPT Blackpool and the Grand Final in London – but it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to catch me up now so I feel I can take my foot off the gas a bit. I’m really looking forward to the last two festivals. London is my favourite stop as it brings back happy memories of my first really big score when I got third in the 2013 GUKPT Grand Final for £70k.
“I’d be very proud to be a Grosvenor Ambassador. It’s such a great tour and one of my favourite over the years – and also my most successful tour. The floor staff is always fantastic, the dealers, the commentary team, and everyone involved. The thought of representing Grosvenor is fantastic.”
It’s clear that quite a few people fancy Davenport’s chances at the forthcoming EPT London. He has already sold 40% of his action for a package that includes the £5,300 Main Event buy-in – or side events if he busts. His consistency on the GUKPT tour this year has been phenomenal so a deep run in London would be a very just reward. All of us at MainEventTravel wish him the best of luck on his debut trip to the Park Lane Hilton.
MainEventTravel is the GUKPT’s Official Travel Partner and can help you find great accommodation for the next GUKPT in Blackpool! The festival runs from November 6 to November 13. The final event of 2022 is the eagerly-awaited GUKPT Grand Final in London in December.
Photo Credit: Grosvenor Poker, PokerNews