The UK Poker Open has made a spectacular debut with a £1,500 buy-in Main Event that attracted more than a thousand entries and created the biggest prize pool in Grosvenor poker history.
There were a total of 1,086 entries to the £1 million guaranteed Main Event in Coventry, generating a record prize pool of £1,466,100. The whole festival was a huge success with numerous players saying it was the best five days poker they’d ever had.
Man Moc (pictured) won a life-changing first prize of £325,190 – the biggest Grosvenor prize ever – after besting the super-tough final table. Man has now increased his total live tournament winnings ten-fold; his biggest prize before Sunday was a runner-up finish in an Irish Poker Open PLO side event last April for €22,335.
Just before receiving his trophy, Moc said “I still can’t believe that I’ve won. It was such a hard final table, really really tough. I was just thinking “ladder, ladder, ladder” and before I knew it, I was the chip leader! So yeah, it’s been absolutely great. I was playing really solidly during the tournament, just trying to stay in the game and Day 2 was a really good day for me. I came back on Day 3 and it all just happened. I found my chips, found my rhythm.”
Moc admitted that he gets teased a lot by his brother Andy Moc (pictured) about not having a Grosvenor title; Andy took down the GUKPT Grand Final in December 2021 which was – at the time – the biggest prize pool in Grosvenor history. Moc said: “Andy never lets me forget that he won a tournament that had the biggest prize pool – and now I’ve trumped it. He’ll never hear the end of it now!”
When play was three-handed, the remaining players agreed a deal with chip leader Moc locking up the £325,190 first prize and giving £10k to eventual runner-up Majid Nadeem and third-placed Lukas Kuliesis who chopped up second and third. Both snagged £178,110 each.
The UK Poker Open was also a close call for Grosvenor Ambassador Richard Trigg who finished sixth for £33,780. Trigg has already won three GUKPT Main Event (GUKPT Blackpool in 2013, Manchester in 2021 and GUKPT Reading in July last year) and is keen to secure another Grosvenor title. He said: “It was a great atmosphere and everyone was in a great mood. I am very pleased to have made the final and, despite being chip leader to start the day, I’m unusually happy to get sixth with the cards and spots that presented themselves throughout the day.”
Others who made the final table include Chris Yong, Michael Brown, David Greene and Chris Brammer – who was the first player to bust the final. Also in the money were Jack Weald, Leo Worthington-Leese, GUKPT Manchester Mini Main winner Marian Dumitrache, 19-year-old rising star Dan Laidlaw, Ben Teague, Dean Hutchison, Ben Winsor and John Bousfield. Man’s brother Andy also had a deep run finishing 24th for £6,610. John Eames was 26th for £6,190, while Trevor Reardon, Robbie Bull, Grosvenor Ambassador Euan McNicholas, Ian Simpson and Dominic Nitsche also cashed.
As PokerNews writer Matt Pitt pointed out before the event, live poker tournaments with seven-figure guarantees are something of a rarity in the United Kingdom which goes some way towards explaining why the event attracted so many players. So too does the venue – Grosvenor’s Coventry casino, home to the annual Goliath festival – is widely considered one of the Grosvenor’s most appealing casinos.
The Tower dubbed the UK Poker Open “one of the biggest tournaments ever” and many players noted the incredible atmosphere throughout the event. Former poker commentator Marc Convey said: “1,086 entries is amazing for a brand new event but it’s also evidence of a real resurgence that’s going on with live poker at the moment. The pandemic was very damaging at the time and forced a total shutdown of live poker events. But it also showed people how special it is to play live poker tournaments – how great they are – so players are really coming back in force now they’re able to play live again.”
The Mini Main was won by Calogero Morreale (pictured) who is still fresh off his recent success at GUKPT Manchester where he won the main event for £106k and GUKPT London where he placed 2nd in the Main for £66k. Cal is off to a bumper year after beating the 852 entry field to win £58,480 and is already streets ahead in the Grosvenor National Poker League.
Xu Hang took down the inaugural UK Poker Open Cup for £56,910. There were 471 entries in the £500 buy-in event, creating a substantial £235,500 prize pool.
Arian Hassankashani won the inaugural UK Poker Open Turbo, beating a 103-entry field to win £6,895.
Franky Green (pictured) won the Ladies Championship for £3820, just months after winning a Malta Poker Festival Package in Katie Swift’s home game on Grosvenor and converting this into her first two Hendon Mob flags for €600 in Malta.
Gary Thompson took down the High Roller for £59,530, beating Jon McCann who took home £38,800 for 2nd place (Final Table pictured)
The UK Poker Open took place from February 19 to March 5. The giant numbers bode well for this year’s Goliath which is taking place July 27 to August 6 in the Coventry Arena.
Next up …
Next up for Grosvenor fans is GUKPT Blackpool which takes place March 16 to 23. The schedule features a total of 18 different tournaments including the £1,250 buy-in Main Event, the £250 Mini Main (which starts on March 19), the £2,000 High Roller, a PLO 4/5/6 Card tournament, the £550 GUKPT Cup, the £150 Seniors event and a £ 200 + 40 + £200 Mystery Bounty – not to mention numerous satellites.
Photo Credit: Grosvenor Poker