The £5,300 Main Event attracted more than 6,500 players who had taken part through various online and/or live stages to create a massive prize pool of £6,017,395.
There were two women on the final table – Maria, who is dating Argentina’s top tournament player Ivan Luca, and working mum Katie Swift from Kent who qualified online for just £131.
Maria beat Jacob Mulhern heads-up to take one of the biggest first prizes in UK poker history – an incredible achievement, cheered on not just by an enthusiastic rail but also all the women competing in the Ladies Event along with waitresses working at the Dusk Till Dawn venue. She said: “I am proud of obviously. It’s wonderful. Every woman here supported me. When everyone chanted, I felt so emotional. They were all cheering and smiling because they feel ‘OK, I can do it too.’”
Maria’s boyfriend Ivan has more than $4m in live tournament winnings and is ranked #1 on Argentina’s all-time money list but it is Maria who now has the single biggest cash and her victory takes her – overnight – from 24th place right up to to fifth.
Katie Swift, who runs a café on the South Coast in Kent, won accolades for her stellar performance; she finished seventh for £100k.