McTaggert solves Walsall riddle

Police grew suspicious when a man was seen wearing sunglasses in Walsall
Police grew suspicious when a man was seen wearing sunglasses in Walsall

There’s bin a mardah! In Walsall. On the poker tables of the Grosvenor Casino to be precise. Unconfirmed reports have it that nine people met their grisly end on Sunday and that the ruthless individual responsible for the bloodbath was a publican from Ormskirk. The mardah weapon is thought to have been a large stack of chips and a razor-sharp mind. But no one can be sure. What is certain is that the culprit made off with the £57,700.

Congratulations to Colin McTaggart for clinching the main event of the second leg of the 2010 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour. The 30-year-old landlord from Ormskirk defeated a field of 206 players to claim the £57,700 first prize in the £1,000 NL Hold’em tournament.

After knocking out Bolton legend Alli Mallu in 3rd place, the Belfast-born player went toe to toe with Birmingham’s Anthony Crotty in the heads-up, which lasted just 15 minutes before the Irishman sealed the deal.

McTaggart had a tricky decision to make after Crotty re-raised all-in on the river on a dangerous paired and flushing board of 8-J-T-Q-T. After several minutes of deliberation he made the call and showed A-K for a straight, which beat Crotty’s K-Q.

“It had been my goal to play in a GUKPT main event this year and I was delighted to have won my way in via the AWOP Players’ Club,” said the Northern Irishman, who qualified via an online freeroll. “It is a dream to have gone on to claim the win. All it has cost me is £30 in petrol money.”

McTaggart has now secured himself a seat in another freeroll later in the year – the £150,000 Champion of Champions tournament.

The Walsall tournament was one of the toughest fields ever assembled in the tour’s four-year history. With 23 players left, over half had previously been on GUKPT final tables and there were no less than seven former winners still in contention.

The final table featured two previous GUKPT winners, 2007 Grand Final victor Mike Ellis, who finished in fourth place, and reigning Champion of Champions Haitao (Colin) Wu , who exited seventh. Overnight chip leader, Thomas MacDonald, 19, finished in fifth place.

Recent double winner Priyan de Mel just missed out on a third consecutive final table appearance, departing in eleventh place. Several other previous main event winners also narrowly missed out on the final. Karl Mahrenholz was 14th, Praz Bansi was 16th while former Eastenders star Michael Greco departed in 18th.

The tour now heads south to London, where the Grosvenor Victoria Casino will play host to Leg 3, which takes place from 18-28th March. The buy-in for the main event at the London festival will be larger than usual, costing £1,500 to play.

Last year just under 400 players took part in the London main event, which was won by Ireland’s Martin Silke. This year’s main event starts on Thursday 25th March and on Tuesday 16th there is a 10-seat guaranteed super satellite at the Edgware Road casino.

Place – Player – Prize – GUKPT Ranking Points
1st – Colin McTaggart – £57,700 – 125
2nd – Anthony Crotty – £39,150 – 100
3rd – Alli Mallu – £25,250 – 80
4th – Mike Ellis – £14,950 – 65
5th – Thomas MacDonald – £11,350 – 55
6th – Darren Hickman – £9,250 – 45
7th – Haitao Wu -£7,200 – 35
8th – Mike Hill – £5,650 -25
9th – James Mitchell – £4,100 – 20
10th – Karl Limbert – £3,600 – 15