Boasting a field of 1,765 players, the Grovesnor UK Poker Tour Goliath tournament at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena was Europe’s biggest ever live poker event. And while we were really hoping a guy named David would emerge triumphant, that honor actually went to Lee Rawson. The 42-year-old poker pro from Doncaster earned £32,705 and some serious “mine’s bigger” bragging rights down at his local. Local amateur Mark Broomhall settled for second place and £21,120, and the Goliath’s designated charity, the Marie Curie Cancer Care, earned over £10k. Win, win, win.
Across the Channel, the European Poker Tour Barcelona was also setting records. While their field of 811 was less than half that of Goliath’s, the buy-in was a hefty €5,300 and first prize was an equally hefty €850k. This year’s field topped last year’s 757, making it the largest poker tourney ever held on Spanish soil. After several days of battle, that field has been whittled down to just eight players, who will do battle Thursday at the Gran Casino Barcelona for a handsome purse and EPT glory. Spaniard Tomeo Gomila will enter the final frame as chip leader at 7m, easily outpacing the 4.55m of his nearest challenger, Israel’s Saar Wilf and the 4.26m of Spain’s Raul Mestre. The remaining players are Isabel Baltazar (the first woman at an EPT final table since Liv Boeree took the EPT San Remo title last year), Martin Schleich, Dragin Kostic, Juan Manuel Perez and Eugene Katchalov.
Still in Europe, Richard Bodis won the 2011 Eureka Poker Tour stop at the Golden Sun Casino in Zagreb, Croatia. The 34-year-old Hungarian Bodis outlasted a 255-strong field to earn €47k for his first major live cash. Denmark’s Carsten Luxig took second place and €30k, while Greece’s Vasileios Chantzaras earned €17k for coming third.
Stateside, pro player Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla has earned his first World Poker Tour title by taking down the WPT Legends of Poker main event at the Bicycle Casino in sunny California. Emerging triumphant from a starting field of 757, Failla earned $758k (just over $1k per entrant), the largest tournament payday of his nearly two-decade career. Ken Aldridge was runner-up, earning $365k, while Jeff Vertes took third and $186k. The event was notable as the first WPT final table to be streamed semi-live (30-min. delay) over the internet with hole card cameras.