Jakub Michalak Wins the ISPT at Wembley

TAGs: champions league, dtd, Dusk Till Dawn, International Stadium, ISPT 2013, ISPT Wembley, Jakub Michalak, Lee Davy, Philipp Lahm, WSOP

Jakub Michalak transfers his considerable online skills into a live tournament victory hat he will never forget, after winning the inaugural International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) at Wembley.

Jakub Michalak Wins the ISPT at Wembley

It has taken 47-years for a Pole to walk away from Wembley Stadium with his hand held aloft in victory. His name is Jakub Michalak, and he is the winner of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT). One of the most interesting and exciting tournaments in living memory.

For the past two years the poker industry has thrown rotten tomatoes at the thought that the ISPT could hold a tournament at Wembley. They said that it would never happen, that the Partouche brand could not be trusted and that people would never defect from the World Series of Poker (WSOP). But it did happen, Dusk till Dawn (DTD) provided the trusted brand name and people did come – 761 to be exact.

Wembley is a magical place. You have to be there to feel it. The poker village looked like a fictional city on Mars, but it took nothing away from the prestige of playing in one of the finest stadiums in the world. Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi called it the most ‘beautiful tournament in the world,’ and Prosper Masquelier referred to it as ‘his baby.’

What the future holds for the ISPT remains a mystery. But I don’t believe it will be a flash in the pan. Masquelier told the world that stadiums could host poker tournaments and the man was right. The new format is a winner. Masquelier’s baby will grow and I for one am intrigued to see how it develops.

The food was expensive, the evenings were bitterly cold and there was precious little to do for anyone who found themselves unceremoniously dumped from the competition. All things to ponder for the next one. The reigning champion will be Jakub Michalak, who lifted the trophy whilst standing in the same spot that Philipp Lahm held the Champions League for the victorious Bayern Munich just a few weeks ago.

Nobody won the €1 million, but then again nobody thought that would ever happen anyway. The pay jumps were just too vast for anyone to want to take the chance. After the experience, and skill, of the likes of Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot, Praz Bansi, Freddy Deeb and Julian Gardner ran out of steam when they needed it most, it was left to six fairly innocuous players to fight for the title.

After a night spent dreaming of pound signs, the six players wasted little time negotiating a deal, and the prize money was divided as follows:

  1. Pete Linton – €375,000
  2. Alban Juen – €290,000
  3. Nick Hicks – €254,000
  4. Gwendoline Janot – €243,000
  5. Jakub Michalak – €236,000
  6. Xavier El Fassy – €204,000

Jakub Michalak Wins the ISPT at Wembley

That left €200,000 for the most expensive winner takes all Sit n Go of any of their lives. Juen was the chip leader from the Day One online qualification rounds, proving how important a great start can be, but a lot of the smart money was on the UK cash game pro Pete Linton who was apparently ‘running like God.’

The first person eliminated was the only female left in the business end of the competition; crippled and down to five big blinds, Gwendoline Janot, made her move with [Td] [7h] and Michalak disposed of her with [Ad] [2h].

Janot’s compatriot was next to leave; Juen moving in with pocket jacks, Linton calling with king-queen suited and the board brought a boat for the man from UK forcing Juen out in fifth.

Next we had the defining hand of the tournament. Linton opened the button with [Ad] [Qc], Michalak three-bet with [Kd] [Jc], Linton clicked it back, Michalak moved all-in for 17 million and Linton made the call. The Pole flopped a king, turned a jack; Linton was out and Michalak was in Pole position.

Nick Hicks was the next man to feel the power of the unstoppable Michalak who nailed a [Ac] [2s] [2h] flop holding [Ks] [2h] whilst Hicks was holding [Ah] [4h]. The money went in on the river and Hicks was out in third.

That left El Fassy between Michalak and the title and it didn’t last long. The Pole choosing [As] [7c] as his weapon of choice, El Fassy choosing he more robust looking [Kd] [Kc], but an ace on the flop and river blunted the Cowboy’s and the ISPT had their inaugural winner.

Final Placing’s

  1. Jakub Michalak – €436,000
  2. Xavier El Fassy – €204,000
  3. Nick Hicks – €254,000
  4. Pete Linton – €375,000
  5. Alban Juen – €290,000
  6. Gwendoline Janot – €243,000


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