The 21-year old Lithuanian, Matas Cimbolas, has defeated Ben ‘kidcardiff’ Warrington in heads-up action to take the first prize of £200,000 at the partypoker World Poker Tour UK Main Event in Nottingham.
In poker, the line between despair and joy is card thin.
How can so much emotion be summoned from a deck of cards?
Just ask Ben Warrington and Matas Cimbolas.
As the [Ad] hit the river hit the board I wasn’t looking at the table. I was looking directly into the eyes of Matas Cimbolas. For an instant I thought he had lost. A nine or seven must have hit the river. There was this instant look of disbelief. Then I saw a smile form. A fist pump. I knew he had become the latest member of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Champions Club.
It was heart breaking for Ben Warrington.
Both of his parents had made the trip to Nottingham, as had his sister. Patiently, recording the vital moments of his big day on their iPhones, just like they had done when he finished fourth in the €5,000 buy-in Main Event at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague in Season 9.
“I’m disappointed obviously, but I am more disappointed for them. I really wanted to win for them. In Prague I was out in fourth, but here…I had a real shot.” Warrington told me after the event.
He had more than a real shot. Warrington looked like a winner very early in the tournament. Quickly building a stack that you knew was strong enough to get to the final table, where that experience could kick in.
He was two cards away from becoming a champion. With a 6:1 chip lead, A6 facing off against A5, and a flop of [Qc] [9c] [8h] starting a job that was supposed to end with a British victory, it was a cruel way for him to be robbed of glory after the [5d] hit the turn to give the Lithuanian a lifeline that he turned into a finishing line.
It was a great tournament.
354 entrants made sure that the £1m Guarantee was secure, and with Dusk till Dawn (DTD) hosting the event, some of the greatest poker players of Britain’s past and present came out to play.
Ram ‘Crazy Horse’ Vaswani, Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot, and Wille Tann, representing the past, and Jake Cody, Toby Lewis, and Chris Moorman representing the present. Moorman even turned Day 2 into a book signing event, moments before flopping a Royal Flush to win a Caribbean cruise for two – it’s a nice life if you can get it.
The set up for the final table was great.
Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard might not be a household name for purists of the live tournament game, but boy does he have game. At the time of writing he is the Online MTT World Number One ranked player, and he was the runner-up to Bryn Kenney in the WPT UK High Roller. Leonard would be eliminated in sixth place after hitting trip fives, at the same time Warrington hit a boat.
The fifth place finisher was the final table short stack, Phillip Mighall. The Brighton native was the most inexperienced player at the final table, and he must be delighted with a fifth place finish. His pocket deuces looking so tiny against the ace-king of Warrington, and an ace on the flop ended that particular duel.
Fourth place was reserved for the most experienced player at the table. The Frenchman, Antoine Saout, achieved notoriety with his third place finish at the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event where he earned over $3.4m and change. Warrington once again holding the meat cleaver in an ace-rag versus ace-rag confrontation with kidcardiff’s kicker booting Saout to the rail.
Tamer Kamel was one of the favorites for the title when things began. He amassed 1.7m chips as early as Level 16, and had vowed to use his winnings to help the poverty stricken kids of Honduras. Now that’s a reason to cheer someone on. Unfortunately, the blinds caught up to the patient Kamel, and he lost his flip AK<99 to be eliminated by Warrington.
Then there were two.
A 21-year old unknown from Lithuania, squaring off against one of the best young British pros in the game. His opponent had all the chips, he had all the game, and he even had his family on the rail. But the deck doesn’t care about all of that old nonsense.
There is no sentimentality in the deck.
WPT UK Main Event Results
1st. Matas Cimbolas ~ £200,000
2nd. Ben Warrington ~ £140,000
3rd. Tamer Kamel – £92,000
4th. Antoine Saout – £67,000
5th. Phillip Mighall – £48,000
6th. Patrick Leonard – £39,500