Tom Middleton wins the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Blackpool Main Event sending Lee Davy on a trip down memory lane.
We are down to the last three tables of the 2010 Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event in Blackpool and both myself and my mate Gareth ‘The Sleeper’ Acreman are still involved.
The Sleeper is retired, well off and solid as a rock. He won his seat playing in an online satellite for something like 50p. I had tried and failed to earn a place online, doing my coconuts in the process, and so I withdrew a grand from my credit card over a period of a few days and decided to have a punt.
The Sleeper’s reasons for playing were pure love of the game. I was playing because I was a degenerate trying to find a quick fix for a £30,000 hole that had just crept up to £31,000.
I had secured a profit of £1,450. But all I could think about was the £67,750 first prize. I had no faith but prayed nonetheless. I crossed my fingers and toes. I wanted that first prize. I needed that first prize. I believed it was mine.
Then Gary moved to my table and sat to my immediate left. In one of our very first hands, it folded to me in the small blind, and I moved all-in holding a pair of nines for 25 big blinds.
Gary turned white: “I’m sorry, mate.”
I swear there was a tear in his eye as he made the call and pierced my heart with his pocket kings.
It was all over.
And then the dealer put two nines on the flop.
The Sleeper was out in 20th place, and suddenly I was one of the chip leaders with 19 players remaining.
Priorities, Poker and Promenades
12 of us made the trip to Blackpool from the Welsh Valleys that year. The year before there were 15, and I finished runner-up to some old guy in a £110 freezeout for £2,330.
Year after year, our school came away from there with thousands of pounds in profits due to our cashes in the side events. I am not sure if the beers helped or hindered us, but we put a lot away. After the tournament had ended, we would all huddle together and play cash games as if we were in our local pub. Then back to the hotel for Terry’s weed cakes and a game of DC on the pool table.
Over the years, the numbers dwindled as we all found it harder to maintain the right balance between work, rest and play. The biggest problem was finances. There were very few people in the game who had the money to play. The Sleeper was one, Alan the Bookie was the other – the rest of us were playing with scared money, you could tell by the way we reacted when we lost.
I was in the group that was just winging it.
During my winning sessions, I would leave a pile of cash on the kitchen table for my missus. During my losing sessions, I would barely speak to her.
Recently, I have told the lads to ditch the GUKPT to soak up the World Poker Tour (WPT) UK Festival in Dusk till Dawn (DTD), but they won’t listen. There’s something special about Blackpool. I think the lads will be heading to the Las Vegas of the North until the day they die. And I can’t wait until one of them finally wins the Main Event. Only it won’t be happening in 2016.
Tom Middleton Wins 2016 GUKPT Blackpool
It’s not just fish from the valleys who like Blackpool. The pros love it. And this year was no exception. 251 players ensured the prize pool exceeded a quarter of a million and the final table included the likes of Jeff Kimber, Richard Kellett, Tom Hall, and Tom Middleton.
Fish v Sharks.
And the funny thing is, none of the lads in our school would even know who any of these were. Not even Middy, who is a European Poker Tour (EPT) Champion. And that’s what’s great about poker. It cuts right through class. And on any given day a Sleeper can turn over a Middy, and that’s why we keep on taking seat after seat.
Middy, Hall and Kellet reached three-way action and immediately cut a deal. Middy took £56,255 and the trophy. Tom Hall received £52,990, and Kellet made £36,825.
More than enough to pay my credit cards off.
So Middy joins a long list of illustrious GUKPT Blackpool champions that don’t include me.
That’s right; I never did win that £67,750. Richard Herbert eliminated me in 13th place in a bad beat that I can’t explain here otherwise I might kill myself.
Instead, I won £3,100, walked over to the cash table sat down next to The Sleeper and lost the lot to him within the hour.
And I didn’t see a single tear in his eye.