Valner Victorious in Record-Breaking MPNPT London Main Event
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Five years ago, the MPN Poker Tour held its inaugural event in Aspers Casino, the same venue in which Estonian history teacher Uku Valner was crowned London champion last night after besting Terry Simpson heads up.
The similarities in the ethos and friendliness of the tour between then and now were apparent, but the field size has grown from just 83 to 649; the largest ever in a stand-alone MPNPT leg. The prize pool paid out this weekend totaled ￡280,368, far surpassing the ￡200,000 guarantee.
MPN Poker Tour London- Main Event Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize in ￡||Prize in $|
|2||Terry Simpson||United Kingdom||￡37,538||$46,881|
|4||David Rudling||United Kingdom||￡18,000||$22,480|
|6||George Achillea||United Kingdom||￡10,600||$13,238|
|7||Gary Miller||United Kingdom||￡8,700||$10,865|
|8||James Williams||United Kingdom||￡6,900||$8,617|
|9||Chris Da-Silva||United Kingdom||￡5,200||$6,494|
* Prize in $ via XE.com
MPN Poker Tour London Pre Final Table Action
With such a huge field, the final day brought back an unprecedented 28 players, led at the start by David Gee. The early part of the day reminded livestream viewers just how dramatic the reversals of fortune in No-Limit Hold’em can be, as Gee found himself suddenly on the rail in nineteenth place (￡2,320) as mid-stacked Valner, George Achillea, and Terry Simpson ascended.
"I’ve played five or six MPNPT tournaments, and it is my first cash in the Main Event."
Alexander Clark, the fifth-place finisher at the last MPNPT stop in Prague, exited in fourteenth place (￡3,080). He was followed to the rail by Robin Davis, who had been grinding a short stack for some time. This elimination helped buffer Valner's stack, and from this point on, he did not drop in chips significantly. The final table bubble spot went to Tai Hoang (￡3,810), and from then on, every hand was streamed cards-up with commentary from the legendary duo of Padraig Parkinson and Jesse May.
MPN Poker Tour London Final Table Action
First to bust from the final table (9th for ￡5,200) was the experienced Chris Da-Silva, who held the shortest stack on arrival. He made a push to build (initially successful) and then ran deuces into nines shortly after the restart.
Another thwarted comeback eliminated James Williams in eight place, as he worked 25,000 chips back to 750,000 before getting pocket deuces all-in versus the eight-nine suited of Gary Miller. A rivered heart flush for Miller (who considers Aspers Casino “my home,” having won the WPT500 here for ￡114,000 last year) sent the online pro to collect his ￡6,900 prize money.
Gary Miller, a professional poker player himself, was not to last too much longer, busting in seventh for ￡8,700.
George Achillea provided yet another example of a spin-up abruptly halted when, after running jacks into Terry Simpson’s kings, he won several hands in quick succession before Valner sent him to the rail in sixth (￡10,600).
Economics graduate Nikolay Ponomarev, who had held the chip lead for much of Day 2, was unlucky to bust in fifth after finding himself all-in with a dominating ace but picked up ￡13,000 to add to his growing list of cashes.
"The atmosphere is very friendly - it's competitive but always fun at the tables; it's not like work - we always have a good time!"
UK stalwart David Rudling was eliminated in fourth (￡18,000) in a hand that propelled John Magnusson up the chip counts, but he was not to make it further in the payouts, his ace-king losing a flip against Valner’s pocket nines.
Heads up, Valner held a near two-to-one chip lead, and after a level of back and forth pots, clinched the win over Terry Simpson. At one point on Day 2 down to just two big blinds after his aces got cracked, he now held the trophy and took home ￡50,000!
Simpson, an internet entrepreneur whose last couple of years playing live poker have been his most profitable to date, picked up his biggest live score of ￡37,538.
"This is the best-structured tourney I have ever played,” he said, before the final table even began, “The blind increments are astonishing. It’s my favorite now."
The ￡50,000 first prize represents Valner’s largest-ever cash, although he was once a prolific online player who quit to pursue a teaching career after winning the Sunday Million.
"I’ve played five or six MPNPT tournaments, and it is my first cash in the Main Event," he said. "The atmosphere is very friendly - it's competitive but always fun at the tables; it's not like work - we always have a good time!”
Valner qualified online for the Main Event and had already won the last-longer against the other Paf package-winners, guaranteeing him a free trip to MPNPT @ Battle of Malta in October.
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