Lin Chen became the latest in a long line of Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event champions when he triumphed in the 2023 GUKPT Blackpool Main Event. A popular stop on the GUKPT calendar, Chen outlasted 305 opponents on his way to the victory, which came sooner than anticipated with the intervention of a three-way chop that concluded play.
2023 GUKPT Blackpool Main Event Final Table Results
|Prize (approx. USD)
*reflects a three-handed deal
Among those who made it into the money place but fell short of making a final table appearance included Jamie O’Connor, Richard Ashby, Renee Xie, Tim Slater, the legendary Ali Mallu, Brandon Sheils, and final table bubble boy Ben Jackson. With Jackson out of the way in tenth, the nine-handed final table commenced.
Michael Howard‘s wait for a GUKPT Main Event title continues after Gregory King eliminated him in ninth place. Howard finished second in the 2014 GUKPT Leeds Main Event, the closest he has come to a victory on the long-running tour. He fell in ninth in Blackpool when he ran his pocket jacks into the pocket queens of King.
Blackpool Specialist Bows Out
Eighth place went to Will McMurray, who finished second in this very tournament in 2010 and fifth in 2019. He came unstuck when he lost a huge coinflip with pocket tens versus the ace-queen of Peter Charalambous. There is no doubt McMurray will be back at the tables for the ninth leg of the current season, as it is in the seaside town of Blackpool.
The last four-figure score went to Min Ji, who has racked up some impressive results over the past six months. Ji three-bet shoved for 18 big blinds with ace-ten over the top of an opening raise from King, and King called with the dominating ace-jack. A jack on the flop proved more than enough to send Ji to the showers.
Worthington-Leese Continues Rich Vein of Form
Sixth place went to Leo Worthington-Leese, who was fresh off the back of a tenth-place finish in the recent £1 million guaranteed GUKPT UK Open event. Last year, Worthington-Leese finished third in the GUKPT Blackpool High Roller, and he followed that result up with another final table in Lancashire. Worthington-Leese made a play for his 17 big blind stack with queen-jack, and Charalambous looked him up with a pair of queens in the hole. The ladies held, and Worthington-Leese bowed out.
Iman Sarkeshik banked the £15,140 fifth-place prize, which happens to be a career-best for the player new to the live tournament scene. Steve Warburton opened the preflop betting before snap-calling Sarkeshik’s 20 big blind shove. Sarkeshik turned over ace-ten, Warburton pocket kings, and the six-high board resulted in Sarkeshik heading to the cashier’s desk.
Warburton’s Luck Runs Out
With almost $2.4 million in live earnings, thanks partly to finishing second to John Juanda in the 2015 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona Main Event, Warburton had far more winnings than anyone else at the final table. Earlier on Day 2, he was the beneficiary of a traditional Mallu blow-up when Mallu three-bet shoved for 88 big blinds with ten-five offsuit after Warburton had opened with pocket aces. Warburton’s stack had dwindled to eight big blinds before his final hand. He open-shoved with king-three, and Chen called with jack-ten. Warburton held the best hand preflop, but a ten on the flop was enough to send “Warbs” home in fourth.
Warburton’s seat had not even gone cold when the remaining three players paused the tournament clock and discussed a deal. The trio agreed on an ICM-based deal and to end the tournament there and then. That deal meant Charalambous finished third for £53,915, King was the runner-up for £57,855, and Chen became the GUKPT Blackpool champion, an accolade accompanied by £65,310.
Next Up on GUKPT Season 17
There is no GUKPT stop during April, with the tour returning from May 3-15 in Edinburgh. Last year’s GUKPT Edinburgh Main Event saw 390 players buy in for £750, and end with Gary Armstrong and Cameron Williamson striking a deal when heads-up. Armstrong clinched the title and £57,770, with Williamson walking away with £53,000.
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