The final of the sixth season of the Harrogate Poker League provided yet another exciting night of action at the Starbeck Working Men’s Club on Saturday night, writes Paul Underwood.
With 110 players actually taking part and dozens of spectators, once the presentations and acknowledgements had been made, the scene was set for what would prove to be an enthralling evening of poker.
Early exchanges were few and far between as players tried to avoid the dreaded first man down ‘cheerio’ song.
However it would come as a shock to the field as this unwanted accolade was bestowed upon one of the more fancied competitors John Gilmour.
John could do nothing as he agonisingly saw his KK pocket busted by the JJ of Jamie Kelly.
With the pressure of the wooden spoon off the rest of the field, play became more adventurous although we would still only lose four more players in the first hour.
Amongst the early movers and shakers John ‘JP’ Pearson was amassing chips along with Brian Rossiter, Tom Coote, Wendy Hobson who had hit two sets of quads in as many minutes and Gav Donnelly who had dumped out Collette Jugg with a one outer river deuce to complete his set of quads.
The next hour saw a spate of bust-outs as the brave and risk-taker alike fell on their swords with a mixture of cheeky, speculative plays & just plain bad luck.
Player of the year Stuart Strike found himself with the ‘also-rans’ as the room was filled with cries of derision and crescendos of ‘Boom’ with pots inevitably being decided by the river cards on all eleven tables.
The middle three hours of the tournament were quite cagey as players consolidated their chip-stacks whilst realising that dodging the early bullets had now transformed them into serious challengers.
But eventually we reached a critical stage of the tournament.
Undoubtedly the worse place to finish in any tournament is the ‘bubble’, which is the one before the money, and this season the excellent Eileen Kirkpatrick would be the unfortunate holder of the unwanted title of ‘Bubble Girl’
Ben Drury took a healthy chip lead to a very competitive final table of 10 and in a very short time Jaraslav Bakala fell to Ben Walker.
Steve Watson then decided that a weak push was his best strategy but the overpair of Fred Lorenzo would end Steve’s hopes for another season in ninth.
John Hoyle, Mick Lickley & Andy Campbell would be the next three victims for Ben Drury as he accrued a huge chip stack. Previous winner Wayne Maillard finally saw his chances of a double evaporate at the hands of Fred Lorenzo.
The next bust out would prove to be pivotal as the two chip leaders faced off in a show down with AA of Ben Walker unceremoniously busted by the river card Queen which completed the set for Ben Drury’s pair.
With Ben Drury now having a seemingly unassailable chip lead, Richard Elliot chose his moment but fell short in a showdown with Ben, but capped a superb season finishing third.
The heads up was short but sweet and despite Fred Lorenzo getting his chips in good, it would prove to be Ben’s night and he brought the final table to an end after almost three hours of play.
Congratulations to Ben Drury who takes the bracelet, the title of Harrogate Poker Champion and the first prize of £700.
Thank-you to everybody who contributed to another fabulous season and to all who made the finals night so special.
Now then back to that Xmas Mini league.
For further information please contact Paul Underwood on 07875687291 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep up to date with Harrogate Poker League news in next Friday’s Harrogate Advertiser.