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[caption width="640"] Tom Hall played a key hand to win 888Live in London in October[/caption] While it is true that in tournament poker just about every hand counts, for those who make it deep - perhaps even to the end - often times there are one or two hands that can be looked back upon as being a crucial development to the story of the tournament. Those hands and decisions are even more magnified when playing in major events for heaps of money like the players were in the 888Live Events this year. With 888poker's circuit finished for the year, we decided to take a look at a few key hands from final tables that helped change the fortunes for the shot takers who found themselves in a position to go for the win. Niall Farrell Gets Popped Three-handed. After passing chips back and forth multiple times with Romania’s Catalin Pop during the final table of the 888Live event in Rozvadov in February, Scottish superstar Niall Farrell, found himself just moments away from having a choke on the tournament’s endgame. After the chip leader Pop raised from the small blind, Farrell, who was second in chips, looked down at [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"] and put in a healthy three bet. Pop, having Farrell covered, came over the top - moving all in. Farrell snapped Pop off and saw the good news as Pop tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"]. Unfortunately for the former EPT Main Event winner he only had a moment to enjoy his brief lead as the flop spread out [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2d"]. The flopped set for Pop put Farrell way behind, with just under 8% chance to pull it out. The [poker card="qd"] on the turn increased Farrell’s outs to one for the win and an additional nine for the chop. But, as we like to see around here, pocket fives won out as the river offers no helps sending the top tier pro home in third for over €36,000 and propelling Catalin Pop to a commanding chip leadthat he would not relinquish - claiming the 888Live Rozvadov Main Event Title for a career high score of €80,000. Cate Hall Plays it Cooler. Outspoken poker personality Cate Hall stormed into the final table of the 888Live May Event in Barcelona second in chips. After some early action which saw Hall’s chip stack fluctuate quite a bit she found herself in an unavoidable head-on collision that nearly left her on life support. Under the gun, Hall picked up the [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"] and put in a raise for roughly 2x. Spain’s own Jaime Rueda Sampedro quickly moved all-in for a little less and when the action returned to her, Hall called. Sampedro had her crushed, holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. Sometimes though, you just have to play it cool. Hall did just that and her pocket queens got there in a hurry with a [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"] flop. The board ran out clean for Hall sending Sampedro to the rail in seventh and helping propel Hall further in the contest. She eventually would bow out in fourth for €35,000. Haroldo Shows Heart. Facing a 2.5:1 chip deficit during heads-up play at the 888Live Event in Sao Paulo, local player Haroldo Ferriera Da Silva had his back against the wall. Needing to make a move he made a tank-call while holding [poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"] vs his opponent, Guilherme Cazula’s suited [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kh"] and the baby pair held, giving Silva some much-needed breathing room and ability to mix it up. Now holding the chip lead, Silva found himself facing a three-bet after his open raise. Looking down at [poker card="4h"][poker card="5h"] Silva made the call. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] gave him a gutter and backdoor possibilities, but he was also facing another healthy bet from Cazula. He called to see the [poker card="ah"] drop on the turn. The checked around action was just what Silva needed as the [poker card="2h"] completed the board. Cazula put the majority of his chips in the middle and Silva snapped holding the six-high flush. It was good. Casual was nearly felted allowing Silva to turn his overwhelming lead into easily the biggest cash of his career, good for $200,000 BRL ($63,862 USD). Tom's in it for the long Hall. UK poker pro Tom Hall was in the midst of a grueling battle. After reaching a heads-up deal with local UK player Ning Lu at the 888Live Event in London this October, one that guaranteed each at least £70,000, play had begun to drag. With £8,888 and the trophy left in the prizepool, the pair were reluctant to relinquish the notion of taking first place. After play crawled on, the pair agreed to shorten the levels to 30 minutes. Play continued. Hall requested to the levels shorten to 20 minutes, but Lu contested. Play continued. For over three hours the pair grinded their stacks until finally, mercifully at nearly 3:30 in the morning Lu and Hall got it all in. Lu held [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"] but was slightly behind Hall’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="5h"]. The board of [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="3h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="4s"] gave them both a pair but it was Hall that ended up smiling in the winner’s photo. Which crucial hands will change the fortunes of players in 2018? 888Live Events are set to return in the New Year with plenty more pivotal plays to pour over.
[caption width="640"] Tom 'Jabracada' Hall was all smiles after winning the 888Live London Main Event for 7,000 on Monday (888 photo)[/caption] Tom ‘Jabracada’ Hall began the final table of the 888Live London Main Event with a 2-1 chip lead over his nearest competitor and 31.5% of the total chips in play. It took him a little over eight hours, but Hall eventually ended up with all of the chips and a £78,888 ($117,805 US) payday after beating Ning Lu heads up. It took over two hours before the final table saw an elimination. Hall opened to 80,000 from the hijack before Pascal Pflock bet his last 535,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back around to Hall who thought for 30 seconds before calling. Pflock was ahead with [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] against Hall’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"] but after the board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="2s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="qd"], Pflock was eliminated in ninth place and Hall added to his lead. Just 20 minutes later, Hall went back to work in thinning the field. Daniel Stanway raised to 110,000 from middle position, Shao Zhen moved all in for 665,000 from the button and Hall called from the small blind. Stanway folded and Zhen revealed [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"] but found bad news when Hall flipped over [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2d"] flop kept Hall in front and neither the [poker card="2c"] turn or [poker card="4c"] river offered Zhen any salvation and he was out in eighth place. The next elimination didn’t include Hall.Paul Nugent moved all in for 720,000 from UTG+1 and Pol Canals Hernandez moved all in over the top from the cutoff forcing the rest of the table to fold. Nugent showed [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] while Hernandez was ahead with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4h"] flop gave Hernandez top set and as the [poker card="qc"] turn and [poker card="tc"] river were dealt, Nugent was eliminated in seventh place. Three hands later Charles Akadiri moved all in for 965,000 from the hijack. Action folded to Hernandez on the button and he called and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. Akadiri was behind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] and got no help through the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="8h"] runout and was eliminated in sixth place. Lu picked up his first elimination just ten minutes later. Action folded to Lu in the small blind and he moved all in and a short-stacked Stanway called all in from the big blind. Lu found out he was well ahead after showing [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] to Stanway’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"]. There was no help for Stanway on the [poker card="qd"][poker card="8h"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="7h"] board and he was sent home in fifth place. The first five eliminations went relatively quickly, but getting from four players down to a champion took much longer. Some 2.5 hours after Stanway’s elimination in fifth, Paul Scipioni became Lu’s next victim. Scipioni moved all in from the small blind for 1,100,000 and Lu called from the big blind. Scipioni showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="7c"] while Lu was quite happy to turn over [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="3h"] flop changed nothing and Scipioni was only to watch in despair as the [poker card="6d"] hit the turn and the [poker card="3c"] hit the river. There was another 2.5-hour gap between eliminations as the final three players battled it out. From the button, Hernandez moved all in for 1,900,000 and Lu, sitting in the small blind, asked for a count before calling the all in. Hall folded, Hernandez turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] and Lu showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="8h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4h"] flop kept Lu ahead and the [poker card="qh"] turn sealed the hand for Lu. The meaningless river was the [poker card="5c"] and Hernandez was out with a third place finish. When heads-up play began, Hall was facing a 2-1 chip deficit, but , Hall reversed that over the course of the next two hours. Before that however the final two players agreed to a deal that saw Lu guarantee himself £72,142 while Hall got £72,000. That left £8,888 to play for. The final hand saw Lu move all in with [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"] and Hall called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="3h"] flop gave both players a piece but neither the [poker card="3c"] turn or [poker card="4s"] river were any help to Lu, giving Hall the 888Live London Main Event title and £78,888. The 888Live London Main Event had a buy-in of £1,100 ($1,450 US) and drew 427 players for a total prize pool of £427,730 - beating the £400,000 guarantee. Final Table Payouts Tom Hall - $117,805 Ning Lu - $82,358 Pol Canals Hernandez - $52,940 Paul Scipioni - $39,216 Daniel Stanway - $29,413 Charles Akadiri - $23,527 Paul Nugent - $19,611 Shao Zhen - $15,689 Pascal Pflock - $11,765
On Sunday, Ioannis Angelou-Konstas topped won the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS UK Main Event for a whopping £940,000. Despite entering the final day with the chip lead, the road to the winner’s circle wasn’t an easy one for Angelou-Konstas, who had to defeated a field of 1,015 entries and top a final table that included Alex Foxen, Tom 'Jabracada' Hall, and Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton, among others. The victory proved by far the largest of Angelou-Konstas’ career, as previously the Greek player with two WPTDeepStacks titles had $874,921 in live tournament earnings. Angelou-Konstas defeated Foxen in heads-up play to claim the title. Angelou-Konstas took out Antoine Labat in third place and entered heads-up play with a lead of 880 million in chips to Foxen’s 132 million. After a double up by Foxen, the two struck a deal that saw Angelou-Konstas take £840,000 and Foxen £720,000, with £100,000 left to play for. Shortly thereafter, the two got the money in on what would be the final hand. According to reporting on partypokerlive.com, Foxen raised and Angelou-Konstas called to see the flop come down [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kd"][poker card="4c"]. Angelou-Konstas checked, Foxen bet 13 million, and Angelou-Konstas called to see the [poker card="3h"] on the turn. Both players checked and the river was the[poker card="Ts"]. Angelou-Konstas checked, Foxen bet 46 million, and then Angelou-Konstas check-raised all in to put Foxen all in. Foxen tanked for a bit, then called. When Angelou-Konstas turned up the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jh"], Foxen saw the bad news and was eliminated holding the [poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"]. Final Table Payouts 1. Ioannis Angelou-Konstas - £940,000* 2. Alex Foxen - £720,000* 3. Antoine Labat - £440,000 4. Tom 'Jabracada' Hall - £300,000 5. Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton - £205,850 6. Michael 'Miw210' Wang - £140,000 7. John Haigh - £100,000 8. Dara 'Doke' O'Kearney - £70,000 9. Ryan Riess - £50,000 *Denotes a heads-up deal. Ryan Riess, winner of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event and recent "bubble boy" in the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS UK £25,000 Super High Roller, busted first at the final table in ninth place. Dara 'Doke' O'Kearney was next out the door in eighth, and then John Haigh was knocked out in seventh. Both O’Kearney and Haigh were eliminated in three-way pots. Michael 'Miw210' Wang went out in sixth place for £140,000. He was busted at the hands of Angelou-Konstas, who shoved the river of an [poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ts"] board holding pocket aces. Wang tank-called with the [poker card="Tc"][poker card="7d"] to try and pick off Angelou-Konstas, but he was eliminated instead. Next out was Grafton in fifth place, who was also busted by Angelou-Konstas. Angelou-Konstas then sent Hall packing in fourth place when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kh"] held up against the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Qs"] for Hall. Falling in third place was Labat, also busted by Angelou-Konstas, and that set up the heads-up battle between Angelou-Konstas and Foxen. As previously mentioned, the final two players struck a deal before Angelou-Konstas went on to earn the title. With the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS UK £5,300 Main Event attracting 1,015 entries, the top 127 places were set to reach the money. A few of the notables to finish in the money included Patrick 'Pleno1' Leonard (23rd - £25,000), Max Silver (42nd - £17,500), Maria Lampropulos (53rd - £15,000), and Tom Middleton (79th - £12,500). Photo courtesy of My partypoker LIVE.
The story of the World Series of Poker just wouldn’t be the same without the United Kingdom. Some of the most memorable players in its 51-year history have come from ‘across the pond’ to pit themselves against the toughest poker competition the world has to offer. David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris Moorman, Roland de Wolfe, Luke Schwartz, Max Silver, and Liv Boeree are just some of the high-profile players that count themselves among the players who have helped the UK accumulate 51 WSOP gold bracelets, third-most of any country in the world. In 2020, the UK is poised perfectly to add to their WSOP trophy case with players from the UK dominating the online poker scene. York resident Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford has had a stranglehold on the worldwide #1 rank for the better part of two months. His countryman Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard sits right behind him, ranked #2 in the world. In total 12, of the current top 100 hail from the UK and that doesn’t even include the UK native considered one of the most feared tournament players, online or live, in the game today. In addition to Beresford and Leonard, here’s a look at some of the top-ranked talent of the United Kingdom who very well could be in the mix to win a World Series of Poker bracelet during the 2020 WSOP. Stephen Chidwick Stephen Chidwick is the aforementioned most-feared tournament player on the circuit. How good is Chidwick? His high-roller tournament peers gave him the award for “Toughest Opponent” at the 2020 Global Poker Awards and by any measure, he's generally considered the favorite in any given event he decides to play in. He’s sixth on the Hendon Mob All-Time Money List with over $34 million in career live cashes and has (at least) another $5 million in online earnings. There’s seemingly no award Chidwick hasn’t won - he was the inaugural U.S. Poker Open champion, the first-ever Australian Poker Open champion, he has WCOOP and SCOOP titles, and, yes, a World Series of Poker bracelet. In 2019, after missing most of the series, Chidwick won the very first event of the summer he entered in which happened to be the $25K PLO High Roller for $1,618,417. Should Chidwick decided to grind the entire WSOP schedule on GGPoker, he might just be the first person to win multiple online gold bracelets. Sam Grafton London grinder Sam Grafton may be known as a hilarious guy to hang out with off the felt, but when he’s playing poker he’s serious competition. It was just last year that Grafton hit a career-high score when he finished as the runner-up in the EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller for $1,453,517. That score helped him leap to more than $4.1 million in career live earnings on a resume that dates back to 2009 and includes results in over 10 countries around the world. In 2020, 'TheSquid' has been putting up big numbers online as well. A runner-up finish in the PokerStars High Rollers Series Main Event brought him a $343,095 score, a career-high online cash. He also notched two more six-figure scores this year including a victory in the PokerStars Summer Series High PKO Main Event for $128,497. Tom Hall Long-time poker pro Tom ‘Jabracada’ Hall is rapidly approaching $4 million in total online earnings thanks to consistent results that date back joining PocketFives back in 2010. Add to that his $2.75 million in life earning and you have a picture of a player who consistently puts himself in position to win tournaments. Hall has attended WSOP events dating back to 2013 and has over $180,000 in cashes over 24 results including a deep run in the 2017 Colossus where he finished in 27th place out of 18,054 runners proving he knows how to navigate through massive fields. That same year, Hall booked a win at the 888poker LIVE London Main Event for $104,170 less than a year after taking down the EPT Prague High Roller for $205,204. If Hall continues his bracelet chase on GGPoker, look for him to be making runs in the mid-stakes large field events. Tyler Goatcher The truth is, if you look at Tyler Goatcher’s live results, you might not be terribly impressed. He has just five total cashes on his Hendon Mob profile and zero experience at the World Series of Poker. But if you look up his screen name of ‘Wonderboy222’ you’ll see why he’s one of the UK’s most exciting players. Currently the #10-ranked player in the world, Goatcher has earned $3 million in career online earnings and is on a heater that any poker pro would die for. In March, he earned back-to-back partypoker POWERFEST titles right before he captured a May PokerStars SCOOP title in Event #54-H ($1,050 NLHE) for a career-high score of $107,504. Lately, Goatcher has been spending time racking up results in bounty event on GGPoker under his screen name ‘HELLODARKNESS’. Jack Sinclair London’s Jack Sinclair already has one bracelet, and it’s a big one. He took down the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for a career-high score of $1,277,012 but most poker fans might remember him from his eighth-place finish in the 2017 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas where he won $1,200,000 on the televised final table. Despite all of that success, there’s no doubt that Sinclair would love to add some more WSOP to his collection. He’s been making the trek to Las Vegas and WSOP Europe since 2017 and has 18 cashes for a total of $2.8 million. Sinclair also grinds online, under the PokerStars screen name ‘Swaggersorus’ and has locked up a Spring Championship of Online Poker title.