Over the weekend of 26th-27th March 2011 APAT held the first event in it's fifth season, sponsored by 888poker.com, the English Amateur Poker Championships held at the G Casino, Coventry with 156 runners playing to win over £3,600 as part of a £11,700 prize pool.
Courtesy of 888.com the winner of the Championship wins an entry to a UKIPT main event as part of an overall sponsorship package where APAT members have the chance to win added value throughout a packed season of Live and Online National Championships and leagues. In addition, each of the season’s seventy five amateur, professional and online tournaments are run completely registration free for players.
Michael Richards was chip leader from an early stage of Day One. His key hand that gave him a commanding position at the end of the day was when his Ace-Jack beat Dave Howard's pocket Queens in a huge pot. Elsewhere Mark Briggs managed to beat pocket Queens with a flopped set of Jacks, eliminating early chip-getter Dan Owston in the hand.
Elsewhere Glenn Laming called a raise with King Queen, flopped Queen-Queen-deuce and stacked a disbelieving player who was holding Aces for Glenn to double up and remain in contention for the rest of the day.
At the end of Day One the five chip leaders, were as follows:
Michael Richards 269,500
Mark Briggs 152,500
Paul Williams 139,000
Craig Dawson 128,600
Glen Laming 124,700
With fifteen players paid, five of the day two starters were to go home unlucky and miss out on the cash. On the run down to the final table chip leader Michael Richards consolidated his position, eliminating three players until losing a big confrontation with Paul Williams. He then recovered when finding Pocket Kings to eliminate Duncan Hodgkins with Pocket fives on the final table bubble. Mark Briggs' progress to the final was far more sedate, yet he remained well placed as the exits occurred.
The final table line up was as follows, including defending APAT English Amateur Champion Tod Wood:
1 Steve Harrison 120800
2 Michael Richards 362000
3 Paul Williams 174000
4 Mark Briggs 138500
5 Alex Jackson 253000
6 Mike Wilson 142500
7 Tod Wood 85200
8 Debbie Kimm 46000
9 Craig Dawson 233000
Blinds on the final began at 3,000-6,000 with an Average stack of 171,000.
The first exit of the final was Steve Harrison, followed by Paul Williams both knocked out by chip leader Michael Richards winning two races, first with Ace Queen and then Pocket Sevens.
Debbie Kim departed an unlucky seventh after losing most of her stack with Ace-King, calling a shove from Ace-three held by Mike Wilson, two threes falling on the board. Tod Wood then knocked her out soon after. Tod Wood was also extremely unfortunate to fall in sixth. First his Pocket Kings lost to Alex Jackson's Pocket Eights via a gutshot river straight and then Jackson knocked him out.
Over two levels of nip and tuck play there were no exits, until Richards pushed Ace-Eight in the small blind into Briggs in the big blind with Ace-Jack. Briggs' hand held and long time chip leader Richards was out in fifth place.
Short-stacked Mike Wilson then fell in fourth at the hands of Briggs again, with a turned set of tens to make Briggs a big chip leader with three players remaining over Craig Dawson and Alex Jackson. Jackson then ran into the pocket Queens of Craig Dawson to depart in third place.
Mark Briggs began Heads-Up the chip leader over Craig Dawson and in a compelling see-saw battle over two hours the chip lead changed hands several times. Eventually Briggs rivered trips to take a commanding chip lead and saw Jack-Nine beat King-Six for the victory soon after, a Jack landing on the flop.
So Mark Briggs became the APAT English Amateur Poker Champion 2011 winning £3,625 and a UKIPT Main Event seat.
APAT now moves to the second National Championship of Season Five with the United Kingdom Amateur Poker Championships and APAT United Kingdom Home Internationals held at the Aspers Casino, Newcastle, in April. Details of how to play the events and free membership of APAT can be found at www.apat.com.