Online satellites give poker players the opportunity for a great return on investment, something 33-year-old Belgian Gerret Van Lancker experienced this past weekend. That is when he traveled to the UK with his wife and six-month-old daughter for the Unibet Open London £990 ($1,227) Main Event, a tournament he had qualified for via a €1 satellite on Unibet, a site that has been growing in recent years.
It was the ninth Unibet Open that Van Lancker had played, and not only did he make the money for the fourth time, he topped a field of 419 players to win it for £71,950 ($89,721). Van Lancker more than double his lifetime earnings with the score and surpassed his previous best of $32,329, which came when he finished third in last year’s Unibet Open Malta Main Event.
Battle of the Online Qualifiers
Van Lancker, who became just the second Belgian to take down a Unibet Open, got off to a good start early in the tournament when he busted reigning Unibet Open London champion and company Ambassador David Shallow.
Eventually, Van Lancker made it to heads-up play against Slovenia’s Dejan Govedic, who had also qualified for the tournament on Unibet, albeit for €10. Van Lancker held a more than 5:1 chip lead, and it didn’t take long for him to seal the deal.
In the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 28 (60,000/120,000/20,000), Govedic moved all in for 1.5 million with the J♥5♣ and Van Lancker called holding the J♠10♥. The board ran out 6♥K♠8♥A♣4♦ and Govedic congratulated his opponent before heading to the payout desk to collect a £45,060 ($56,189) consolation prize.
Final Table Results
1 Gerret Van Lancker (Belgium) £71,950 ($89,721)
2 Dejan Govedic (Slovenia) £45,060 ($56,189)
3 Anton Kuznetsov (Russia) £31,070 ($38,744)
4 Francis Foord-Brown (UK) £23,000 ($28,681)
5 Bhavin Khatri (UK) £17,720 ($22,098)
6 Rauno Tahvonen (Estonia) £13,650 ($17,022)
7 Kevin Barden (Germany) £10,940 ($13,643)
8 Manuel Bardon (Spain) £8,750 ($10,912)
9 Martin Gallagher (UK) £7,010 ($8,741)
Other players to finish in the top 62 spots and claim a portion of the £377,100 ($467,381) prize pool were Tamer Kamel (12th for £5,470/$6,805), Javier Zarco (23rd for £3,430/$4,267), and Robert Haigh (30th for £2,720/$3,383).
Preben “prebzzz” Stokkan Takes Down High Roller
Since it was established in 2007, the Unibet Open tour has visited London six times. In the latest five-day festival stop, 11 different events were held and accounted for 1,100 entries and awarded £554,200 ($686,881) in prize money. One of those events was the two-day £2,200 High Roller, which saw Norwegian player Preben “prebzzz” Stokkan capture the title for £22,400 ($27,867).
Stokkan, who last year became the top-ranked online player in Norway after winning the PokerStars Sunday 500, beat a field of 28 players, including Unibet Ambassador and two-time Unibet Open winner Dan Murariu, 2016 World Series of Poker November Niner Griffin Benger, and 2016 UKIPT London champion Usman Siddique. In the end, Stokkan defeated Greek pro Alexios Zervos in heads-up play to claim the title.
The win comes on the heels of Stokkan’s November win in the 2016 Norwegian Championship for $172,896. If you recall, PokerStars helped bring the Norwegian Championship back home in 2015.
Final Table Results
1 Preben Stokkan (Norway) £22,400 ($27,867)
2 Alexios Zervos (Greece) £13,440 ($16,720)
3 Benjamin Lebor (UK) £8,960 ($11,147)
4 Sorin Constantinescu (Romania) £6,440 ($8,012)
5 George McDonald (Scotland) £4,760 ($5,921)
The next Unibet Open will take place in Copenhagen from May 25-28, with satellites running on Unibet up until May 7.