Over the weekend, 23-year-old Michael Gilbert beat a field of 225 players to win the Unibet UK Poker Tour Manchester, the tour’s fifth and final stop of the year.
The low-stakes £220 ($300) buy-in tournament featured a £40K guarantee, but surpassed that by generating a £45,000 ($60,326) prize pool. In addition to winning £12,300 ($16,489), computer science student Gilbert received a Unibet Open package worth £2,000.
At the final table, it took Gilbert, who attends nearby Manchester Metropolitan University, just 90 minutes to close it out. That included defeating Adrian “NMPfan” Nica in heads-up play. Prior to the win, Gilbert had just $1,074 in tournament earnings, playing mainly recurring tournaments at local venues Manchester235 and Grosvenor Casino Didsbury.
“I play my live poker here at this casino so to win a major tour event like this is amazing,” he told Unibet officials after the takedown.
For Nica, it was his second runner-up finish of 2017. In August, he took second in the Unibet UK Poker Tour Nottingham for £8,966 ($11,477) after a three-way deal. That tournament was won by Russell Betts for an equal amount. In Manchester, Nica received £7,650 ($10,255) for placing second, as well as a Unibet Open package worth £2,000.
Others to cash the tournament were Unibet Ambassador Dara O’Kearney (9th for £910/$1,220), Unibet e-sport ambassador Fabian “Kioshima” Fiey (10th for £790/$1,059), and Espen Jorstad (11th for £680/$912). Players who competed, but failed to cash, included Unibet Ambassadors Ian Simpson, David Lappin, and Rauno “Estonian Jesus” Tahvonen.
Season Two Winners
The second season of the Unibet UK Poker Tour consisted of five stops, each featuring a £220 ($300) buy-in, £40K guarantee Main Event.
During 2017, the Unibet UK Poker Tour awarded £253,600 ($337,592) in prize money and enticed 1,209 entrants.
Back in March, things kicked off in Brighton when Poland’s Mateusz Krzyzewski, who won his way in via a £25 online qualifier, prevailed over a 261-entry field to win £14,090 ($17,335).
From there it was on to Glasgow, which drew 205 entries and saw Scotland’s Andrew Mackenzie take home £11,500 ($14,804). That was followed by the aforementioned Nottingham stop.
For the penultimate stop of the season, the tour returned to Brighton, where Falklands veteran Colin Bidwell beat golf pro Tom Simm heads-up to overcome a field of 316 players for £11,540 ($15242).
Final Table Results
1 Michael Gilbert (England) £12,300 ($16,489)
2 Adrian Nica (Scotland) £7,650 ($10,255)
3 Bartlomiej Grabowski (Poland) £5,460 ($7,320)
4 Jorge Reyes (England) £4,060 ($5,443)
5 Katarina Khytushko (England) £2,920 ($3,914)
6 Chris Roberts (England) £2,470 ($3,311)
7 Michal Mozdzierz (England) £1,580 ($2,188)
8 Andreas Johannessen (Norway) £1,120 ($1,501)
9 Dara O’Kearney (Ireland) £910 ($1,220)
It must be amazing to win such a big event (especially for a beginner) at your regular casino! I wonder if he’ll continue participating at such events and whether or not he’ll be ever heard of again. Who knows, it might be a new champion.