The 888poker LIVE Festival London is very popular with UK poker players as it allows them to compete with the best poker pros in the UK as well as foreign players who turn up to see if they can finish the year with another nice pay-out.
This year’s edition took place at the Aspers Casino at Westfield Stratford City and had a great response. All of the guarantees were met and some even surpassed which pleased tournament organizers. Some of the top events included the £2,200 High Roller, the Opening Event and the £1,100 Main Event.
The Main Event was won by British poker pro James Williams who took home the first-place prize of £121,000. He had to go through a field of 656 entries and was very happy with his performance.
Main Event Action
The final day of the Main Event comprised of 21 players who were looking to finish in first place and bag a 6 figure payday. Plenty of action in the first two levels saw that number quickly drop down to 13. It wasn’t a good day for 888poker qualifiers Helmut Hauser and Martyn Duell, as well as Kelly Saxby and Fuad Serhan who made an early exit.
France’s Antoine Labat had a fantastic run at the Main Table and looked like he might just go all the way as he made it to the top three along with Brit James Williams and painter/decorator Derek Lawless. Labat was the favorite amongst the three players as he recently finished in 9th place at the 2018 WSOP Main Event. However, he wasn’t able to get past Williams and Lawless and was eliminated in third place.
Williams vs. Lawless at Final Table
Williams and Lawless went heads-up for the £121,000 first-place prize. Bluffs by Lawless did not work and after half an hour, it was evident that Williams was going to run away with the first prize.
Prior to the 888poker LIVE tournament at Aspers, Williams already had $357,322 in live tournament dollars, with five events under his belt. He finished runner-up at the 2009 Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event in Blackpool, earning $86,946. With this win, Williams now has over $500,000 in career prize money.
The other winners were Hak-Hyun Lee of Sweden who finished in fourth place winning £41,000, Serbian poker pro Adnan Dacic took fifth place with £31,000 while UK poker pro Aleem Kanji finished in sixth place earning £25,000.
888poker Festival Highlights
The £220 buy-in Opening Event was won by Arvydas Budvitis for £17,000. The event had a nice turnout, with 887 total entries smashing the guarantee. This was a great way to start the 888poker LIVE Festival London and things got better from then on.
The £2,200 High Roller Event, which nearly tripled the initial prize pool was won by Lithuanian Matas Cimbolas for £42,505. He faced stiff competition from 2017 888poker LIVE London Main Event champion Tom Hall who has live and online tournament earnings are $2.5 million and $3.3 million respectively.
The High Roller winner Cimbolas is a member of the WPT Champions Club with live tournament earnings currently standing at $1.9 million. Cimbolas also did well at the GUKPT Grand Final in London, finishing in eighth place for £15,000.
There was also a special Ladies Only Event that looked to promote more women in poker. The Ladies Event which had a £100 buy-in was won by Natalia Drytchak. The three-time UK Deaf Poker Champion outlasted 888poker ambassador Sofia Lovgren to win a prize package worth £3,100, including a free seat at the 2019 888poker LIVE Bucharest, a £1,025 first-place prize, and a Tiffany bracelet.
Chris Da-Silva bested his rivals at the £150 buy-in The Whale event, finishing in first place for £5,070, while Gary Solomons ruled the Pot-Limit Omaha, winning £2,340 for a buy-in of £125.
Ian Hunter Wins Super High Roller for £28,800
Ian Hunter knocked out Manig Loeser and Chris Moorman to claim the lion’s share of the £57,600 prize pool at the £5,000 buy-in Super High Roller. 888poker ambassadors Dominik Nitsche, Parker Talbot and Ana Marquez took part in the event but it was Hunter who went all the way and collected £28,800 as well as a trophy for his efforts. Manig Loeser won £17,300 for his runner-up finish, while Chris Moorman took home £11,500.