Madness! The PaddyPowerPoker MADchester festival has concluded, with Shah Athar winning £27,000 and an Irish Open seat after three days of poker-based shenanigans at the Manch235ter Casino, Manchester’s newest and fanciest gaming wonderland.
The £500 + £50 NLH Main Event took place November 21-23, with two start days running one after the other on November 21st. The tournament boasted a 40 minute clock, a 30k starting stack and a single re-entry format, with players who busted out on Day 1a permitted to take a second shot on Day 1b. The combined start days garnered a total of 169 entries, just shy of the £100,000 guarantee, with 18 places officially paying out (although an agreement between the players on the bubble awarded £500 off of first place to the 19th place finisher to speed up the proceedings). Players included garrulous Irishman Padraig Parkinson, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and 2008 WSOP finalist Chino Rheem.
The casino was decked out in Alice-themed paraphernalia, including slightly disturbing Cheshire Cat grins on every available surface and a whole laundry load’s worth of the ubiquitous green PaddyPower lucky pants, almost all of which mysteriously vanished during the first day of the tournament. They can’t all have been doing their job, though, as by the beginning of Day 2 only 73 players remained, with David Gomez in the lead on 210,500.
Down to 19 players shortly before the end of Day 2, a secret ballot among the players decided to take a saver off first place to award the 19th place finisher their money back, meaning that Andrew Probyn, who’d taken the bubble-bubble spot after running K-J into David Gomez’ A-5 which flopped a full house, technically became the bubble. The chips were bagged and tagged, with Soleiman Masud Janjua leading the field into Day 3 on 489,000, just a shade ahead of Robert Roper and Gerald “Skullman” David.
Nineteenth place was swiftly claimed by Doig Rudling – another victim of the silent but deadly David Gomez. He presumably collected his 500 quid from Shah Athar after the tournament’s thrilling conclusion. On to the official ITM exits, and former big stack Leonard Townsend was the first to go in 18th place for a grand sterling, his Q-J dominated by Guy Taylor’s A-J. Robert Roper, whose incessant whistling had been entertaining his tablemates all day, soon followed – but no sooner than he had collected his 17th place winnings from the cash desk than he reappeared in the tournament area to rail the remaining players, to the delight of everyone. Richard Kellett soon took 16th place, the victim of Gerald “Skullman” David’s pair of queens, and the remaining players all moved up a pay bracket.
Positions 15 to 13 were soon claimed by respectively Daniel Charlton, Mark Wilding and Mark Dyson who each received £1,250 for their efforts, and another pay bracket thus passed. Mark Stott in 12th place received £1,500, as did short stack ninja CK Lee, who had put his chips in the middle more than any other Day 3 player and survived every time until his pocket sevens were out-flipped by Shah Athar’s A-J. Athir Ali was the last player to cash in the £1,500 bracket when his A-5 failed to outdraw Desmond Marsh’s pocket jacks; his 10th place exit also signalled the condensing of the remaining field on to a single – indeed, the final – table. Day 1 chip leader David Gomez was by now back in pole position.
The Final Table:
Seat 1: Mark Davey – 130,000
Seat 2: Soleiman Masud Janjua – 301,000
Seat 3: Gerald “Skullman” David – 350,000
Seat 4: Shah Athar – 540,000
Seat 5: Sue Benson – 380,000
Seat 6: Desmond Marsh – 670,000
Seat 7: David Gomez – 1,400,000
Seat 8: Declan Connolly – 300,000
Seat 9: Guy Taylor – 1,100,000
Mark Davey in his corduroy jacket and collared shirt may have a sartorial advantage over his opponents but certainly did not have a chip advantage. His microstack went in with Q-T against David Gomez’ K-5, and although he hit a queen, Gomez hit a four-flush to send Davey and his jacket to the rail in ninth place for £2,250. Declan Connolly was next, getting the lot in with pocket kings on a ten-high board but getting a call from Gomez holding a Q-J flush draw, which hit on the river. His eighth place finish netted him £3,000. Not too shabby.
Guy Taylor, short-stacked after getting his kings cracked by Sue Benson, got his last in with Q-T against the A-K of, surprise surprise, David Gomez. Taylor failed to hit, and had to settle for seventh place and £3,750. Benson didn’t manage to hang on to his chips for long, either – she soon took sixth place for £5,500 when her A-3 failed to hold against Soleiman Masud Janjua’s K-Q.
It was only by some sort of divine grace that Gerald “Skullman” David was still in the running at this stage – he’d been nursing a teeny tiny stack for most of the day and had already doubled up several times, on more than one occasion with the worst hand, when his A-Q was suddenly outdrawn by Shah Athar’s A-4. He netted £7,500 for fifth place. Start-of-day chip leader Soleiman Masud Janjua was the next hapless bustee, getting it in good with pocket sevens against Shah Athar’s A-7, but an ace from space sent him packing in fourth place for a tidy £10,000, and three players remained.
Desmond Marsh came in third, making his last stand with K-Q but becoming David Gomez’ final victim (pocket tens did the deed). Marsh took home a rather tasty £12,750, and Shah Athar and David Gomez were heads up, Gomez holding a big chip lead.
Athar soon doubled up to even with a humble pair of threes on the flop against Gomez’ open-ended straight draw, and not long after the two got it in on a massive coinflip – Shah’s K-T (apparently his lucky hand) against Gomez’ pocket eights. The flip went Shah’s way, and mere moments later Gomez took a desperate short-stacked shot with T-6 and was finished off by Athar’s Q-J. Gomez had to settle for the bridesmaid position and £17,000, while Athar got £27,000, an Irish Open seat and eternal glory.
|1||Shah Athar||£27,000||Plus Irish Open seat worth €3,500|
|4||Soleiman Masud Janjua||£10,000|
|5||Gerald “Skullman” David||£7,500|
|11||Chun K Lee||£1,500|