Gareth Johns Wins Welsh Amateur Championship

Over the weekend of 20-21st March 2010 APAT opened it’s new and fourth season, sponsored by Betfair Poker, with the Welsh festival held at the Aspers Casino Swansea. The festival consisted of the 102 runner Welsh Amateur Poker Championship, the first leg of the APAT Professional League ( a £250 Pot Limit Hold Em series ) and the Pot Limit Omaha leg of the £25 Specialist Series with a further 70 runners combined.

Courtesy of Betfair the winner of the Welsh Amateur Championship and Professional League events wins an entry to a GUKPT main event as part of an overall sponsorship package where APAT members have the chance to win thirty three seats to GUKPT main events and twenty three seats to APAT Professional League tournaments. In addition, each of the season’s seventy five amateur, professional and online tournaments are run completely registration free for players.

The winner of the Professional League will win a £20,000 APAT sponsorship package for 2011. In addition, the winners of the Online and National Amateur Rankings will join the 17 Amateur Champions from season four and the player with the most points finishes across Amateur and Online events, to compete in the APAT Champions Final, to play for a second APAT £20,000 sponsorship package in 2011.

In the One day Professional Series Pot Limit Hold Em event the final table was packed with regular Tour players who had travelled to play the event attracted by the added value on offer and the event culminated in the following result:

1st Stephen Boyd £2,250 plus GUKPT Seat.
2nd James Eccles £1,250
3rd Steve Warburton £1,000
4th Richard Offless £1,000

Meanwhile in the Amateur Championship there emerged a big chip leader in Gareth Johns, the key pot being where he called all-in to a big bet from Stuart Langford with the nut flush draw and two overcards, and rivered a flush. Elsewhere recent APAT online event winner Carl Lybert was well placed helped by flopping the second nut flush and holding on against the flopped nut flush draw of Jeldon Fernandes.

The end of Day One chip leaders in the Welsh Amateur championship, with twenty runners remaining and ten runners paid, were:

Gareth Johns 173,000
Martin Wilson 79,000
Carl Lybert 68,000
Martyn Sharp 67,000
Steve Roderick 61,000

As Day Two play progressed towards the final table there was the most remarkable comeback from Carl Lybert who was left with 3,000 chips at 3,000-6,000 blinds with eleven players left yet recovered by a series of double-ups to reach the final table as chip-leader. Meanwhile the unlucky Dave Potter bubbled the final with his Aces cracked by Martyn Sharp’s flopped two pair. Elsewhere Jack Prime turned a Broadway straight with Ace-Jack to out-draw Bob Malin’s Pocket Jacks to secure his place at the final.

The final table line up was as follows

1 Bob Malin (Cornwall) 83300
2 Paul McGuinness (Rhyl) 73900
3 Jack Prime (Leicester) 84000
4 Darren Shallis (Newport) 142800
5 Carl Lybert (South Wirral) 201500
6 Martyn Sharp (Birmingham) 141200
7 Matthew Whiting (Cambridge) 63200
8 Andy Overton (Great Malvern) 19500
9 Martin Wilson (Port Talbot) 40500
10 Gareth Johns (Cardiff) 153800

After short-stack Andy Overton doubled up on the first hand of the final, pocket tens against pocket fives the first player to depart was Martin Wilson at the hands of chip-leader Gareth Johns. Following that Jack Prime got into his stride to knock out Bob Malin in 9th when flopping a set of Jacks and Matthew Whiting in 8th, Prime flopping a set of Queens.

In seventh we lost Andy Overton, at the hands of Paul McGuinness with a pair of fives before Gareth Johns found Ace-King in the blinds to knock out Darren Shallis who had moved all in to take down the blinds, and Johns then eliminated McGuinness in fifth.

In the key hand of the tournament following that Gareth Johns pushed all-in on the turn of an Ace high, diamond- flushing board and Martyn Sharp called all-in with Ace-Queen, flopped top pair. Cruelly for Sharp the river brought a diamond to complete Johns’ flush, knock out Sharp and give Johns 65% of the chips in play three handed.

Carl Lybert then knocked out Jack prime in thirs when flopping a set of fours. Heads up play between Lybert and Johns was prolonged with first Lybert recovering from a substantial chip deficit to tkae the lead before momentum swung back in favour of the Welshman. Eventually, Lybert pushed with Jack-three and Johns found Pocket fives, which held on to end the tournament.

So the winner of the Welsh Amateur Poker championships, the first event of APAT’s fourth season was Gareth Johns from Cardiff winning £2,300 and a GUKPT seat courtesy of sponsors Betfair.

The next APAT Tour event is the United Kingsom Amateur Championship at the Gosvenor Victoria Casino in London on April 17th-18th. Details of how to enter the events can be found on, along with free APAT membership, and via the Betfair Poker lobby.