The Easter bank holiday weekend brought 165 of the UK’s finest amateur poker players to the G Casino in Coventry for the William Hill English Amateur Poker Championship, the first stop in APAT’s sixth season.
Amongst the 165 competing players was defending Champion Mark Briggs, who fell midway through day 1 and several past National Amateur Champions, including season one legends Daniel Phillips (2006 English Amateur Champion), Lee Mulligan (2007 Welsh Amateur Champion) and Mark Donnelly, who had finished runner up to both Phillips and Mulligan in those events.
For their £75.00 + £7.50 buy in, players started the event with 15,000 chips on a generous 45 minute clock.
Day one brought 13 levels, at which point the field had been whittled down to 34 players. The aforementioned Phillips had exited play late on day 1, but both Donnelly and Mulligan had fought through an incredibly tough field to top and tail the first day’s chip counts. Also through were past APAT Champions Charles Mason, Tim Magnus, Andy Kingan, Paul McGuiness and Warren Jones, who won a £20,000 sponsorship package as APAT player of the season in 2010. Amongst other developing stories, was the potential first of brothers making the Championship final table, as Midland players Joey and Ant Williams had both made day two.
Play was measured at the start of day two with Donnelly leading affairs for long periods, as others fell by the wayside. 2011 Grosvenor Goliath runner up Helen Godfrey went out to McGuinness in 17th, Ant Williams went out to Martyn Sharp in 12th, 2010 WCOAP Stud Champion Ian Thompson went out to Mike Hudson in 11th, while Rob Painter bubbled the final table when Joe Williams hit his three outer on the river.
With the final table set, chip counts were as follows:-
Mark Donnelly – 362k
Mike Hudson – 721k
Paul McGuinness – 297k
Ed Stanborough – 261k
Martyn Sharp – 148k
Barry Mcdonald – 205k
Joe Williams – 268k
Daniel Thursfield – 126k
Lee Mulligan – 85k
Short stack Mulligan was the first to exit, to Sharp’s pocket Sevens. Thursfield went in 8th, to Hudson’s pocket Queens. Donnelly was next to go, his Ace King no match for Williams’ trip Eights. Ed Stanborough went in 6th, to the trip Threes of McGuinness. Short stack Barry Mcdonald went in 5th, with a positional push that found chip leader Mike Hudson with Ace King. The same hand saw Hudson knock out the second Williams brother Joe in 4th. McGuinness knocked out Martyn Sharp in the bronze medal position, to set up what would be a gladiatorial heads up battle with Hudson.
Play would go on for close to two hours and just when it looked like one player had the upper hand; the other would push back strongly. It really was edge of the seat stuff for the large railing section at the casino and online. McGuinness made a huge decision holding the chip lead when calling Hudson’s all in on a Six, Seven, Two board when holding a Nine, Ten off suit. The Welsh National Team Captain failed to hit any of his ten outs for the title as Hudson’s Ace King held. Hudson fought back to the chip lead and thought he had it won, when turning over pocket Aces on a Queen, Two, Nine board – but the rail gasped as the all in McGuiness turned over a Queen and Two to retake the lead once again.
The action was enthralling for all, but it was Sky Poker player Mike Hudson who would take the title shortly afterwards. Holding a King Nine, the Coventry player saw a flop of Two, Nine, Two, calling McGuinness’ push with Ace Ten. His Nine held and Hudson took the title in the very next hand when McGuinness could only contribute one ante, his stack decimated from the previous hand.
So Mike Hudson became the 2012 William Hill English Amateur Poker Champion. In addition to the title, Mike won an APAT National Gold Medal, £3,825 in prize money and a seat at a Genting Poker Series tournament. Hudson also moves to the top of the APAT National Rankings with eighteen points.
APAT’s next event; the Welsh Amateur Poker Championship will take place the G Casino in Cardiff on May 26th & 27th.