The APAT Welsh Amateur Poker Championships held at the Grosvenor Casino Cardiff was the second event of APAT’s third season, once again sponsored by Blue Square. Seats for the 160 player strong event sold out within minutes, confirming APAT’s popularity and highlighting the attraction of these events to a wide range of poker players.
Including alternates, 162 runners took part generating a prize pool of £12,150 and £3,200 to the winner. Included amongst the runners were last year’s winner Tim Magnus and Steve Redfern, winner of the UK Championships in Walsall that began Season Three.
Unlucky Dewi James was the first player to exit, on the second hand, when he flopped trip two’s. Unfortunately Michael Gale had flopped trip tens and turned quads. Meanwhile James Edwards limped with a pair of sevens and was rewarded when he flopped quads, to be paid with a full double-up when Alan Armitage turned the nut flush. By the dinner break previous event winner Steve Redfern was established as the chip leader, helped by beating Darren Shallis’ Aces with pocket Queens, rivering a straight, and busting Gerard Smyth’s Aces with Queen-Jack suited to knock him out.
By mid evening each of John Murray, Mike Saban and Jeldon Fernandes were at the head of affairs, with players such as John Bonadies and Sam Morris staying in contention. James Edwards secured a solid end of day chip-stack when he found Aces to two pushers whilst on the final hand of the night Judi Edwards had a huge stroke of fortune that was to transform her prospects.
Pushing into an unopened pot with J7 spades, Jeldon Fernandes called all in with AQ off and Dave Howard found pocket Jacks behind. This was a 140,000 chip pot which Judi scooped when she turned a flush to knock out Jeldon and give her the chip lead!
At the end of day one 27 players remained with the chip leaders as follows:
Judi Edwards 138,400
John Bonadies 118,900
Simon Stefandouaki 115,300
Sam Morris 105,900
James Davenport 84,500
Blinds for day two began at 3,000/6,000 with a 500 running ante so stacks were shallow, and exits guaranteed to be brisk as we worked down to the final table. We were down to the money positions within the first level, including the exit of the unfortunate Dafydd Jones who departed first hand of the second day, his Aces failing to hold up.
The key hand that shaped play occurred when the two-chip leaders clashed. Simon Auckland raised on the button with AQ and Judi Edwards re-raised in the blinds with Kings. Simon called and Judi pushed the remarkable Q A A flop. Judi was knocked out and Simon rose to a position where he had 20% of the chips in play with fifteen left followed by James Edwards, Will Young and John Bonadies. Maxine McKinlay was eliminated by James Edwards on the final table bubble to leave the final table line up in seat order as follows:
1 Dean Saunders from Cardiff 213,400
2 Simon Stefandouaki from Tottenham 119,200
3 Lee Constantine from Farnborough 73,000
4 William Young from Wrexham 118,400
5 John O’Neill from Cardiff 156,700
6 James Davenport from Cardiff 251,500
7 Bruce Shannon from Portsmouth 102,100
8 James Edwards from Wolverhampton 289,000
9 Simon Auckland from Solihull 299,200
First to depart from the final in 9th was Will Young who found pocket Jacks in the big blind when Bruce Shannon shoved A9. An Ace on the flop sealed Young’s fate. He was followed out soon after by Lee Constantine in 8th who found pocket tens on the button, was called all in by James Davenport’s A8 in the big blind and he too spiked an Ace. Each of John O’Neill (seventh), Simon Stefandoaki (sixth) and Dean Saunders (fifth) were knocked out in successive hands by Simon Auckland who found pocket tens twice and then jacks to win three races and establish himself as favourite to win.
In fourth James Edwards exited. He had been pushing liberally for a level and a half finally ran into a hand, James Davenport with Jacks. Simon Auckland then knocked out Bruce Shannon for the Bronze medal before after a good battle with James Davenport, Simon hit his flush draw on the river to defeat James’ flopped middle pair, with the chips all-in on the flop
Simon Auckland thus became the 2009 Welsh Amateur Poker Champion, winning the event after making his record breaking fourth APAT National final table.
The tour continues with the Irish Amateur Championship in Dublin at the end of May.