The Only Way Was Essex At UK Team Championship
APAT UK TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 2019 – A VIEW FROM THE CHAMPIONS ‘ESSEX HOME GAME’
EHG went into the APAT team event riding high after their bronze medal placing in APAT’s ‘The Counties’ held in December 2018. Hitting Blackpool from Friday 25th to Monday 28th January, and whilst the skies were grey and the seas rough (although not as bad as Team Captain Dawn’s head on the Sunday night), every team member had the ‘A Game’ head on ready for battle.
The place was buzzing with 35 teams all after that elusive Gold medal, and as the clock ticked to the magic 2.30pm start, action was fast and furious from the off. It was surprising that even in level one players were dropping out (second hand for one person) with such a big stack compared to the blinds.
Players were dropping at a rate of knots and as it got to 100 players it seemed a lot quicker than normal, this would usually be where the points kicked in but this year the format had changed and it was all about survival to Day 2 to reach the points – EHG was left with their ‘famous 5’ fighting for day 2 survival, well make that 3 ‘fighting’ as Colin Timms and Steve Day had a nice plate of chips in front of them – having lost Captain Dawn Cooke, Gary Lipman and Martin Archie by this stage, it was Stephen Brown, Phil Garratt and Shirley Cole battling hard to stay in contention – and stay there they did with EHG having all 5 make Day 2 with Steve Day and Colin Timms having ‘top 5’ chip stacks as well.
EHG met up beforehand and had a round of pep talks (Phil was that nervous after his chat with Shirley and Dawn he had to have a double bloody Mary!). Only 2 teams had 5 left in, several had 3 or 4 remaining as well but to EHG, with 5 teams with no players left and counting out (hopefully) the teams with 1 or 2 runners the medals were down to less than half the 35 teams that could potentially take top honours. It was all about tactics and team play now. The first aim was to work on not losing any players in the first 20 dropouts (64 came back), to put EHG in a very strong position.
Day 2 started well for EHG – the other team with 5 players lost 2 early on making EHG clear favourites for a medal of some sort. Other EHG members, not playing for the team, spent the whole afternoon on roller skates, talking to the team, letting them know where they were and what needed to be done, and as the playing team said, this was invaluable at ensuring that the plan stayed on track.
AS play progressed and ‘other team’ players got eliminated, the team scoring leaderboard was looking pretty and was EHG’s to lose as they quickly locked up Bronze and then Silver Medal spots. Player after player dropped and EHG still had all 5 in and were doing everything perfect, staying out of grief and listening to the updates from those around as players fell by the wayside.
Another table gets split and all of a sudden 4 tables remain and EHG are on the brink as they still have 5 players. Then came a key moment that turned the screw – Stephen and a player from Frome Poker Group clashed and Stephen crippled them, and within a few hands they were All In with 3 callers – no luck for Frome and that elimination gave EHG the Championship with no other team able to score than EHG’s minimum possible score – EHG were crowned Champions with 4 tables left in play, a truly awesome Day 2 by their ‘famous 5’ players. The consolation for Frome Poker Group was them securing Silver Medals.
The winning margin of 100 points was an amazing team achievement – and Team Captain Dawn Cooke is probably still sporting the biggest smile possible right to this very day. Oh, and by the way Dawn, it probably is a record to have a hangover at 8.00 PM not AM!
INDIVIDUAL GLORY – TRISTAN CHAPLIN
Tristan Chaplin went on to win the individual event outright – and as a member of Raise For Jack, helped them secure the Bronze Medal Position – but also then went on to donate 50% of his individual winnings to the charity, as did all team members from their 3rd placed team cash prizes. Also contributing hugely to almost £4,000 for the charity over the weekend was co-organiser of the Raise For Jack annual Chairty Event Stuart Ward – who raised almost £1,000 to have his beard shaved off – an which was duly done in Blackpool and not only witnessed by fellow co-organiser Lucy Amos, but with the help of Bluff Europe team member John Hesp who quickly grabbed a pair of scissors and got to work!
RAISE FOR JACK CHARITY
Raise! For Jack is now into its 5th year, raising money through poker for the Clic Sargent charity, helping to fight child cancer. Formed in 2014 after the tragic death of a friends young son to cancer, a few people decided to hold a poker event to raise a bit of money to donate to the charity. 5 years later, and they have raised over £12000. Each year a charity poker night is held in Stockton, with people travelling from all over the country to play in a tournament where every penny is given straight to Clic Sargent. As well as the main poker event, some amazing people have donated money along the way, pledging percentages of poker winnings and doing other things to raise money as well, culminating in the recent APAT team event in Blackpool. Competing for the first time, a team comprised of players who have been fantastic supporters of Raise! For Jack went to Blackpool, agreeing to donate half of whatever money was won to this fantastic cause. The team finished 2nd in the rankings, winning silver medals, and the fantastic Tristan Chaplin (who is also donating 5% of all poker winnings to 2 charities for the entire year) took the whole thing down! This coupled with the shaving of the captain’s beard and donations from some of the fantastic APAT family, raised £4130!! We are totally overwhelmed with the continuing generosity of everyone who has donated, it’s a cause that means a lot to us, and hopefully with the help of the poker community we can continue to do our part in raising awareness and a bit of money for a fantastic charity.