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July tends to bring the usual festival amid the hysteria of an annual World Series. However, 2006 was to be slightly different, as, although the WSOP was still the main attraction, many were keeping a keen eye on the Blue Square Poker 6, simultaneously waiting to see if this innaugral festival event would suceed or fall flat on its face.
As the name implies, the Poker 6 is indeed a 6-handed shootout event in which 18 tables of 6 are played out until each table is left with one man standing. Those 18 survivors then form 3 Day 2 tables, where normal multi-table proceedings reconvene, finally whittling down to 1 table of 6.
This innovative concoction was thought up by the ever imaginative Mr Johnathan Rabb, but it was to be hampered by a combination of an England quarter final fixture, and a less than alluring location, both of which surely contributed to the disappointing lack of numbers.
Due to its freshness and originality, a full crowd was certainly expected, but the aforementioned setbacks were to help produce just 16 tables, the majority of whom had qualifyied online, as was the only initial passage to the comp.
And with 16 tables, Raab was forced to reshuffle, thereby deciding upon a final table of 7 rather than the originally planned 6. Although lacking the desired number for a full house, many were of the view that 96 was not a figure to be sniffed at, especially when considering the ever dwindling numbers of various other unpopulated festivals.
Anyhow, with the Portuguese knocking in the final penalty, the usual England footie woes were soon brushed aside, therby allowing the 96 players to get their first taste of Poker 6 play. However, as Matt Tyler said 'That loss is sure to make for some loose play tonight.'
The initial draw was eye-opening to say the least, if only for the inhabitants of what became known as the 'Table of Death'. Clearly standing out as one to keep an eye on, the table of Crompton, Rutter, Cawley, Huyton, Wernick, and Falconer looked as though it could potentially trigger some hellacious action, therby taking up much of the space on my over-used notepad.
However, there was one table that perhaps had a more valid claim of being the biggest dangerfield. A fearsome line-up that included the likes of Nick Slade, Luke Smith, and Matt Tyler could potentially make anyone's eyes water, especially those of the updaters who would have to spend the whole duration carefully watching the action to pick up every giblet of intriguing information.
Taking another quick glance around, it was obvious that some tables had clear favourites with many seated players being offered their first taste of live poker, thus making Mike Herron, Paul King, and Paul 'Fatmarra' Moss pre 'shuffle up and deal' favourites to win their tables.
And, although there was a slight pre-kick-off kafuffle, the cardroom manager gave the nod and Pool 1 was up and running.
It didn't take long to lose our first man though. After barely 20 minutes, Gary Holden made the lonely walk to the bar after running his Big Slick into a set of eights.
Although play began very cagily with few dropping early doors, tikay and myself found ourselves running around like headless chickens, trying in vain to obtain every crucial detail. However, this just wasn't feasible. With the added benefit of not having to keep track of moving players, came the incredible number of action hands, a distinct repercussion of the six-handed structure. Then, when Pool 2 was introduced, there were 16 of the buggers, making our job nigh on impossible!
With Pool 2, which was introuded about 80 minutes after Pool 1, came the foreboding figures of Mad Turk, John Hewston, Bullit Pete, Chris 'Soxy' Socrati, Stephen 'Womble' Walmsey, Paul Parker, George Geary, Lawrence Gosney and the ever dangerous Ali Mallu.
If there was to be excitement, then it would surely derive from Mallu's table. Seated opposite the familiar image of a mouth-open-wine-in-hand Paul Parker (right), and just two spaces away from the always unpredictable Mad Turk, there was no telling what would entail. Fortunately for your blonde team, Table Mallu was closer to our base than any other, allowing us to rely on mere fleeting glances.
As time took its toll on Malcolm Harewood, Kevin O'Connell, Simon Nowab, Reyaaz Mulla, Kevin O'Leary, Peter Smythe, Dave Smith, and John Exley (the latter having his flopped set outdone by a flopped straight), the tables began to appear more and more sparse. The biggest loss was blondeite James 'Royal Flush' Dempsey. After making it passed Level 1 for the first time this Millennium, we all assumed that this must be the one, but alas, it wasn't to be as his flush draw failed to hit against Andrew Macey's top pair.
One table that did seem to lose players in rather brisk fashion was that of Luke Smith's. Whilst Matt Tyler never quite found his feet, Nick Slade was unable to overcome the big chip advantage Luke held heads-up, thereby resulting in the latter becoming one of the early table victors when his pocket sevens stood up against Slade's J-T.
Other noticable early triumphs came from Table 8, in which Steve Read dominated the proceedings before finally seeing off online player Kevin Moore, and on Table 4 where Lee Sai conquered champion clinger for the day Mike 'Micky147' Herron.
Finishing off in dramatic circumstances was Table 9, where luck appeared to be on Richard Sudworth's side, firstly filling up on the river to outdraw Fatmarra's turned flush, before making short work of the persistent Claire Smith heads-up.
Then, with Andrew Massey, Mickey Wernick, Alli Mallu, Paul King, Lee Edwards, Simon Cawley, and Mark Emberson all winning their respective tables, we were left with just 5 tables, of which appeared to take an age to complete.
However, although the small hand had just swung passed 3, the onlookers were provided with their fair share of entertainment, most notably in the form of John Hewston's (left) final clash with R Romanelo. Hewston made a massive river overbet with a nut flush, but Romanelo was unable to fold his ten high flush, although he almost did, thereby forcing him into that oh so undesired runner up spot.
With Brian Medley rising victorious on the far side, Jason 'Tractor' Oliver losing out to Michael Iiderton, and Bullit Pete finally seeing off George Annan (Q-Q v A-J), we found oursleves waiting for just two tables, one of which involved the familiar face of Olabode 'Buddy' Ayegun, a now regular fixture on the circuit.
However, due to the 4.30 deadline being reached, both Buddy and Chris 'Soxy' Socrati would have to wait till the following day to win their table, a consequence that nobody wanted to fall victim to, especially Bullit Pete (right) who was clearly delighted to have avoided a 2.30 return.
But, return they did, and both were able to finish off their opponents in pretty quick time, guaranteeing themselves $2,000 and subsequently earning their seat before the 3.30pm Final Day start time.
As the 16 players prepared to lock horns, the eliminated herd swamped the cardroom, braced for their consolation £100 (+1 rebuy) freezout, a quite splendid idea from Raab aimed at giving the losing players something else to participate in.
With everyone beginning with a stack of 36k, it was clear that the lack of diversion in chips would result in a long day. However, early signs suggested that my fears would be unjustified as Lee Sai somehow managed to move the whole lot in with A-J on an Ace high flop. Unfortunately for Sai, he found himself drawing virtually dead when Soxy made the call with Pocket Rockets.
Meanwhile, John Hewston doubled up from one of those inevitable Aces v Kings encounters. The unfortunate victim was Bullit Pete, who found himself down to the felt and in need of a mriacle that never came.
After a brief hiatus in eliminations, Ali Mallu (left) hit the sidelines when his Pocket Cowboys were outdrawn by Lee Edwards' Ace Queen (2 more Bullets on the flop), and the quiet and reserved, but ultimately pleasant, Micael Iiderton (have you ever come across a surname starting with two i's?) couldn't compete with Steve Read's Ace Jack.
Down to 12, and with the final table not too far away, the short stacks came in the form of Paul King and Mark Emberson. Whilst the former doubled up off Hewston with pocket Kings versus pocket fours, the latter coninued to struggle, constantly failing to find that elusive 'big scoop'.
The most dramatic rise and fall was that of Hewston. After eliminating Luke Smith with an 8-9 off-suit on a board of 7-6-4-K-9 (Luke Smith made the final call, mucking his cards afterwards), the shootout specialist ran into some tough luck when Brian Medley first found a flush to beat Hewston's straight, then outdrew his flopped pair with pocket Aces (board paired on the river), before finally forcing him down to the felt with a K-Q suited versus T-T coinflip (Q on flop). A shell-shocked Hewston was sent packing soon after when his J-8 all-in ran into the pocket kings of Read, a man who was quietly amassing a very healthy stack indeed.
After Simon Cawley took 9th, it was left for constant low stacker Chris Sokrati (right) to snap up the unwanted bubble spot when his A-3 failed to outdraw Emberson's A-K.
Final Table time, and the chip stacks (in seat order) were as follows:
Olabode Ayegun -- 51,000
Lee Edwards -- 100,500
Brian Medley -- 61,500
Mickey Wernick -- 81,500
Paul King -- 73,000
Steve Read -- 149,500
Mark Emberton -- 60,000
Whilst Read had a menacing looking stack, many were tipping Wernick to take the lion's share, as, with the blinds still relatively low in comparison to the stacks, there was still plenty of play - an achievement that Raab should be especially proud of.
With the table quite rocky in appearance, a late night was expected, but it wasn't too long before we found our first casualty. Edwards moved all-in with K-T suited, only to run into Steve Read's pocket snowmen. The eights stood up on an A-9-J-J-2 board (many many outs though), leaving the youngser heading towards the cashier to pick up his £5,000 prize.
Then, with Mark Emberson and Micky Wernick taking 6th and 5th respectively, we were left with four players and the usual discussions of a deal. In what I found to be a refreshing moment, the debate about the allocation of money was civilised and well mannered, with the 3 lower stacks agreeing to take 16k each, thereby leaving 20k for Read, and 4k to play for.
Adamant that he wanted his name on the trophy, Read assured me that the comp would finish properly and that, unlike at Walsall earlier on in the year, there would be no chip passing or staged finish. And, as the remaining moments unfolded, Read stayed true to his word, clearly showing that winning an event was just as (well, almost) important as scooping the money.
With Buddy taking 4th spot, and King leaving in 3rd, we were left with Read versus Medley.
The final hand arrived when Medley moved in with 5-2 on a 9-5-3 board, only to find Read making the call with his top pair 9-2. A Jack on the Turn and an Ace on the River were of no use to Medley and we had our champion.
A proud Read shook the hand of an equally overjoyed Medley, before accepting the comedy cheque and being crowned the Blue Square Poker 6 Champion for 2006.
Well done to blondeite Steve 'Card Shark' Read for his solid performance in this event. He never looked in trouble and rarely depended on slices of good fortune to survive. Fully deserved!
Kudos must also be allocated to Johnathan Raab for providing what was ultimately a hell of an event. Well received by virtually everyone, the Poker 6 was a fantastic idea that offered a quite suberb structure - a roaring success and sure to make a return in a year's time.
Thankfully, the World Cup and England's periodical penalty shoot-out exit only arrives once every four years, so, fingers crossed that the next Poker 6 makes the full 18 tables. I certainly hope so...
Ali Mallu Poker Video
Ali Mallu Poker Games
Monday got off to a brilliant start with the news that British legend Ali Mallu had taken down the latest leg of the 2015 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour. Despite being in his sixties, Mallu is one of the. (Image: Twitter/Grosvenor Poker). Just ahead of GUKPT Blackpool winner Yiannis Liperis and tour regulars Ludovic Geilich and Ali Mallu. However, once Day 3 was in full swing, it was Jerome L. Your favorite poker sites. Recent Profile Visitors 6,468 profile views. Alimallu $1,650. BlauBlutBB $1,637. Losing Bot $479.
Ali Mallu Poker Videos
Published On May 30, 2017 |
GUKPT Reading is in the books and it is legendary GUKPT Veteran Ali Mallu who’s leaving with the trophy and a massive £35,310! This is Mallu’s second GUKPT Main Event trophy, his first being the Manchester leg in 2015. It further cements his place in UK poker history and now sees him sitting alongside the likes of Julian Thew, Praz Bansi and Priyan De Mel in the illustrious GUKPT multiple winner’s club!
It was only last month that he grabbed the poker headlines after falling just one place short of a win at GUKPT Walsall when he was beaten by car mechanic Gareth Howard in a gruelling heads up battle. Mallu is known for his loose and unorthodox play at the table, a style which has seen him clock up over £1,000,000 in tournament cashes over the last 15 years. He boasts a poker resume littered with 1st place finishes, reflective of his all or nothing approach to the game, and one which is now bookended by £35,000+ 1st place finishes at Grosvenor Casinos events.
The £100,000 Guaranteed prizepool at this event was easily surpassed as 249 players came to the take part in the £500+50 buy-in Main Event. Grosvenor Casino Reading South is always a favourite destination on the tour and we hope all players agree the venue definitely delivered yet again on what was a fun packed week of fun poker festivities.
GUKPT Reading Main Event Top 10
1st – £35,310 – Ali Mallu
2nd – £23,090 – Barry Cobb
3rd – £14,450 – Ashley Hunt
4th – £9,390 – Jay Harwood
5th – £6,420 – Tony Martin
6th – £4,820 – Andy Hills
7th – £3,820 – Jerome O’Shea
8th – £3,090 – Tim Wright
9th – £2,600 – John Allison
10th – £2,220 – Mark Reed
Our attention now turns to the next leg of the season, taking place at the iconic ‘The Poker Room’ located above Grosvenor Casino Victoria on London’s Edgware Road. This will be the second time in London for the 2017 GUKPT. This time around it’s the £100,000 Guaranteed / £500+50 buy-in Main Event which is the star of the show, supported as ever with a rich variety of side events and satellites. For the complete schedule click here
The poker action doesn’t stop there at Grosvenor Casinos. The 25/25 continues to make its way around the U.K, stopping off in Liverpool later this week. There are still opportunities to win your seat to the £200+20 buy-in event with direct satellites taking place every Monday and Wednesday evening online on Grosvenor Poker – there’s 5 seats guaranteed in each!
Ali Mallu Poker Party
Grosvenor Casinos is also putting the final touches together for the Goliath 2017. The record breaking Goliath will be returning to Coventry at the end of the July and everything points to another new record being set for the biggest live poker event in the UK. Last year saw over 5,000 entries creating a prizepool of over £500,000 and this year we expect even more. For more information on the 2017 Goliath click here