The first leg of the 2020 Unibet UK Poker Tour took place at Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford last weekend, with Lawrence Cullen outlasting a field of 714 runners to take down the £220 main event to earn himself a cool £25,500.
On the final table it was Callum Pooles, playing his first big live tournament in a casino, who ended heads-up with Cullen with a 4:1 chip lead.
But Cullen took the lead from Pooles after a timely double-up before the final hand saw Pooles’ jacks up against Cullen’s queen-seven suited.
Cullen flopped a flush with a king on the board and called a bet from Pooles. After another king came on the turn Pooles check-jammed and got snap-called by Cullen. Neither a king nor jack on the river meant Cullen was good for his first big cash.
“I won a smaller tournament a few weeks ago but this is my first big win and means a lot to me,” Cullen told Poker News. “The smaller win gave me some confidence after struggling a lot during the year I have been playing tournaments.”
The first leg of this year’s tour, which sees further legs in Newcastle in May and London in September before December’s London Grand Finale, was a huge success… with the £50,000 guarantee smashed and the eventual prize pool reaching a mammoth £141,372.
The tour heads to Newcastle in May for the second of the £220 buy-in main events when there will also be a £50,000 guarantee. The third leg is back at Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford from 24-27 September, with the tour’s Grand Finale also there in December, with a £440 buy-in and £100,000 guarantee.
Both the second and third legs will have four opening flights, with an extra starting flight for the Grand Finale. Players are allowed two re-entries per starting day, with the option to take their largest stack through to the final day.
Each online qualifier for the tour is automatically entered into a free “last longer” promotion with a €2,000 Unibet Open package for the winner. Last weekend that went to Russia’s Aleksandr Lebedev, who finished in 33rd place for £805. But as nice as the cash was, the “last longer” prize of a Unibet Open Tallinn package for the Olympic Casino in the Estonian capital from 20-24 May was a massive bonus.
Unibet UK Poker Tour London
1st Lawrence Cullen, United Kingdom, £25,500
2nd Callum Pooles, United Kingdom, £18,319
3rd Damien Pilkington-Lewis, United Kingdom, £12,200
4th Micahel Isguzo, United Kingdom, £8,800
5th Bartas Samoska, Lithuania, £6,500
6th Valentin Ghioca, Romania, £5,250
7th Martin Tse, Hong Kong, £4,350
8th Mark Wong, Singapore, £3,480
9th Vlad Munteanu, Romania, £2,610
Leg 2: 28-31 May, Aspers Newcastle, £220, £50,000
Leg 3: 24-27 September, Aspers Stratford London, £220, £50,000
Grand Finale: 9-13 December, Aspers Stratford London, £440, £100,000