By all accounts, the 888Live London Festival, which just wrapped 12 days of poker action at Aspers Casino Westfield, was a massive success. Not only were the numbers big, both in attendance and prize money, but players were receptive to the introduction of the 888Action Clock, which was implemented smoothly.
“I think [the action clock] is a wonderful idea,” said the lovable John Hesp, who finished fourth in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event for $2.6 million. “It really suits my game down to a T, and I think it will really improve the action and also improve the viewing experience. As far as I’m concerned, having to sit and wait 2-3 minutes sometimes, it’s quite boring for a lot of viewers out there who sometimes tune out of the program. I think it’s a brilliant idea. I’m all for it.”
Christopher Kyriacou Among Prelim Winners
The festival kicked off back on October 5 with the £220 888Live London Festival Opening Event, which surpassed its £120,000 guarantee by drawing 521 unique players who bought 250 times to create a £142,758 prize pool. In the end, the final three players from the 771-entry field opted to strike a deal.
Ka Him Li and Terry Simpson took home £17,900 and £17,675 respectively, while Christopher Kyriacou earned £20,000 and the title.
Final Table Results
1. Christopher Kyriacou (UK) - £20,000*
2. Ka Hi Li (UK) - £17,900*
3. Terry Simpson (UK) - £17,675*
4. Tom Hughes (UK) - £8,430
5. Vincent Anderson (UK) - £6,210
6. Gabriel Gusetoiu (Romania) - £4,950
7. Stylianos Papatolias (UK) - £4,050
8. Francisco Paz (Spain) - £3,150
9. Phi Vo (UK) - £2,293
Other prelim event winners included Ali Sakallioglu, who chopped Event #3: £80 Turbo Deepstack with Jan Ronningen and Yilfer Shevket for £1,800 apiece, and Vivian Saliba, who topped a field of 51 ladies who re-entered 75 times to win the £55 buy-in Woman’s Event, which awarded her a bonus $13,000 WSOP Europe Rozvadov Main Event package.
“It was amazing. The Ladies is the most fun tournament,” Saliba said after the win. “It’s a different dynamic, and everything went perfect … I was down to 1,000 in chips when blinds were 150/300.”
On October 11, the High Roller event more than doubled its £50K GTD by drawing 69 entries, which created a £136,626 prize pool. Among those to play it were 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Martin Jacobson, 888poker Ambassador Chris Moorman and Dominik Nitsche, Ludovic Geilich, and Jack Salter.
In the end, Jamie Lunt and Jonathan Bowers struck a deal with the latter claiming £36,115 and the former £34,985. The two then played it out, and Lunt won a big pot with straight over straight to take the chip lead before finishing Bowers off a short time later.
Playing a Hand Blind
One of the feel-good stories to come out of the 888Live London Festival was that of 28-year-old Steven Iglesias, who is legally blind. We invited both he and his friend, Daniel Grytten, from Norway to participate in the festivities.
Iglesias has been playing poker since he was 18, but three years ago he lost his eyesight. As a result, he thought it was the end of his poker career. That all changed when his girlfriend introduced him to Grytten, who didn’t know much about poker. The two struck a deal where Iglesias taught the game to Grytten, who in exchange served as his eyes.
“Two people at the poker table together seems so unreal, but we figured out by talking to other people that it was possible,” said Iglesias, who also revealed he was inspired by blind Vegas poker pro Hal Lubarsky. “It’s been great so far.”
“I have to stay as calm as possible at all times because there’s two people who know his cards,” Grytten added. “I feel like I’m a robot when I help him. I turn off everything.”
While the dynamic duo didn’t strike it big in London, they’ve shown they make quite a team. That was evidenced this past summer when Iglesias finished 23rd in the 2017 WSOP Event #42: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed for $25,139.
Tonkaaaa Makes Final Day of Main Event
This past weekend, the 888Live Poker Festival London £1,100 Main Event drew 427 entries in three starting flights, which generated a prize pool of £427,730. Among those to participate in the tournament were EPT12 Malta champ Niall Farrell and nine-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Valentin Vornicu.
Likewise, 888poker Ambassadors Sofia Lövgren, Kara Scott, Natalie Hoff, and Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot were all in action. Speaking of Talbot, the Twitch star managed to make the third and final day of play, which saw 17 players return to action.
Talbot, a XL Eclipse champ who was fresh of participating in the King of the Hill II against Olivier Busquet, Phil Hellmuth, and Shaun Deeb, began the day on a short stack and wasn’t able to spin it up.
In Level 20 (10,000/20,000/2,000), Talbot he moved all in from late position holding the Q♣9♥ and Pascal Pflock called with the A♦K♦. The J♠10♦9♦ flop paired Talbot, but Pflock added both straight and flush draws to go with his overs. The Q♠ turn have Pflock a Broadway straight, but Talbot could still win with either a nine or queen on the river. Unfortunately for him, the useless J♣ blanked.
Fortunately for Parker, who finished in 15th place for £5,280, he was able to alleviate his disappointment by jumping into the commentary booth alongside David Tuchman, Kara Scott, and Tiffany Michelle.
UK’s Tom Hall Wins Main Event
Tom Hall, who back in July won a small event at the Dusk Til Dawn Nottingham for £20,000, was the man to beat at the final table, which he started with a more than 2-1 chip lead over his next closest competitor.
Eventually, he made it to heads-up play against Ning Lu, who began the final table as the second-shortest stack. In fact, he had an eighth of the amount Hall did. Lu was fortunate enough to make it to heads-up play against Hall, and with a 2-1 chip lead to boot.
While there was originally an £88,888 prize up top, the two opted to work a deal in which Lu received £72,142 and Hall £70,000, with £8,888 and the trophy left on the table to play for. It’d take more than three hours before a champion was crowned
In the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 31 (150,000/300,000/2,000), Lu got his stack all in preflop holding the Q♣10♦ and was up against the A♣5♥ of Hall. Lu was drawing to two live cards, and while he paired one on the 3♥Q♦A♦ flop, Hall maintained his lead with a pair of aces. Neither the 3♣ turn nor 4♠ river helped Lu, and he had to settle for second place.
It marked the third win for Hall in 11 months. In December, he took down a career-high $205,204 for winning the Eureka 6 Prague €2,200 High Roller.
Other players to finish in the top 45 for a cash were Man Luk (11th for £6,465), Javier Zarco (17th for £4,520), Yilfer Shevket (32nd for £2,745), Mark Smith (35th for £2,745), and Chris Pregowski (42nd for £2,365).
Final Table Results
1. Tom Hall (UK) - £78,888*
2. Ning Lu (UK) - £72,142*
3. Pol Canals Hernandez (Spain) - £39,943
4. Paul Scipioni (UK) - £29,590
5. Daniel Stanway (UK) - £22,190
6. Charles Akadiri (UK) - £17,750
7. Paul Nugent (UK) - £14,795
8. Shao Zhen (China) - £11,835
9. Pascal Pflock (Germany) - £8,875
*Denotes heads-up deal