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The Regional Finals

by Dave Brannan |  Published: Apr 01, 2008


The regional finals always cause excitement amongst our players, and this was magnified by the prospect of the national final that is fast approaching. We hosted five regional finals across the UK with a prize pool of £1,000 at each, but it was the national-final seats that were the highlight for many. All of the players were aware that if they made it through to the national final, they would be battling for a chance to win one of five luxury holidays to Las Vegas with partners and spending money.

Stoke Circus Casino was the venue for the West Midlands final, with 117 players looking to secure a seat at the Genting Stanley National Poker Championships. Alan Law found himself as the chip leader as play reached the final table, which was a pleasant surprise for the Jack's House player, as he had started playing poker only a couple of months before.

Alan's chip stack was severely dented when his K-Q suited failed to improve against Alfred Haywood's pocket sixes, and this gave the Smiths Arms player the impetus to reach the final two. Alfred found himself heads up against Jeremy White from the Trentside Cricket Club, who held a 2-1 chip advantage and never relinquished it as he took the title with pocket fives against the two overcards belonging to Alfred.

The Mint Casino in Glasgow played host to its second regional. Mansfield Arms player Garry Stalker was the first combatant to depart, as his ace-high flush was beaten by the full house of Karen Thompson from the Dickens Bar. Soon, the initial field of 75 had been whittled down by a combination of good play, dubious calls, and downright larceny.

Eight pubs were represented at the nine-seat final table, which highlights the strength and depth of the Scottish league. With four players remaining, there was a decisive hand; on a board showing the J 10 5, Tim Sandys pushed all in swiftly, followed by Keith Neill. Marc Darcy had taken a gamble by slow-playing aces; however, on this occasion it worked, as he made the call and saw his hand hold up against the J-6 and J-7 of Tim and Keith, respectively. This left Leonard Courts heads up against Marc's huge stack, and despite the best efforts of the Westend Bar player, he was not able to bring himself back into the game. Marc, from the Pro-Lane Bowling Club, took the title and the £500 seat in the GSNP Championships.

The South West players managed to go one better than their counterparts in Glasgow, with no pub managing to get more than one player to the final table. Julie Waterfield was the only female in the UK to reach a final table. This was in stark contrast to what happened last October, when the women made an excellent showing.

Frank Jones continued the excellent form he showed during the league, and will now be able to see if he can enjoy the same success against the likes of Joe Beevers, Barny Boatman, and Dave Colclough at the GSNP Championships in March. The Crooked Spire player maintained a cool head to take the title at the Mint Casino in Torquay.

Dave "Alfa" Cain and his army of helpers once again pulled out all the stops to ensure that the East Midlands regional final was a great day out for all of the players. At the beginning, players were cagey, and at the first break, only 20 of the 103 runners had left the tables.

As play reached the final table, Carl "You're Barred" Morris was the clear chip leader with nearly 40 percent of the chips in play. It was left to the remaining players to try to reel him in, and it was David Bellamy who was most successful. With Jamie Dyer and Ian Potter both all in preflop, David made the call with A-Q and must have been happy when they both turned over pocket fives. An ace on the flop was enough to send the chips to the Ferry Boat player, who closed some of the gap on Carl.

Eventually, David and Carl found themselves heads up for the title, and there followed an epic hour-long struggle as the chip lead swung from one player to the other. The Harry's Bar player finally succumbed when his move with A-J was called by David, holding Q-10. The flop of A-J-10 was kind to Carl, but a king on the turn was enough to hand the title to David "The Broker" Bellamy.

Maxims Casino in Reading opened its doors to Poker in the Pub for the South East final. The importance of building an early chip stack was well-illustrated, as the three chip leaders after two hours of play - Tony Wilkinson, Andy Midzio, and Tristan White - ended up claiming three of the top four places.

After Salisbury had dominated the last final, it was the turn of the players from central London to monopolise the top spots. Andy Corcoram and Andy Midzio from the Octoberfest managed to avoid a confrontation until they were heads up, and Corcoram's hot run of cards continued as he claimed his place amongst the Poker in the Pub elite.

After another excellent weekend of pub poker, we all are looking forward to seeing whether our players can repeat the success of previous Poker in the Pub winners when they take their seats at the GSNP Championships in March. Whatever the outcome, I am sure they all will enjoy the experience, and much like the non-league teams in the FA Cup draw, they will be looking forward to the seat draw with bated breath, hoping for a seat at a table with a top professional.

If you would like further information on the league, please visit the website at or give us a call on 01752 675392.