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The Regional Finals -- Part II

by Dave Brannan |  Published: Jul 01, 2008


The second season of Poker in the Pub came to a close at the end of April 2008, with six regional finals taking place across the UK at Genting Stanley Casinos. More than 500 players sat down over the course of a weekend, all intent on winning a £500 seat in a major poker festival, but more importantly, on claiming a place in the National Final in Stoke.

Newcastle was the new addition to our final locations, and 46 players turned out to experience the unique Poker in the Pub regional finals atmosphere, which was even commented on by the casino staff.

After five hours, we were down to the final table, where all nine players were guaranteed a prize. Three seats were on offer to the National Final, and the relief was tangible amongst the three lucky qualifiers: Steven Scott (first), Shaun Nixon (second), and Phil Tompkinson (third).

Joining Scott, Nixon, and Tompkinson will be the top players from the Nottingham final: Dave Wright (first), Matt Hazelwood (second), Barbara Press (third), David Bellamy (fourth), Ian Scrivens (fifth), Sam Isherwood (sixth), Paul Tindall (seventh), Dan Birkett (eighth), and Jerry Freeman (ninth). Six National Final seats had been on offer, but due to the fact that four
of the final-table players had already qualified, all players were safe in the knowledge that they would be travelling to Stoke.

Maxims Casino in Reading was the venue for the South East final, and once again, the Three Crowns players were showing their expertise. Over the course of the last three leagues, they have managed six final-table appearances from a possible nine, which is impressive by anyone's reckoning. This time around, Janet Gostelow managed second place for the Salisbury pub, with Kevin Gostelow close behind in sixth place. However, the day belonged to Barry Fairhurst from the Swan Inn at Hook, who came from behind to become the South East champion.

Ninety-eight players sat down at Stoke Circus Casino at the start of the day, and Ross Starkie was the player who found himself still seated at the end. The Woodpecker was the pick of the pubs, with two players managing to qualify for the National Final with a second and fourth place for Billy Corbally and Ant Farrell, respectively.

Scotland saw its most impressive turnout to date, as 99 players arrived at the Mint Casino in Glasgow, determined to have a great day out. The final table saw a mixture of old and new venues going up against each other, but it was the Royalty Bar that had the final say. Jim Bone played his first Poker in the Pub game back in August 2006, and it looks like all of that practice is finally coming to fruition. He became pub champion at the Royalty Bar for the first time in April, and a week later he took the Scottish title when his trip sixes beat Randhir Koli's pair.

Nick Peters, the cardroom manager at Torquay Mint Casino, is an old hand at hosting our regional finals, having run more events than Phil Hellmuth has had tantrums! The Royal Inn at Par in Cornwall managed to get three players to the final table, but failed to secure the title. That honour went to Troy Nelson from Barcode at Plympton, who was playing in just his second regional final.

By the time you read this, the season-two National Final will have taken place and our lucky winners will be living the high life in Las Vegas. Season three has already begun and our newly formed Poker in the Pub Team Versus Team League will be launching in the very near future to determine which pub has the best poker team in the country.

For those of you who have picked up this magazine by mistake and have a limited interest in poker, perhaps we can tempt you with Bingo in the Bar, which is due to launch in June 2008 in pubs across the UK. Entertainment is the goal as we attempt to create the same friendly atmosphere that is prevalent on our poker nights, and avoid the sterile environments that seem to be cultivated in many bingo halls.

For more details on the league, please visit our website at or call us on +44 (0)1752 675392.