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EPT London Crowns David Vamplew King of Scotland

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Nov 26, 2010


London’s poker festival this fall saw many of the world’s best players gathered in the same poker rooms across England’s capital city for plenty of explosive action. The PokerStars European Poker Tour £5,250 no-limit hold’em main event was like the cherry on the cake as a record-breaking field made for some exciting twists and turns. Combining the two starting days, the EPT main event attracted a total of 848 players, smashing last year’s record of 730, and making it the largest poker tournament ever held in England.

Flurry of Casualties

Day 2 saw the return of 380 survivors, but that number needed to be cut by 252 to get to the first payout of £7,500 ($11,787). That didn’t take long, however, as bust-outs came at a fast and furious pace. The list of those who would not be continuing the hunt for the £900,000 top prize included World Series of Poker Europe heads-up event runner-up Jim Collopy, EPT San Remo runner-up Jakob Carlsson, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, 2010 double WSOP bracelet winner Frank Kassela, Barry Shulman, Allen Cunningham, Jeffrey Lisandro, Neil Channing, Freddy Deeb, Team PokerStars SportStar Boris Becker, and Team PokerStars pros Barry Greenstein and Liv Boeree (who was making her debut as the team’s newest addition).

Just moments before the money bubble, young Scot David Vamplew, who already had built up a fairly impressive chip stack, soared into the lead, exceeding a million in chips, when he made a full house with pocket nines on a 9-2-2 flop versus Paul Kristofferson’s A-2. From that moment on, Vamplew did not look back until he had the trophy, the title, and more than $1.4 million. However, it was a long and winding road to get there, as 127 remaining players stood in his way.

In It to Win It

Those who made the lower end of the payouts the following day included Canadian Jeff Sarwer, and Team PokerStars pros J.P. Kelly, Daniel Negreanu, Arnaud Mattern, Greg Raymer, and Jude Ainsworth. Phil Ivey busted out in 59th place, for £13,000, before hopping right into the high-roller event, where he never really found his stride. Chino Rheem was the last player to go on day 3. He left in 25th place, for £19,000, after a roller-coaster ride of an event that saw him badly damaging many a stack before hitting the rail.

The penultimate day was short in comparison to previous days, as it appeared to be an all-or-nothing approach for the 24 players who returned to fight it out for a place at the final table of eight. Team PokerStars pro Chad Brown hit the rail early, followed by young American professionals Keven Stammen, Allen Bari, and Chance Kornuth.

The elimination of the most recognizable names continued with WSOP winner and Team PokerStars pro Joe Hachem. He left in 15th place, for £25,000 ($39,290), just after taking a new seat at one of the final two tables. He ran his A-5 into the A-K of 2008 WSOP Europe main-event champion John Juanda. Hachem was followed by the final Team PokerStars pro left in the field, Thomas Bichon, who also was taken out by Juanda and his rapidly growing stack. By the time the field had reached two final tables, Juanda had more than 2 million in chips, and by the end of the day, he had increased his stack to 7,075,000, which was second in chips to another pro who had quickly moved to the fore throughout the day, Kyle Bowker.

Finding the Final Eight

Those who fell at the final hurdle included Brit Matt Perrins in 12th place (£35,000), and PokerStars qualifiers Rumit Somaiya in 11th (£35,000) and Steven Levy in 10th (£45,000). PokerStars player John Hall (£45,000) was the unfortunate TV-bubble casualty after falling at the hands of Bowker.

Although Juanda and Bowker led the final table, it wasn’t going to be easy, as they were joined by rising star and Card Player 2010 Player of the Year (POY) contender Thomas Marchese. Marchese was 810 points behind POY leader Dwyte Pilgrim going into day 5, but he had a chance to seize the top spot with a finish of fourth place or better.

Other recognizable faces were Swede Per Ummer, Canadian Kayvan Payman, and Pole Artur Wasek, who first came to the poker world’s attention earlier this year when he finished fourth at the EPT Berlin, for €280,000. Businessman Fernando Brito is a regular on the Latin American Poker Tour, but is not known very well on European grounds. However, the least-known finalist was David Vamplew. An online cash-game player, Vamplew started playing live tournaments only this year. The young Brit had just one live cash to his name when he entered his second-ever EPT tournament — a 106th-place finish in a WSOP $2,500 no-limit hold’em event, for just over $6,000.

The main-event final table looked like this:

Seat 1 David Vamplew, UK 3,670,000
Seat 2 Thomas Marchese, USA 1,480,000
Seat 3 Fernando Brito, Portugal 1,100,000
Seat 4 Per Ummer, Cyprus 1,245,000
Seat 5 Artur Wasek, Poland 2,250,000
Seat 6 Kayvan Payman, Canada 1,295,000
Seat 7 Kyle Bowker, USA 7,165,000
Seat 8 John Juanda, USA 7,075,000

Here is how all of the major action played out at the final table:

Per Ummer Eliminated in Eighth Place (£66,800)

Ummer made his move from the small blind with 490,000, and was called by Artur Wasek in the big blind.

Ummer: 5♦ 3♠
Wasek: A♥ Q♠

Board: Q♥ 8♦ 7♠ 10♠ 2♦

Tom Marchese Eliminated in Seventh Place (£100,000)

Marchese was the second casualty of the day, receiving £100,000 for seventh place after going out at the hands of David Vamplew.

Vamplew moved all in from the button, and Marchese called from the small blind. Vamplew flipped over the 10♦ 5♦, while Marchese was ahead with the A♦ 8♦. With the Card Player 2010 Player of the Year top spot hanging in the balance of where he finished, the young pro saw his hopes dashed as the board came J♥ 5♣ 2♣ 4♣ 6♦, and a pair of fives was enough to knock Marchese out.

Marchese earned 480 Card Player POY points for finishing in seventh place. At the time of this writing, there are just 330 points separating him from POY leader Dwyte Pilgrim for the top spot in the race.

Fernando Brito Eliminated in Sixth Place (£145,000)

Kyle Bowker bet 220,000, and Brito then shoved in his last 380,000. Bowker called, and flipped over the J♦ 10♦. Brito held the A♦ 6♦. The board at first went Brito’s way, but then Bowker’s — Q♥ 6♣ 4♥ 10♠ K♥.

Kayvan Payman Eliminated in Fifth Place (£190,000)

Short-stacked Payman was making some all-in moves and not getting any action, but in the end, both Vamplew and Bowker decided to take a shot at sending him home. When Payman shoved all in for 1,750,000, Bowker made the call, and Vamplew moved all in. Vamplew had Bowker covered, and Bowker decided to fold. However, Payman could triple up if he survived the wrath of Vamplew. Payman flipped over the A♥ 4♥, and found himself up against the Q♠ Q♣ of Vamplew. The board ran out 6♥ 4♦ 3♣ 5♣ 3♥, and the queens took the pot.

Artur Wasek Eliminated in Fourth Place (£240,000)

Juanda bet 330,000, and Wasek moved all in for around 1.3 million. Juanda called, and the two players flipped over their cards.

Wasek: 5♦ 5♥
Juanda: A♠ J♣

Board: K♦ 8♥ 4♥ 3♦ J♠.

The river sent Wasek out of the main event.

Kyle Bowker Eliminated in Third Place (£300,000)

Bowker bet 350,000, and Juanda made it 1 million from the small blind. Bowker then placed a huge tower of chips out in front, but before there was time to count them or hear how much it was, Juanda said, “All in.” Bowker then stood up, and said, “Call.”

Juanda: 10♣ 10♥
Bowker: J♠ J♥

Board: Q♣ 5♣ 2♣ 3♣ 8♣

Juanda flushed Bowker right out of the event in third place, for £300,000, and with that, it was time to go heads up.

Vamplew Versus Juanda

The final heads-up match was a long and hard-fought battle between the young professional from Scotland and a renowned poker professional with millions in tournament winnings to his name, who had once before made himself the poker king of London. Juanda was the chip leader when heads-up play began, but the 23-year-old Vamplew was not going home without a fight, and he doubled up early on, evening the chip counts. Before the dinner break, Juanda sprang into the lead again, with Vamplew’s stack shrinking to 4,620,000. After dinner, things turned around, as Vamplew proceeded to double up three times to take the chip lead. The end was not nigh, however, as Juanda then took back the lead and stretched it to a 2-1 chip advantage. A number of encounters then followed, which resulted in Vamplew taking a 2-1 advantage, and when Juanda moved all in, he did not find the double-up that had been granted Vamplew a few times before.

Juanda moved all in for 3,435,000, and Vamplew made the call. Juanda flipped over the K♦ 2♦, while Vamplew revealed the A♣ 3♥. The board came down A♦ 10♠ 3♠ 9♠ 6♠, and Vamplew was the 2010 EPT London main-event champion, taking the largest slice of the £4,112,800 prize pool.

“It’s going to take a while to sink in. I had to get lucky to win. I won a few all-ins, but I’m pretty proud of the way I played. I’m pleased with myself, for sure,” said Vamplew after the victory. With his £900,000 win, Vamplew became the all-time leading money winner from Scotland. Juanda added £540,000 to his career tournament earnings, which now stand at an impressive $11,097,373.

Amazingly, Vamplew stepped right into the PokerStars United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour Tournament of Champions event the following day, and also took that down. He will now have plenty of opportunities to add more live-tournament titles to his name, as he was awarded a seat in every UKIPT event in season two, as well as a seat in next year’s EPT London main event. ♠