Vamshi Vandanapu Slays Record Breaking Goliath
When the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Goliath tournament ran in 2015, it broke its own attendance record when 4,210 entries were processed. This year, the organizers were hopeful of surpassing the 5,000 entry mark, and they managed it with ease as a staggering 5,232 players exchanged £120 to be in with a chance of becoming the 2016 Goliath champion.
After eight days of poker action, the massive field was whittled to only 20 players, each of them guaranteed £3,050 for their £120 investment. Those 20 returning final day players were reduced to the final table of nine during the first two hours of action, increasing the minimum payout to £7,400.
2016 GUKPT Goliath Final Table Results
*reflects a three-way deal
First to fall at the final table was Jonathan Mellor who ran his pocket threes into the sixes of Robbie Richmond, before a short stacked Craig Drew pushed with a bare ace and ran straight into the pocket aces of Vamshi Vandanapu.
Luke Wensley had a raucous rail supporting him during the final day’s action, but they were silenced when his suited ace-ten fell foul to the suited queen-jack of Vandanapu courtesy of a queen on the flop.
Wensley’s exit left six players in the hunt for the title, and those six became five when Graeme Evans got his chips into the middle of the felt in good shape, his ace-eight against Richmond’s six-five. Evans improved to top pair on the flop, stayed ahead on the turn, but Richmond hit a lucky gutshot straight on the river to end Evans’ dreams.
Richmond then found a pair of kings in the hole and had an easy call to make when Tom Powell moved all-in with what turned out to be queen-six. Those cowboys held, and Powell headed for the exits.
An ill-timed move by Will Campbell cost him his tournament life and reduced the field to three players. Campbell raised all-in on a king-high flop with the lowly ten-five offsuit and was called by Vandanapu whose king-ten had flopped top pair. Vandanapu turned trip kings to leave Campbell drawing dead.
The final three players, each playing even stacks of around 40 million, chopped the remaining prize pool, taking home £50,000 each and leaving £12,750 for the eventual champion.
Third-place went to Cristian Popescu who saw Richmond raise to 2.2 million and decided to three-bet all-in for 12 million with the ace-nine of diamonds. Richmond called with ten-seven offsuit and proceeded to flop a ten to take the lead. Neither the turn or river provided any drama and Popescu was gone.
Vandanapu held a narrow 67 million to 63 million chip lead going into the heads-up clash with Richmond, but increased his stack to 100 million during the early exchanges. The final hand saw the chips go into the middle preflop, Vandanapu holding ace-ten, Richmond the dominated king-ten, and when neither player improved their hand when the five community cards were in view, Vandanapu’s ace-high won him the pot, the tournament, and the £62,750 first place prize.
Lead image courtesy of the GUKPT blog