A Look Back at the PokerStars UKIPT
When Ted Jackson-Spivack’s king-four came from behind to crack the pocket queens in the hand of Ludovic Geilich, it was not only the hand that won Jackson-Spivack the UKIPT Birmingham title, but it was also the last hand of the UKIPT.
The concept of the UKIPT was a stroke of genius on PokerStars’ part as it gave players who didn’t have the bankroll required to play in the European Poker Tour the chance to play in a well-structured, expertly-run tournament with potentially life-changing first place prizes, all for a more affordable buy-in.
Some players have used the UKIPT to cut their teeth in the live poker world and as a stepping stone to bigger buy in tournaments around the world. Max Silver, Ludovic Geilich, Nicolau Villa-Lobos and Sergio Aido are a quartet of UKIPT champions who are now regular faces in major live tournaments around the globe.
Although the UKIPT is no more, with PokerStars switching focus to its new PokerStars Championship and Festival events, the popularity of the six-season tour means some UK-based events must be on the radar for the PokerStars' live events team when they confirm the inaugural schedule.
But before PokerStars releases said schedule, let’s look back on the UKIPT Main Events since the tour's creation.
UKIPT Season 1: The Tour Debuts
Season 1 of the UKIPT saw the fledgling tour head to eight locations in the UK and Ireland, nine if you include the EPT London Main Event which was also billed as the UKIPT Grand Final.
Irish legend Padraig Parkinson won the first-ever UKIPT Main Event, walking away with €103,500 and taking down UKIPT Galway in December 2009. This tournament was unique in that it featured a €2,000 buy-in.
The first season was when two of the tour’s eventual double champions won their first UKIPT titles. Joeri Zandvliet of the Netherlands triumphed in Manchester and Nick Abou Risk came out on top in Edinburgh.
Season 1 was also when Max Silver burst onto the live poker scene with his first live tournament victory, winning UKIPT Dublin for €72,000.
UKIPT Season 1 Main Event Results
|Edinburgh||£550||401||£200,600||Nick Abou Risk||£50,000|
UKIPT Season 2: Two Double Champions
Nick Abou-Risk became the tour’s first two-time champion on the first event of Season 2, securing the title of UKIPT Galway champion.
Season 2 was also the first time the tour saw one of its main events attract a four-figure crowd when the Nottingham Main Event had 1,058 entrants. Gareth Walker won on that occasion, turning £560 into £97,700.
This was also the season where Joeri Zandvliet won his second UKIPT title, joining Abou Risk in the exclusive double winner’s club. The Dutchman added €83,500 to his lifetime winnings by claiming the first place prize of the Dublin Main Event.
UKIPT Season 2 Main Event Results
|Galway||€1,100||266||€266,000||Nick Abou Risk||€67,100|
UKIPT Season 3: Massive Prizes in Nottingham
Season 3 saw the buy-ins for the UKIPT Main Events rise to £770, but it didn’t influence the attendances; instead it only boosted the prize pools.
Nottingham was a prime example of this as 1,625 entries created a £1,137,500 prize pool, of which £210,400 was awarded to the champion, Robert Baguley. This score is still the largest won on the UKIPT if you discount the EPT Main Events that were dubbed UKIPT Grand Finals.
UKIPT Season 3 Main Event Results
UKIPT Season 4: Viva Espana!
The opening event of Season 4 saw the UKIPT set sail for Marbella, Spain, taking the tour out of the UK and Ireland for the first time. Ludovic Geilich won the UKIPT Marbella event for €130,000. Four months later, he finished fourth in the EPT London Main Event for £193,340 and has never looked back.
Rodrigo Espinosa ensured the UKIPT Marbella trophy remained on home soil when the UKIPT returned to sunny Spain later in the season.
PokerStars’ home, the Isle of Man, hosted two UKIPT Main Events during Season 4, a £1,100 buy-in won by Duncan McLellan for £94,090 and a £770 buy-in won by Joshua Hart for £57,484. McLellen went on to win in Nottingham to become the third two-time UKIPT champion and the first player to win two UKIPT titles during the same season.
There were also a set of tournaments held in London and Nottingham, with one of the UKIPT Nottingham Main Events having been played on six-handed tables. Ben Mayhew was crowned the champion of this short-handed UKIPT.
It is also worth noting that buy-ins increased to £1,100 during Season 4.
UKIPT Season 4 Main Event Results
|Isle of Man||£1,100||379||£485,000||Duncan McLellan||£94,090|
|Isle of Man||£770||402||£339,500||Joshua Hart||£57,484|
UKIPT Season 5: Three Six-Figure Wins
Seven stops made up Season 5 of the UKIPT, which turned out to be the penultimate season of the popular tour.
Rapinder Cheema outlasted 741 opponents in the London Main Event, before Sam Mitten-Laurence scooped a cool £182,000 in Nottingham, a stop which featured a £1 million guaranteed prize pool.
Another huge tournament went to Vladas Tamasauskas who got his hands on the €176,900 first-place prize of the UKIPT Dublin event, the final UKIPT tournament to run in the Emerald Isle.
UKIPT Season 5 Main Event Results
|Isle of Man||£440||349||£135,412||Daniel Stacey||£24,170|
|Edinburgh||£770||377||£255,983||David Gomez Morante||£49,660|
UKIPT Season 6: So Long Old Friend
Only four stops featured during Season 6, London, Marbella, Lille and Birmingham, although there were several cut-price UKIPT Series run at the Hippodrome Casino in London.
Usman Siddique, Jonathan Schuman, Fabrice Casano and the aforementioned Ted Jackson-Spivack all go down in poker’s history books as the last players to win a UKIPT Main Event.
UKIPT Season 6 Main Event Results
Did you play in a UKIPT Main Event? What was your favourite UKIPT experience? Are you sad to see the UKIPT shelved? Let us know in the comments box below.