Chris Johnson Crowned 2022 GUKPT Leeds Champion (£73,070)
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Chris Johnson added the 2022 Grosvenor Poker UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Leeds Main Event to his ever-growing list of poker tournament victories after a top-class performance throughout the tournament. Johnson sat down at the final table with the chip lead, his 1,742,000 chips, and the 1,652,000 stack of Marc Foggin being the only seven-figure stacks when the nine-handed final table began.
Johnson, known as "MAKKAPAKK" in online poker circles, an alias chosen because of his daughter's love for the children's television show In The Night Garden, navigated his way through a 430-strong field in the £1,000 buy-in Main Event, and secured £73,070 of the £387,000 prize pool after a three-way deal.
2022 GUKPT Leeds Main Event Final Table Results
*reflects a three-handed deal that left £9,300 for the champion
Day 3 began with 14 hopefuls returning to the West Yorkshire casino; among them was Jack Hardcastle, the 2021 GUKPT Leeds Champion. Hardcastle's title defence ended in an 11th place finish worth £5,200.
Jessica Pilkington crashed out in 10th place for £5,570, ending her hopes of becoming the first female GUKPT Main Event champion, in addition to setting the nine-handed final table.
Richard Horton was the first of the nine finalists heading to the cashier's cage. Horton and Ron Wilkinson got their stacks into the middle on an eight-five-four flop that showed two hearts. Horton held pocket nines, and Wilkinson ace-jack of hearts. A jack on the turn left Horton drawing thin, and a heart on the river further improved Wilkinson.
Wilkinson sent Dean Lyall home in eighth place. Wilkson opened with pocket jacks, Lyall three-bet shoved for 14 big blinds with queen-jack of hearts, and Wilkinson called. An ace-high board failed to come to Lyall's rescue.
Seventh-place and the tournament's last four-figure prize went to Matt Davenport, who seems to be a permanent fixture at GUKPT final tables lately. Davenport, down to 11 big blinds, moved all-in from late position with nine-eight of diamonds, and Johnson looked him up from the big blind with ace-ten. The board ran void of nines or eights, and Johnson's ace was enough to send Davenport to the rail with £8,540 in tow.
The final six became five when Tony Fellone failed to crack the aces of Tom Laghzaoui. Fellone open-shoved for 14 big blinds with king-jack of clubs from the hijack, and Laghzaoui had one of the easier calls of his career having been dealt pocket aces in the small blind. The five community cards provided no drama, and Fellone had to make do with an £11,890 payout.
You have to win you coinflips if you want to win poker tournaments, which is why Anthony Gardner goes into the record books as the 2022 GUKPT Leeds fifth-place finisher. Gardner, a former Premier League defender, got the last of his 17 big blind stack into the middle if the felt with ace-queen of spades against Johnson's pocket sevens. Gardner flopped a flush draw but the turn and river bricked, sending him home in fifth for a £16,350 addition to his bankroll.
A short-stacked Foggin was the next player to find himself with fresh air where his chips once stood. Down to only five big blinds, Foggin pushed from under the gun with king-six, and lost to the dominating ace-king of Wilkinson, with both players flopped a king.
The final three players paused the tournament clock and discussed a deal. Discussions went well and resulted in nobody taking home less than £57,880, while leaving £9,300 more prize money for the eventual champion.
Wilkinson would collect no additional cash, having jammed on the river with a wheel straight and running into the spade flush of Johnson.
Frenchman Laghzaoui went into the heads-up battle with a near two-to-one chip lead over Johnson, but Johnson clawed himself level before reversing the initial starting chip counts.
The final hand of the 2022 GUKPT Leeds Main Event saw Johnson limp with queen-nine for 40,000, Laghzaoui raise to 300,000 with ace-eight of clubs, and Johnson called. A flop reading five-queen-six saw both players check, leading to a ten on the turn, which put two clubs in play. Laghzaoui checked again, Johnson made it 400,000, and Laghzaoui called. An offsuit seven on the river saw Laghzaoui check again. Johnson moved all-in, covering Laghzaoui substantially. Laghzaoui went into the tank and called just as the shot clock was about to hit zero. Ace-high was no good, and Johnson became the 2022 GUKPT Leeds Main Event champion.
Former GUKPT Leeds Main Event Champions
Johnson is the seventh GUKPT Leeds Main Event champion, and finds himself in some illustrious company. Adam Owen triumphed in this tournament in 2018, Brett Angell won in 2019, and the aforementioned Hardcastle claimed the title in 2021. Johnson adds his name to that impressive list, and does so deservingly.