The 2018 Unibet Open £990 Main Event has determined a champion and it was Andreas Wiborg that lifted the trophy at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in the heart of the city after seven hours of play on the final day. The first stop of Season 11 of the popular tournament series gathered a field of 349 entries at “The Vic” to create a prize pool of £314,100 with the top 47 spots in the money.
The 22-year-old student from Bergen, Norway defeated Jonathan Schuman heads-up for the title and took home a payday of £56,807, obliterating his previous best cash on the live circuit. Before heads-up got underway, Wiborg cut a deal with Jonathan Schuman to leave the trophy and £6,500 up for grabs and the duel one-versus-one lasted all but half an hour.
Schuman, who won the 2016 UKIPT Marbella Main Event after being part of a three-way deal, had to settle for second place and £49,483 for his efforts this time. Among the finalists were also serial World Poker Tour National champion Laurent Polito (7th place for £9,850) and Christopher Yong (3rd place for £28,080).
2018 Unibet Open London Main Event final result
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (GBP)||Prize (USD)|
|2||Jonathan Schuman||United Kingdom||£49,483||$69,638|
|3||Christopher Yong||United Kingdom||£28,080||$39,364|
|4||Honglin Jiang||New Zealand||£20,800||$29,159|
|5||Oliver White||United Kingdom||£16,000||$22,430|
Among those to bust in the money on Day 2 were 2015 Unibet Open Cannes runner-up Karl Stark (41st for £1,870), Gary Fisher (34th for £2,100), Yngve Steen (25th for £2,630), 2017 Unibet Open Bucharest champion Marius Pertea (24th for £2,630), Preben Stokkan (19th for £3,300), Nicolas Cardyn (18th for £3,300), two-time Unibet Open London finalist Bhavin Khatri (14th for £4,140) and Clement Tripodi (12th for £4,760).
Initially, Wiborg wasn't even planning to play, but one of his friends had won a package. “They asked me to join for three weeks, but I said no as I had to focus on school. But at last I joined anyway and was just going to play a satellite and hang out with friends if I didn't win a seat. On Friday I just decided to buy in.”
Things didn't go well early on either for the Norwegian, as he was grinding a short stack for hours. But then the good news kept coming in the group chat and Wiborg never looked back after reaching the final table. He plans on heading to Dublin next for the Irish Open and stick around for the Norwegian Championships that follow right after. “It's like a folk fest. Two thousand people from Norway live there for a week and it is a great environment for us.”
Wiborg considered Christopher Yong and Laurent Polito as the most dangerous opponents on the final day. “I checked out all the players on Hendon Mob to see if they were experienced on final tables or not. Laurent had plenty of big cashes and is used to win tournaments, but I wasn't that scared of him. When I played with him he didn't frighten me that much. Christopher was the best on my table, he did all the right things.”
Action of the final day
The remaining nine hopefuls took their seats at noon local time and the final table started with a bang. After a raise by Andreas Wiborg with pocket jacks, Honglin Jiang three-bet too big by mistake and eventually called the four-bet shove of Thomas Cazayous with ten-eight suited. Cazayous turned over pocket aces and saw an eight appear on the flop and river to reduce the field to the last eight.
Fellow countryman Tony Blanchandin came into the final day as far shortest stack and made one pay jump, then called the shove of Christopher Yong blind on blind with queen-five. Yong had the dominating king-eight and two kings on the flop left Blanchandin drawing dead.
The French misery was complete when Laurent Polito became the third casualty of the day. Left short after a clash with Jonathan Schuman, who got there with a gutshot, Polito was all in with king-queen soon after and lost a flip against the pocket eights of Honglin Jiang.
Jussi Vanhanen and Oliver White fell next, the latter going from chip leader to next bustout in the span of an hour, and Honglin Jiang had to settle for 4th place. The New Zealander, who started playing poker back in Australia before moving to London for work a few years ago, lost a big pot with pocket jacks against the pocket aces of Jonathan Schuman and moved all in for 14 big blinds with king-six when the players had returned from the next break. Christopher Yong called with ace-seven and a queen-high board changed nothing whatsoever.
Down to the last three players deal negotiations broke out for the first time but Yong ultimately declined. It would be Yong that fell next to set up the final duel and that's when a deal was made. Less than one hour of one-versus-one action saw Andreas Wiborg pull away further. Jonathan Schuman doubled to get within nine big blinds once again and then called the four-bet shove of Wiborg with ace-queen. The Norwegian only had ace-jack but spiked a jack on the river to emerge victorious.
This marks the end of the PokerNews live reporting here from London, and the Unibet Open will next head to the sunny island of Malta in May 2018, satellites will kick off shortly on Unibet Poker.